Author Archives: Paul Rausch

Remote Reboot a Hung Server via Command Prompt

I recently had a remote Hyper-V host that was stuck rebooting. It was still responding to network communication but otherwise was unavailable via RDP. Fortunately, I still had console access via our RMM tool, but I ended up not even needing it! Here are two techniques useful for remotely rebooting a hung server.

Standard Remote Reboot

This often doesn’t work for me, but it’s worth trying first

shutdown /m \\computername /r /f

Remotely Killing winlogon and/or lsass with pskill

Download pskill and install it on a remote machine. Remotely killing the winlogon and/or the lsass process has the effect of immediately bringing the server down. It’s kind of aggressive but often times this is the only way I can get a remote server to reboot.

pskill \\computername winlogon

pskill \\computername lsass

If you guys have any other ideas let me know in the comments and I’ll include them! Thanks.

Chicago 24/7 Indian/Pakistani Restaurant Roundup

1. Author Favourite, cheap, dirty, consistent, and delicious.
Ghareeb Nawaz
2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

Review: Ghareeb Nawaz is Devon Ave’s goto for 24/7 Pakistani food. The prices are great, the portions ample, and the food consistent. The place is consistently pretty unkept, but it’s easy to ignore when you’re getting such a great value. There is also a small cramped parking lot in the rear.

2. Runner-up, watch your check.
Naan On Devon
2241 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

Review: Naan on Devon is a Hyderbadi restaurant just down the street on Devon from Ghareeb and Hyderabad House. As such they have a pretty wide menu with daily specials. Their curries and specialty dishes are by far the best on the block of the 24/7 restaurants. Only complaint… twice we’ve been overcharged and not allowed to see the check when we’ve asked to see it.

3. Great when they have any of their menu items
Hyderabad House
2226 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

Review: Hyderabad House has killer biryani and food in general. However they seem to never have any of their menu available after midnight or so. It mostly defeats the purpose of being open 24/7 if you only have one or two items. Also they seem to be particularly consistently cold compared to the other restaurants on the block.

4. Good option away from Devon, friendly staff.
Tabaq Restaurant
1245 N Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60610

5. Lots of potential but consistently crazy salty
Daata Darbar
2306 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

Hyderbadi

6. Ample Parking!
Bismillah Restaurant
6301 N Ridge Ave
Chicago, IL 60660

AutoIT based DDoS Attack on my personal blog

I received several messages saying that my blog was reaching it’s allocated bandwidth. Which I found pretty curious considering this is not a very popular blog. That said, I keep the bandwidth limits set pretty low just to protect myself from an attacker abusing my bandwidth resources. The first time I got the notification, I figured someone must be really excited to read about Litecoin or ergonomic keyboards or something and thought nothing of it.

That said, I logged into view my raw access logs today, and it appears as if a script is being running on dozens of different servers just to perform the lowest speed DDoS of all time. It appears as if this attacker is just trying to slowly eat away at my bandwidth 40k at a time.

AutoIT Bandwidth Attack

This attacker seems really concerned about me sharing the message of Litecoin and Yoga Balls with the world

Every time I block one of the IPs involved in the attack, the attacker seems to have several dozen in IP ranges all over the world. I contacted Hostgator to see if they have any ideas on how to mitigate the abuse. This wouldn’t be surprising as an attack, if it wasn’t for the curious fact this is probably the least exciting blog I can think of!

I’m just going to have to assume someone is very upset that people are using my Litecoin mining guide to mine litecoin. If anyone has any ideas or feedback let me know! I’ll post the IP Addresses in hope that some of their owners will notice that they may have compromised equipment.

IP Addresses causing abuse:

195.81.148.254
184.43.106.90
189.107.54.18
97.117.200.170
88.236.220.233
39.115.64.22
97.117.204.27
79.119.95.176
97.117.201.239
97.117.202.144
151.227.57.109

IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, Mice / Input Devices

Every Bit Counts

As I outlined in the first part of this article, every small improvement adds up when it comes to ergonomics. No one improvement is going to make your environment perfect. At this point your hands are probably already damaged so even the smallest repeated agitation can cause problems.

