geekery: centos, RSI prevention

I’ve been using CentOS 4, a freely-redistributable build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, on a bunch of new servers at work lately, and I’m impressed with the fit and finish. Until now I’ve been using Fedora Core, and while it’s been fine, it moves a bit fast for me — product lifetimes measured in months instead of years, etc.

So I’m thinking of upgrading my laptop and a couple other workstations from Fedora 3 to CentOS 4, and from there tracking CentOS releases. While I’ve read a lot about CentOS servers, it seems a bit more rare as workstations. If you’re running CentOS 4 on your workstation (especially if you upgraded to it from Fedora), or if you have any opinions on the matter, let me know what you think.

In less-geeky news, I found a nifty program the other day that I want to recommend to all y’all: Workrave is an RSI-prevention timer for Linux and Windows. Iit’s a particularly good one, and it’s free. I used to use xwrits in Linux, but it always struck me as rigid and unfriendly, so I always ignored its demands for a break.

Workrave lets you schedule three kinds of breaks: sub-minute microbreaks (mine are 30 seconds every 10 minutes), normal breaks (ten minutes an hour for me), and daily limits (which I don’t use). It’s smart about breaks: it won’t prompt you for a break if it knows you just had an unscheduled period of no activity for the length of the next break, it gives you a warning countdown to break times that stays out of your way by avoiding the mouse, and it lets you either skip a break or postpone it for an amount of time you schedule.

During regular breaks it suggests stretches and exercises to do while you rest, keeps track of daily activity statistics, and even has a networked mode, where you run it on all of the computers you use during the day and your breaks are calculated based on activity on any of them. All in all, an impressive and handy piece of software that I’m running all the time now.

One response to “geekery: centos, RSI prevention”

  1. thanks for the workrave recommendation. i will check it out. most of the RSI-break programs i’ve tried have been too simplistic and not smart enough.