Monthly Archives: May 2011

Colors in git

Stolen from Garry Dolley at

Edit your gitconfig file!

vim ~/.gitconfig
Add these
  branch = auto
  diff = auto
  status = auto
[color "branch"]
  current = yellow reverse
  local = yellow 
  remote = green
[color "diff"]
  meta = yellow bold
  frag = magenta bold
  old = red bold
  new = green bold
[color "status"]
  added = yellow
  changed = green
  untracked = cyan
You won’t look back!

Adding a second Gmail account in Android

This has been bothering me for a while. Whenever I tried to connect secondary email accounts in Android (by pressing the Menu button -> Accounts -> Add Account), it would ask for my login and password, and then attempt to connect to the Gmail servers. And fail, with this error: “Can’t establish a reliable data connection with the server”.

I tried it over 3G, I tried it over wifi. Neither worked, so I gave it up as a connection problem and tried again a few hours/days/weeks later. Finally I realized that this must be some kind of Android Gmail bug and went looking for a solution/workaround. So here it is:

  1. Open up the YouTube app on your Android phone
  2. Press the menu button and sign into My Account with the credentials you want to add to Gmail.
  3. Once you’ve logged into YouTube successfully, close the app and open Gmail.
  4. Open Accounts from the menu – your account should now show up and you just have to fetch the mail.

Pretty simple, right? Android just needs to link the account to your phone somehow, and the YouTube login must use a different code path. This also works for Google Apps accounts, btw.

Source: comments.

A better workstation

The working world is becoming more aware that sitting all day might not be so great for your health. We’ve known for a while that desk work weakens your posture, causes tight hip flexors and hunched shoulders, and a craned neck, but now we’re talking heart disease and bowel cancer.

“The best posture probably is the next posture” (Galen Kranz)

The general conclusion, as far as I can tell, is that our bodies are not designed to be in any one static position for stretches of 8-10 hours a day. So the logical step for anybody who is working a desk job is to find an adjustable-height desk. Easy enough, right?

It turns out that a slab of wood that can be raised and lowered on demand is not so cheap to acquire. There are many different models by various “ergonomic solution” companies available, but they tend to clock in between $1000 and $1800. If your work is paying for your desk, or you’ve got $2000 to drop, you can stop reading and go buy yourself a new rig. But I’m looking for a more economical solution; is it really true that a table-top (~$100), a set of legs, and a lifting mechanism costs $1000 to put together? What’s the markup on these kinds of things?

The criteria:
  1. Lowered desk height must be maximum of 71cm (28”).
  2. Raised desk height must be minimum of 110cm (43”) – I wish I were a little shorter.
  3. It must be strong enough to hold a monitor, laptop and keyboard, plus miscellaneous desk items. Given that a 24” monitor weighs about 22lb, and a laptop another 5-6lbs, I figure it should hold 40lbs minimum to be safe.
  4. It must be able to be readjusted without taking everything off. No screws, bolts, etc.
  5. I’d prefer hand cranking to electrical because the less things there are to plug in, the better.
  6. Preference given to desks that are easy to disassemble and pack
  7. Preference given to desks with wheels
If you’re a little shorter, you might be in luck. There are several models similar to this that I’ve seen on different sites. They look a tad flimsy, and their maximum height is only 36”, but they’ll probably do the trick for some people.

Damage: $220

Ergotron has a lot of sit/stand solutions, and one in the right price range is this, which isn’t a desk exactly, but more of a keyboard/monitor mount with a neat little adjustable height arm. Unfortunately, it can only hold 31 lbs.

Damage: $400

I don’t have the time to go full DIY on this, but I thought some kind of adjustable work bench might work, especially if you slapped a small Ikea table surface on top. But I don’t feel too good about having to adjust that on the fly. I think I might end up with a pile of electronics in my lap (if I’m lucky).

Damage: $50 + table top

If you do have time and energy to go DIY, you can go for things like this crank mechanism at Lee Valley, or build something crazy using an automotive jack, as somebody at Metafilter suggested.

Damage: I’m guessing about $300 – $500

Another option is to use a musical keyboard stand like this Freedom X-Stand from SolidStand. I’m still looking into the weight rating but if it’ll hold some of the beefier keyboards, it will hold 40lbs of computer gear. The only thing about it is I don’t like having that X right in front of me, I like to put my legs under the desk without bumping into things.

Damage: $400

GeekDesk mini: this is getting back into the pricier range but it looks sturdy as hell, has wheels, and is nice looking to boot. A good look at it with pictures here.

Damage: $750

SolidStand Freedom Breakdown: Also on the pricier side, but this thing looks solid as a rock. If it can handle two keyboards being pounded on by a keyboard player, you don’t have to worry about anything coming off. It would need some kind of table-top to set the monitor on, but that wouldn’t be too much work. It also disassembles for easy transport by gigging musicians.

Damage: $700 + table top

Update: the Freedom X-Stand will hold 150lbs.