Dual Wielding! Touchpad and Mouse

Dual Wielding! Touchpad and Mouse

 Mice, Touchpads, Tablets, etc.

Find what works for you

More so than with any other category, finding a mousing setup that worked for me was not easy to do. It is with input devices that there seems to be the most diversity in opinions. What’s very comfortable for one person, is actually very uncomfortable for another.

Most common Solutions

Generally, the most common types of ergonomic mousing solutions fit into three categories:

Ergonomic Mice

Touchpads

Graphic Tablets

All of these present their own risks for RSI, regardless of what you’re suffering from now. It’s not uncommon for someone to switch to a new setup, just to find themselves suffering from a new kind of pain six months later. The only consensus that I can seem to find from everyone I talk to is, you’re going to need a few different pointing devices.

Have a few different pointing devices for different tasks

By having a few different kinds of mice, you prevent your body hands from overusing and fatiguing as quickly. Furthermore, different kinds of mice seem to be better for different kinds of work. A graphic tablet you use for work, probably won’t game well, and vice-versa. Spend a little more for wireless mice, and keep them all around so you can quickly jump between them.

What worked for me

I arrived a strange solution to my problem. I find that the Evoluent Vertical Mouse is very comfortable in general. However, it didn’t solve one of my main RSI problems. From years of clicking with my index finger, my index finger is very sensitive to the motion of clicking. Realistically, any clicking with my index finger for any extended period of time causes pain. To alleviate this, I bought a Logitech Wireless T650 Touchpad, figuring it would help alleviate the issue. Well, it turns out, as I properly recalled, I hate Touchpads. Doing anything with them other than two finger scrolling drives me nuts… then by accident I figured out a unique solution to my problem. As you can see in the photo above, I actually use the Touchpad over the left of my keyboard for clicking, and scrolling. I use the mouse for pointing. The combination is actually surprisingly very intuitive. Copying and Pasting is frustrating, this way, so I use the Evoluent for the selecting part. But outside of that, I rarely have a need to use the left click on the mouse itself.  When I’m browsing the internet, and mostly just scrolling through pages, I hold the Touchpad between my hands and scroll with both thumbs.

Scrolling with the Logitech T650 Trackpad, other hand is taking the photo

Scrolling with the Logitech T650 Trackpad, other hand is taking the photo

I’m not recommending this setup to everyone. But for me, it definitely does the trick. Alone, neither of them really alleviated the whole issue, but together I can distribute the load onto two hands, and make working a whole lot less painful.

IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, Hand Braces

Every Bit Counts

As I outlined in the first part of this article, every small improvement adds up when it comes to ergonomics. No one improvement is going to make your environment perfect. At this point your hands are probably already damaged so even the smallest repeated agitation can cause problems.

Hand / Carpal Tunnel Braces

Forces me to maintain good form

Forces me to maintain good form

If I had to choose the single most helpful thing for me in treating symptoms. It would be my hand braces. I can tell how much they help, because on laundry day when I don’t have them, I fatigue much quicker than when I have them. Good quality hand braces immobilise your hands and limits movement to only areas that should move. They surprisingly help with a lot more than wrist pain, as they help to hold your hands in a healthy position.

Now they look a little silly, and people will crack a joke or two. I don’t usually take them off at the office even when I’m not at the computer, and that’s a running joke. But, that said, you get so used to having them on, you forget them at times. I wear them while driving too, because gripping the steering wheel can get uncomfortable after about an hour or two.

Don’t cheap out on hand braces

These things are going to be strapped to your hands every day, for hours. Anything remotely wrong with them is going to slowly amplify until you hate them. If they don’t fit very comfortably, that small agitation will make you want to use them less which is a terrible idea.  I have some cheap braces, and they don’t hold up very well to abuse, $20 seems to be the price difference between garbage and great.

