Computer Workstation Ergonomics

The Workers’ Compensation Ergonomic Program at UCDHS created this manual to provide general guidance to supervisors and managers on how to conduct a basic ergonomic evaluation in an office and clinic setting. This manual also includes ergonomic news, safety articles, and Policy and Procedures to serve as useful tools for the trainer. Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the employee. Ergonomics considers the capabilities and limits of a worker as they interact with tools, equipment, work methods, and tasks in the work environment. Each employee is different so a single setup doesn’t work for everyone. Ergonomics covers all aspects of a job, from the physical stresses it places on joints, muscles, nerves, tendons and bones, to the environmental factors which can affect hearing, vision and general comfort and health. Designing workplaces with the understanding that individuals differ in size and physical condition is the first step in reducing the likelihood of injuries.

Problem Forming, Problem Finding, and Problem Solving in Design

This meeting [1], representing a convergence of students of design from a range of wholly dissimilar disciplines, is an event of major significance. It is significant that the meeting is being held at all that all of you recognize your common concerns. It is significant that we are gaining deep insights into the design process itself. If it is pretentious to talk about the “science of design,” at least we know now that there are truths about design that can be formulated and communicated, general truths that seem to apply to design as each of us knows it, in his or her particular professional domain.

But perhaps it is not really pretentious to speak of the science of design. There are principles that are widely applicable, and increasingly, we are finding ways of implementing these principles on electronic computers, and thereby securing the powerful assistance of those computers in the process of design. Let’s compromise on “the art and science of design.”

In recent years, the awareness of our communalities, whatever the specific field in which we work, has been hastened by the applications of computers to design: expert systems, computer aided design, artificial intelligence. Because their programs are open to inspection, computers allow us to look at the design process. The program is a tangible, concrete object. And in order to construct programs to design or assist design, we have to try to understand the process. That process is basically the same, whether it is carried out by people or computers, or, as is increasingly the case, by both in collaboration.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.

Designing the Future

A Future by Design

Are you prepared to design the future?

Although many of us feel we can prepare for our future by thinking, acting, and learning using present methods and values, nothing is farther from the truth – especially in today’s rapidly changing world. A newborn child enters a world not of his or her own making. Each succeeding generation inherits the values, accomplishments, hopes, successes, and failings of previous generations. And they inherit the results of the decisions made by those generations.

For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence when technologies were simple or non-existent, this may have had little impact on human life and the earth that sustains it. Each generation of hunters and gatherers, then plowmen and pioneers, passed on tools to the next generation to help them survive. Change from one generation to the next was slow and hardly noticeable. In those days there was little understanding of science and how things worked, and explanations were not scientific.

This is no longer the case in today’s high-tech world where a change that affects millions may happen in a matter of seconds. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation, let alone that from centuries ago. Previous generations left a legacy of, exploitation, occupation, and irrelevant values that present great challenges, but also opportunities to the people of today.

The application of scientific principles, for better or worse, accounts for every single advance that has improved people’s lives. Important documents and proclamations have been issued granting rights and privileges to members of societies, but at the heart of human progress – or destruction – is the rock-solid foundation of science.

For generations past it was impossible to direct the future much beyond the present moment, and forecasts of the future were based on non- scientific methods. Prophets and sages presented visions of the future based on dreams, hallucinations, religious fervor, divination of animal parts, crystal balls, etc. Some may even have been accurate, but this was more because of luck than because of any direct channel to the supernatural.

Now satellites circle the globe beaming down information in fractions of a second about everything that impacts our lives. This information is very valuable for projecting weather patterns, high and low points, geological hot and cold spots, where people live, and the warming of the planet. This has given us, for the first time, the ability to monitor the health of the planet, which many scientists see as in serious, if not critical, condition.

In a single day, trillions of bits of scientific data zip through cyberspace at light-speed, making a high-tech civilization possible. While physical science and technology silently direct much of the action, millions of people around the globe still practice pseudo-science, using fortune- tellers, seers, and philosophers for their daily direction. Many world leaders regularly consult psychics, mediums, and astrologers for guidance in decisions that determine the fate of millions.

Present human activity and its consequences does not have to be shaped by the needs and values of our ancestors. In fact, it must not be. For instance, armed conflict between nations is still seen by many as the only way to settle differences. It is especially promoted by those who profit handsomely from the sale of armaments. This is now totally unacceptable and dangerous because of war’s extreme human and environmental costs.

A militant viewpoint is obsolete once we view the world as a whole interrelated system with all its people as one family. Managing accelerating changes in technology and managing ourselves require new outlooks and approaches. This is now both necessary and possible because of technological change.

These lessons are designed to challenge the reader to direct the future; not just one’s own, but that of society

Principles of Systems Science (Understanding Complex Systems)

This pioneering text provides a comprehensive introduction to systems structure, function, and modeling as applied in all fields of science and engineering. Systems understanding is increasingly recognized as a key to a more holistic education and greater problem solving skills, and is also reflected in the trend toward interdisciplinary approaches to research on complex phenomena. While the concepts and components of systems science will continue to be distributed throughout the various disciplines, undergraduate degree programs in systems science are also being developed, including at the authors’ own institutions. However, the subject is approached, systems science as a basis for understanding the components and drivers of phenomena at all scales should be viewed with the same importance as a traditional liberal arts education.

Principles of Systems Science contains many graphs, illustrations, side bars, examples, and problems to enhance understanding. From basic principles of organization, complexity, abstract representations, and behavior (dynamics) to deeper aspects such as the relations between information, knowledge, computation, and system control, to higher order aspects such as auto-organization, emergence and evolution, the book provides an integrated perspective on the comprehensive nature of systems. It ends with practical aspects such as systems analysis, computer modeling, and systems engineering that demonstrate how the knowledge of systems can be used to solve problems in the real world. Each chapter is broken into parts beginning with qualitative descriptions that stand alone for students who have taken intermediate algebra. The second part presents quantitative descriptions that are based on pre-calculus and advanced algebra, providing a more formal treatment for students who have the necessary mathematical background. Numerous examples of systems from every realm of life, including the physical and biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering, pre-med and pre-law, are based on the fundamental systems concepts of boundaries, components as subsystems, processes as flows of materials, energy, and messages, work accomplished, functions performed, hierarchical structures, and more. Understanding these basics enables further understanding both of how systems endure and how they may become increasingly complex and exhibit new properties or characteristics.

  • Serves as a textbook for teaching systems fundamentals in any discipline or for use in an introductory course in systems science degree programs
  • Addresses a wide range of audiences with different levels of mathematical sophistication
  • Includes open-ended questions in special boxes intended to stimulate integrated thinking and class discussion
  • Describes numerous examples of systems in science and society
  • Captures the trend towards interdisciplinary research and problem solving

Dwell Clicker 2

Dwell Clicker 2 is a Windows application that allows you to use a mouse or other pointing device without clicking buttons. It is ideal for people with RSI and people who use alternative pointing devices such as a headpointer or joystick.

Handling Unicode Front to Back in a Web App

Understanding encoding is all fine and good, but there are many gotchas involved in actually building a complex system consisting of many moving parts that uses anything but ASCII characters. This article shows how to get a PHP web application with a MySQL database set up to handle UTF-8 data front to back and explains common pitfalls.

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other — using resources and mentoring from the cloud. Hear his inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments, and learn more at

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

Sugata Mitra: Kids can teach themselves

Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?