I’d like to start this post with a warning: I’m only 29 years old but already have permanent damage to my shoulder caused by overusage while working/playing on the computer. Two years ago, I had to claim workman’s comp because I was disabled for a few weeks, barely being able to even stand because of an excruciating pain in my shoulder – even gravity put too much pressure on it. I didn’t know what was happening at first, I thought it just needed to “pop” but as it turned out, I had tendonitis/bursitis from repetitive mouse/keyboard usage. While the damage was permanent, the pain went away after a terribly painful cortisone shot was injected right into my shoulder. By that time, calcium had built up and I heard the needle crush right through it. Ugh, even with lots of Vicodin and some other topical pain killer, it was still unbelievably painful.
To stop the problem from recurring, I had my desk evaluated by an ergonomic specialist and ended up buying a new chair and a new keyboard tray. I also moved my mouse in closer to my body so that I wouldn’t have to reach so far out. I got tips on how to sit, stretch, mouse, etc. I suggest that if you haven’t had an ergo eval recently, ask your company to schedule one with a professional. The time I’ve invested at physical therapy, at the doctor’s office, icing my shoulder, figuring out how to clean/cook with a bum shoulder, buying new backpacks, etc could have been avoided if I got into a healthy posture habit when I first started working on computers. So now.. I ice, take lots of ibuprofin and perform stretches.
Everyone, not just fools like me with bum shoulders, should stretch at least once an hour while on their computer. I’m pretty forgetful but even if I wasn’t, I don’t think its possible to remember to stretch every hour on the hour without some help. And this is where the command line task scheduling fun comes in.
Often times, I’ve scheduled tasks in both Windows and Unix from the command line using at. Today while researching creating a stretch task, I learned that Microsoft replaced at with schtasks and Apple replaced at with launchd. Works for me, Windows’ at doesn’t really support hourly tasks while schtasks does. Below is a scheduled task that I’m running in order to prevent further injury to my shoulder:
schtasks /create /tn StretchReminder /tr “msg console Stretch!” /sc HOURLY
Using this command, I’ve created a task to run once an hour which sends me a simple message that reads “Stretch!” You may wonder why I’m not using net send. The reason is that net send is no longer supported in Vista and msg is supported in both XP and Vista.
Here’s hoping my shoulder gets better and yours never starts acting up.