They will start to stink

Oh hell do they stink. Think about all the times you’ve felt your palms being sweaty? Yeah, that’s all going into your hand braces. Get machine washable braces. The good ones let you remove the metal supports, and pop them right into the washing machine with your laundry. Mine say cold wash only, but I’ve had no problems putting them in with my ‘warm’ laundry. I probably should hand wash them, but I figure if I get six less months of life out of them it was worth it not having to hand wash them every week. I’m about to buy two more sets, so that I can wear them just like clothes. This way I’m always wearing a clean pair. I’d really recommend once you find a pair you like, in the right sizing, by a bunch of them, and keep them in your dresser. Change them just like other clothes, they get more abuse than most clothes.

Get Braces with both upper and lower support

Thermoskin Carpal Tunnel Braces with Dorsal Stay

Thermoskin Carpal Tunnel Braces with Dorsal Stay

I have a pair that only covers the bottom half of the brace. I thought it was great, but I always kind of wished it had a top support to keep my hands from curling up on the keyboard. Fortunately, I got my current pair, unknowingly they did indeed have a top support. The difference is remarkable. Furthermore, because the top support doesn’t let my hands curl up in an unnatural way, I can actually adjust my desk so that my fingers are coming out my braces are the perfect straight angle with no bends. You don’t realise how much that centimetre or two makes a difference until you’ve tried both with and without adjusting the desk.

What works for me

IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, Your Desk

Every Bit Counts

As I outlined in the first part of this article, every small improvement adds up when it comes to ergonomics. No one improvement is going to make your environment perfect. At this point your hands are probably already damaged so even the smallest repeated agitation can cause problems.

Desks

Desks make a huge difference. I never realised how much an one inch height difference mattered until I got an adjustable desk. Throughout the day, depending on my fatigue levels one inch can be the difference between pain and comfort. Furthermore, because my hand braces prevent me from bending my fingers inappropriately, being in that sweet spot where everything is ergonomic is a very small window that a non-adjustable desk simply cannot do.

They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it

It me took me way too long to buy an adjustable desk. The price point of around $1000 was a huge turnoff. It wasn’t until someone else called me out on the fact I was being irresponsible with my health that I really realised it was time to make the investment. After doing some casual research, I found out that almost all of the friends I knew in software development we’re already using sit-stand or adjustable height desks. Their employers had already done the math that I failed to, and figured out that the cost of preventing injury is way lower than treating it. Sure, I caught flack for buying a $850 desk from friends and coworkers. But honestly, in retrospect, I’m ashamed I didn’t get one years ago.

Which desk to buy?

From what I’m realising, which desk you buy doesn’t really matter as long as it has an electric motor. If you don’t constantly adjust your desk, you won’t being getting much value out of it. The electric motor makes that easy enough where you don’t think twice about doing it. I opted for a sit-stand desk. Meaning that my desk goes all the way up to my standing height. If you’re going to be shelling out cash for an adjustable desk, the extra couple hundred for a sit-stand is totally worth it. You probably won’t realise until after you stand at a computer how nice it is to have THE OPTION of standing.

Which desk did you buy?

I have the Ergo Depot AD117, which is actually a ConSet Desk. I figured that out when I received the desk. ConSet doesn’t really deal directly with consumers though, so it appears as if they expect you to go through a dealer. The desk itself was made in North Carolina, and is actually quite nice. My only complaint is that the table top didn’t have any pilot holes predrilled to help with mounting. But, I have a feeling that’s because they were concerned about the wood warping as it dries out.

Ergonomic desk lessons learned

1. Buy an anti-fatigue mat.

Anti-fatigue mats are absolutely necessary to make standing for hours comfortable

Anti-fatigue mats are absolutely necessary to make standing for hours comfortable

Standing can actually be more comfortable than sitting sometimes, but your feet will tire quickly until you get an anti-fatigue mat. I bought this one, and I like it.

2. Use painters tape to mark your comfortable sitting and standing positions on the wall. 

Use painter's tap to mark your comfortable sitting and standing positions

Use painter’s tap to mark your comfortable sitting and standing positions

I figured this out pretty quick. Most desks do not come with programmable presets. This is in order to encourage you to adjust throughout the day. I think that’s a noble concept…but I also like to generally know what standing and sitting height is.

