E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Mac Tip #1: MacBreakZ – Healthy Computing Made Fun

MacBreakZ for Mac OS X: Healthy Computing Made FunIf you have been reading this blog for a little while now, or if you have been following me online in multiple social networking sites like Twitter, you will know how for the last 18 months I have seen the light and have become the proud owner of a MacBook Pro as my main work machine. During that time I have tried several dozens of applications trying to help me increase my productivity into new levels and although with some of them such improvements haven’t been there, with some others the jump has been tremendous!

So I thought it may be a good time now to share with you folks a series of what I call Mac Tips, putting together short blog posts sharing some further insights on some of those incredibly helpful and resourceful tools I have been using at work all along, some of which have been incredibly instrumental in my successful quest of giving up e-mail at work.

Yes, that’s right! This is going to be the first of a series of blog posts where I will be sharing with you the productivity tools, as well as the social software tools, I am using to eventually move out of e-mail successfully, which I know is something that most of you would find interesting and perhaps somewhat intriguing.

Every now and then, what I will be doing is putting together a short blog post, shorter than this one, definitely! (This longer one is the kick-off one!), where I will share 5 different reasons as to why I really am enjoying using that tool and how it has improved my productivity at work. And all of that using my MacBook Pro.

Why using my Mac? Well, in most cases to prove the point that you, too, can be productive at work using something else than Windows. Plenty of times I get people looking at me with weird looks when I tell them I work for IBM and I use a Mac. This is just the perfect opportunity for me to share with everyone out there how it is possible to do that! So, let’s get the fun going, before this entry becomes longer than I expected!

Mac Tip #1: MacBreakZ – Healthy Computing Made Fun

In the past I have been touching base a couple of times on the important topic of working in a healthy environment, whether at the office, on the road or from home. Specially sitting in front of a computer for many hours a day, it is something that no-one should ignore. To me, on the Mac, that lovely tool that looks after my health is MacBreakZ. Preventing Repetitive Strain Injury (a.k.a. RSI) is probably one of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy while sitting in front of a monitor for far too long. Thus here are 5 reasons why you would want to give it a try yourself:

  1. Its incredible ease of use: That’s right, installing and setting it up to match your needs is very easy to do. I set up mine to kick in every 30 minutes with a 5 minute break in between and so far I am loving it!
  2. It actually works: I have tried in the past a couple of other applications in this space of preventing RSI like Time Out, but somehow I noticed how they weren’t as effective and convincing as they could have been. MacBreakZ does the job beautifully, so much so my wrists are now very very grateful!
  3. Its sounds: One of the issues I had with some of the tools I tried in the past was the fact their sounds were not as wonderfully annoying are those from MacBreakZ. I mean, if you exceed the time for a specific break, this application will keep nagging on you with a lovely sound till you eventually give up and move away from the keyboard. Love it!
  4. Its price: Yes, I know, it is not freeware. It costs 24.95€, but if I look into the potential amount of money that it has helped me save keeping me in good shape with my wrists, elbows, etc. etc. and away from the Mac when I should, I think that amount of money is a very worth while one! Don’t you think?
  5. Its tips: Finally, this is probably one of my favourite reasons to use MacBreakZ, and, in a way, it kind of reminds me of Workrave for Windows. Every time you take one of those breaks, MacBreakZ actually shows you a few tips with graphics showing you different types of very easy stretches you can do while at your desk; some of them which I am sure you are all familiar with (As you will find them in other programmes), but with plenty others I was not aware of and which after executing them on a regular basis not only is it good fun, but you get to feel the stretch and how it helps release the pressure of your muscles and tendons. Amazing!

    Never thought that so relatively easy stretches, yet so powerful, would have such effect and since I have set up the system to kick in every 30 minutes it helps me stay on top while I learn new ones! Ideal as well for when you are on the road and you have a spare minute in between to keep stretching! Just brilliant!

Oh, and one other really neat feature that I certainly like about MacBreakZ is the fact that if you try to type for an extended period of time, right after you have just finished with one of those breaks, it immediately tells you to slow down with a beep, beep, beep sound that reminds me I need to stop now!

Thus there you have it, my first Mac Tip on one of my favourite Mac programmes available out there looking after my health while I am typing away on those long days in front of the Mac: MacBreakZ.

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