3. Your comfortable height changes throughout the day

As a rule of thumb, whenever my hands feel like their crowding on the keyboard, I know it’s time to adjust my desk. Usually throughout the day I’ll move between about an inch on either sides of my tape marks.

4. Ergonomic stuff takes up a lot of space

Ergonomic pads, and extra input devices take up space quick

Ergonomic pads, and extra input devices take up space quick

There is no way my old desk could have fit, all of the nonsense I have now. Between pads, multiple mice, and my small collection of hands braces. Get a desk one size larger than you think you’ll need. It really helps when your desk is deep enough to allow for any combination of tenting or padding that you might need. The picture above doesn’t show my extra mouse, my extra padding or ANY other items I might want to put on my desk. Plan ahead and go a little bigger.

Complete Idiots’ Guide to Mining Litecoin on your Home PC (CPU & GPU)

Introduction

The other day, a friend of mine told me about how he has been playing the Litecoin market for weeks now, and was slowly growing his one Litecoin, into several by just playing on market volatility. I’m not a crypto-currency nut, but this did sound really fun, and low risk. I’m an IT Security Consultant, and cryptography has always interested me. So,  why not convert some of my electric bill into LTC and give it a shot? In the process of mining my single Litecoin, I learned a few lessons that I’ll share with you here.

Why LItecoin? 

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about Bitcoin. Litecoin is like the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It’s worth substantially less, but it still has a healthy market surrounding it. Furthermore, because it’s much less popular the barrier to entry is substantially lower. I chose to play with Litecoin because of how highly specialised Bitcoin mining has become. The barrier to entry for Bitcoin is becoming too high for a project like this, Whereas, the Litecoin algorithm ‘scrypt’ is actually built to be somewhat resistant to specialised hardware attacks by FPGAs and ASICS. This means that although GPUs might be more efficient at performing scrypt calculations, they are not orders of magnitude more efficient like with Bitcoin’s algorithm.

Can you make money this way?

I did the math, and based on my rather rough calculations, at the current value of litecoins, and using my ATI Radeon HD 6900, and my AMD Phenom II x6 , the ROI of mining litecoin seems to be about break even. You can look up to see the expected output from your hardware here. That said, I’m still pretty hesitant about the entire process considering that I’ve done my time on a computer repair bench, and I know what excess heat can do to computer hardware over time. To summarise, although for the sake of this experiment, this coin will probably be break even, over the long term I’m sure my thermal compound and GPU fan would suffer over months. But realistically, I’m doing this for entertainment, this isn’t an article about profitable mining, it’s about getting your foot in the door.

Simultaneous CPU and GPU Mining

I’ve decided that I’m going to maximise the equipment in my computer, in order to get to my one Litecoin goal as fast as possible. For this purpose, I’ll use both my GPU, and my hex-core CPU. Simultaneously. During the day while I’m working, I’ll be turning off CPU mining, but at night I’ll be using both at full power.

For gpu mining cgminer seems to be the most popular choice. CPUMiner seems to be the Litecoin preferred CPU miner as the Litecoin wallet natively supports it. I found this attractive as the LItecoin Wallet GUI is pretty nice. The cgminer command line gui is actually very nice as well. There is a windowed GUI available for cgminer, but I found it inferior to its original GUI. Both are clearly pretty mature products that made this process substantially easier.

Pool vs Solo Mining

We have the option of both pool mining and solo mining. At this point pool mining is probably always the wiser choice, per the recommendation of a friend, I jumped on Litebonk.
You’re going to need to create two sets of usernames and passwords. The first one, will be the actual Litecoin pool web account. The second will be individual worker accounts for your miners. This allows you to monitor their individual outputs, and serves as an important security safeguard since these passwords are sent in the clear.

Alright, let’s get started.

Here’s an outline of our gameplan.

1. Download Litecoin Wallet
2. Download CPUMiner and copy to path
3. Choose Pool
4. Sign up with pool
5. Create worker accounts
6. Determine correct server
7. Test Litecoin Miner with settings
8. Adjust cpu priority
9. Do you have a good GPU?
10. Download cgminer
11. Use this batch file or create your own
12. Adjust intensity accordingly
13. Possible errors/issues

1. Download and Run Litecoin Wallet

Run over to Litecoin.org and download Litecoin-Qt from the main page.

Download Litecoin-Qt

Download Litecoin-Qt

Go ahead and open it once it’s installed, and let the block chain start downloading. It’s going to take sometime, so you might as well get it started now.

2. Download CPUMiner and copy to your Litecoin-Qt path.

Typically, litecoin-qt.exe is located at “C:\Program Files (x86)\Litecoin\litecoin-qt.exe”. So we’re going to want to copy the CPUMiner files into “C:\Program Files (x86)\Litecoin\”

The CPUMiner project downloads are located here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/cpuminer/files/

You’ll need to download either the win32 or win64 versions depending on if you have a 32bit or 64bit version of windows. I imagine most if not all of you are on 64bit by now.

Get the appropriate version for your computer

Get the appropriate version for your computer

Once you have the .zip downloaded, open it and extract it to your Litecoin path.

Extract the CPUMiner files to the Litecoin-QT.exe path

Extract the CPUMiner files to the Litecoin-QT.exe path

3. Choose a pool

litecoin-project on GitHub has an excellent comparison of Litecoin Pools. Generally the factors that people balance are size, reward type and fee. Larger pools tend to pay out less Litecoin more frequently. Smaller pools tend to get less blocks, but may a larger percentage to each miner. At the bottom of that article, Reward Types, Difficulty and other factors are explains really well to help you make a decision. I chose LiteBonk because it seems to exist in the middle of the road, and I have a couple friends that already mine there.

4. Create an account with the pool

Not all pools require signup, but I actually prefer a pool with a GUI that let me track stats, etc. Sign up is a pretty routine affair. I would recommend using a randomly generated password. Everything that touches cryptocurrencies are often the target of hacking attempts.

Use a randomly generate password, pools are often hacked.

Use a randomly generate password, pools are often hacked.

5. Create your worker accounts

Your worker accounts will represent unique accounts for each of your miners, for this example you’ll need at least two, one for your GPU Miner, the other for your CPU Miner. Use randomly generated passwords, these passwords are sent in the clear over the internet.

Use randomly generated passwords, these are not secure.

Use randomly generated passwords, these are not secure.

6. Determine the correct server settings

On every pool, there will be a page that contains the server settings for the pool. In our case we’re looking for the “GetWork Protocol” servers. Often times multiple servers will be listed. If the first one or two don’t work, keep trying. I found that with cgminer, it would only work with the alternate server with Litebonk.com. After later research I learned that often times each server is not necessarily created equally, and may or may not have compatibility problems with your client, even if it’s the same pool operator.

GetWork Protocol Servers is what we want

GetWork Protocol Servers is what we want

7. Test Litecoin with your Pool Settings

Open up your Litecoin Wallet, and jump over to the “Mining” tab. At this point you should probably still be downloading the block chain, as evidence by the blue bar moving on the bottom. That blue bar will take some time to complete. Mining while the block chain is catching up, can hurt system performance, although I didn’t have much of a problem.

Fill in the pool information from the pool page

Fill in the pool information from the pool page

Fill in the details using the information you gathered from the pool server page. Under “threads”, you should ideally select the same number of threads as your computer has virtual cores. In my case, I went one lower, because I wanted to keep one core free for actual computer use. Certain processors might do better with very high thread counts, for me personally, I wanted a little more control.

Give it a shot by pressing “Start Mining”. If it works, you’re good to go on the CPUMining front. If not, might want to checkout section 14, Common errors/issues.

8. Adjust CPU Priority (Optional)

If you’re going to let this thing run overnight with you not around, it probably doesn’t matter. But personally, I like to keep mining in check. It might cost me 1 or 2 hashes, but I often run other processes on my computer that I don’t want to suffer.

I set mine to "Low"

I set mine to “Low”

Open up your task manager, and find the minerd.exe process. Right click on it, and go to set priority. I prefer setting it to low, so that the minerd.exe process only uses unused CPU cycles. This means that it will get out of the way if a higher priority application comes along.

9. Do you have a good GPU?

Using the article we posted above, do you have a good GPU? If you have a gaming GPU or something half way decent, you may be able to double your hash output by using your CPU and GPU together. If you do, continue on to the next steps, if not. You’re done. You can skip ahead to either our next series on trading / speculating with Litecoin. Or enjoy your new Cryptomine.

10. Download cgminer

cgminer is being updated pretty frequently, https://github.com/kanoi/cgminer-binaries/ . You can Download, any one of the official binaries, as all of them as of today support Litecoin  I’m using 2.11.3 right now. You’ll want to download the .7z or .zip. The 32 vs 64 bit versions matter much less, as the mining is performed in the GPU vs the CPU.

Download the current binaries

Download the current binaries

11. Use this batch file or create your own

cgminer is a little trickier to get going than cpuminer since there is no gui to run the application for us. But it’s still pretty simple. I run cgminer from a batch file located in the same directly as cgminer. The syntax for running cgminer is as follows:

cgminer –scrypt -o http://serverpath.com:80 -u workerusername -p workerpassword –thread-concurrency 8192 -I 10 -g 1 -w 256

Change the -u and -p values, as well as the server to reflect your mining pool and worker usernames. The other variables in this script are adjustable, but for a novice these default values will work just fine. You can download this as a batch file here. cgminerbatch Just download the .zip, extract the .bat into your cgminer directory, and edit it with notepad to point to the correct path. When you go to save the file. You’ll need to select “Save as”, and then set “Save as type” to “All Files”, before you will be allowed to save the file as a .bat

Select "All Files" from the save as type section, before setting the filename to .bat

Select “All Files” from the save as type section, before setting the filename to .bat

Alernatively, you can make a shortcut directly to the file with all of those variables included. Just right click on your desktop, go to create new shortcut, and use browse to either point it to your batch file. Or, point it to your cgminer.exe. If you point it directly to cgminer.exe, you’ll need to copy and paste the variables that appear after cgminer above. i.e.

–scrypt -o http://serverpath.com:80 -u workerusername -p workerpassword –thread-concurrency 8192 -I 10 -g 1 -w 256

So that the full box looks like C:\folder\name\cgminer.exe –scrypt -o http://serverpath.com:80 -u workerusername -p workerpassword –thread-concurrency 8192 -I 10 -g 1 -w 256

Adjust the variables to match your settings

Adjust the variables to match your settings

Once it opens, cgminer will start to run, with all settings preloaded. It’ll look like this

 

This is cgminer running properly

This is cgminer running properly

12. Adjust your intensity according

The intensity level is more or less how much load you want to put on your GPU.

10 is actually a pretty good middle of the road number, but if you want to set it higher, or lower, that’s your call! Go to your cgminer window, and press “G” for GPU Management

Press G from the main windows for GPU Management

Press G from the main windows for GPU Management

Once that’s up press I, and set a level between 1 and 20. Press enter when you’re ready. You should hear your GPU fan spin up almost instantly as the low increases and it attempts to take heat off the GPU. Prolonged high intensity mining with only stock cooling may cause damage to your GPU.

Pick a number, between 1 and 20

Pick a number, between 1 and 20

13. Common Errors / Issues

The errors, that I ran into while I was building this article focused primarily on some stupid little problems.

Firstly, I kept getting the error: “Rejected Diff 1/0 GPU 0 (target-miss)” This was because, when I was having server pool connection errors, I removed the –scrypt from my file temporarily and forgot it off. If you’re getting that error, you’re not running cgminer with the –scrypt command set.

The other one I ran into involved my cgminer unable to connect to the pool. I got the error:

“Pool 0 slow/down or URL or credentials invalid

Wrong protocol, or problem with the pool”

Turns out, that the primary pool server just didn’t support something with cgminer, but the alternate did. Turns out this is not an uncommon issue, and the typical solution is just to make sure you try all of the pool servers before running to the message boards.

14. Trading/Speculating

I’m currently mining my one Litecoin right now, once I’ m done with that, I’ll post another article on speculating with them! To check on how much Litecoin you’re generating, you’re going to want to look around the pool’s website. Many will estimate your production for you, as well as provide useful metrics like your average production rate (hash rate). With my setup, I’m averaging about .2LTC/day. Which means by the end of this week, I should have my Litecoin ready to go. Your results of course will vary.

.27LTC woo!

.27LTC woo!

Update 2 May 2013: 1.17 LTC Acquired! I’ve deposited it into my wallet. It looks like the LTC market has stabilised a bit, but let’s see if we can make some…coin.

IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, and treating RSI (Part 1)

This is more or less the ergonomic setup that works for me.

This is more or less the ergonomic setup that works for me.

I imagine like many of you reading this, you started with computers young, and at this point your hands and arms probably have a lot of mileage on them.

I mean seriously, let’s do the math.

The average ‘full-travel distance’ of a key press is between 3.5mm and 4mm. Now, the general consensus that I’m reading is that the average office worker types around 6000 keystrokes per day. Honestly, that seems way low for IT, but for the sake of argument let’s use that number. So:

3.5mm x 6000 per day = 21 metres per day

21 metres x 260 days (average US work year) = 5,460m per year

Average age of Network Technicians, Web Developers, Software Devlopers and other IT Professionals is around 36-38. We’ll assume they all started late (23).

5460m x 13 career years = 70,980m. or 71km per average career

That means that JUST in your professional work your fingers have probably traveled over 70km in the last 13 years.

I have to imagine that that’s a rather conservative number, as most of us started very young, use a computer for personal use, type more than that, work more than that, and are pretty much finger marathonists at this point.

The purpose of this exercise is to make clear the lesson that I’m just now learning. EVERY MILLIMETRE COUNTS. If you take nothing away from this article, remember that one lesson. Each change you make on its own will not solve your pain issues, it’s a combination of dozens of different things that will get your environment to the point where your body can seemingly keep up with the abuse. I’m not a doctor, but that’s been my experience.I still have discomfort, but at this point it’s way more tolerable, and doesn’t seem to be getting worse. Hopefully, the next set of articles after this one will cover some healing of the damage already done.

It seems like people’s attention spans for blog articles are only a few paragraphs long, so I’m going to break this into a few different sections. Each covering a set of changes that I had to make, that worked for me.

1. Work Environment (Chair, Desk, Angles, Braces, etc.)

Your Desk

Your Hands (Braces)

Your Chair

2. Input Devices (Keyboards, Mice, Touchpads, Tablets, etc.)

Mousing Devices (Mice, Touchpads, Tablets, Etc.)

3. Better Habits (Keyboard Shortcuts, work habits, phones/tablets, etc.)

4. Strengthening (Exercises, fitness, recovery, etc.)

How much does the average IT Worker Type per year? How far is that?

Alright, let’s do the math.

The average ‘full-travel distance’ of a key press is between 3.5mm and 4mm. Now, the general consensus that I’m reading is that the average office worker types around 6000 keystrokes per day. Honestly, that seems way low for IT, but for the sake of argument let’s use that number. So:

3.5mm x 6000 per day = 21 metres per day

21 metres x 260 days (average US work year) = 5,460m per year

Average age of Network Technicians, Web Developers, Software Devlopers and other IT Professionals is around 36-38. We’ll assume they all started late (23).

5460m x 13 career years = 70,980m. or 71km per average career

That means that JUST in your professional work your fingers have probably traveled over 70km in the last 13 years.

I have to imagine that that’s a rather conservative number, as most of us started very young, use a computer for personal use, type more than that, work more than that, and are pretty much finger marathonists at this point.