Tag Archives: 30C3

The Uncomfortable Chair and other well-sitting hacks


About sitting around the clock:

Sitting all day can have real negative impacts on our well-being and health. You can take a quick look at this Sitting is Killing You infographic to get a picture, and/or watch the talk Coding Your Body physical therapist Sophie Hiltner gave last week at 30C3.

One of my favorite “hack” to remedy for this problem has to be the UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIR, which was cited by Sophie Hiltner at the end of her talk. When asked by someone in the audience what is the best chair to prevent musculo-skeletal disorders caused by sitting all day, she answered that the best chair could actually be the most uncomfortable of all, the most basic one, because then one has no choice but to stand up every so often to stretch. I think that is brilliant. It reminds me of a friend, movie director, who used exactly the same trick for a different, and also very interesting, purpose: He said he would always sit in the most uncomfortable chair to watch movies, because he believed comfort was detrimental to a healthy critical sense, and he certainly hated falling asleep in the arms of whatever storytelling.

Sophie Hiltner also cited having INCENTIVES TO STAND UP in the room, like placing the pot of tea or coffee on a different table than the actual desk, so one has to stand up every once in a while to get a refill. It’s a good one too, though the incentive has to be pretty strong, knowing how sometimes we don’t get up to go to the bathroom even though we are bursting.

Another woman we met told me how she cannot stay, and will not, stay in place behind her computer even though she does spend hours on it, and how she was always POSTURE SHIFTING at her large desk. She demonstrated to me a few moves, options for sitting, kneeling, forward bending, and it resembled a strange, very personal kind of yoga involving office accessories. And, she also moves/works away from the main desk, to other spots in the room where she experiments with other postures. She said it will all be perfect when she gets a desk that can adjust its height so she could then include standing postures in her “routine”. Very refreshing 🙂

STANDING DESKS are an interesting option by the way, you can read some posts about them + IKEA hacks and how to build your own here on lifehacker.


She also mentioned her and her son trying the exercise BALL as an office chair, but said that it proved tiresome and too f****ing distracting in the end. I have never tried it so I wouldn’t know. I hear that the interest is that you have to keep moving to maintain your stability, and that this gets your (forgotten, atrophied) stabilizing muscles to workout and that it prevents you from turning into a petrified human that will end up breaking at some point.


Me, I ideally like to have a chair with a wide enough seat (not too soft or spongy) so I can sit in a SEMI-LOTUS POSE on it every now and then with a straight back (not straight as in straight, straight as in with nice spinal curves). Days when I’m not flexible enough, I will add a CUSHION under my bottom, just so my hips are higher than my knees (if not, the effort I have to make to raise myself over the level of my knees is too much and counterproductive). This is also known as “ZAFU SITTING” for meditation. This way of using a cushion or “prop” can be useful even when sitting more classically on a chair (legs uncrossed), for elevating the hips and helping reinstall the healthy spinal curves. DO think about it whenever you are working on the floor at a low table.


About computers and other devices sucking life juices out of you…

The same woman mentioned another very interesting “trick” (that is way more than a trick, actually) so that machines would not end up sucking all life out of her : She has DOGS. Most of us have probably already heard how stroking a “pet” can be soothing for the mind and emotions, but that is not exactly the point here. In her case it has more to do with sharing her work space with OTHER LIFE FORMS, having a room inhabited, kept vibrant with life. Not to mention the fact that dogs will always remind you that is is TIME TO TAKE A WALK (how’s that for an incentive?!). She cites dogs for lively counterpoints to computers and/or points of reference for what matters in life (that is, life), but of course there are many ways in which to explore how to keep a connection to the living world while giving it all at the work place. It can make it easier to COME BACK from long deep immersions into technological realms.


I like PLANTS for that purpose. Indeed they are more easy going than dogs, yet not less alive. I sometimes like to suggest CARING FOR A PLANT as means to start taking care of oneself (better), and to stay connected to life. An idea to make it even more fulfilling is to pick a plant which kind of resembles you: in shape, original habitat (where does it grow), cycles, flowers or no flowers, spikes or no spikes, needs for water and sunlight, and whatever more you find relevant. A plant that you will like and will like to care for, and that, without you really knowing at first, will care for you too (no, I’m not crazy). Then keep it with you at your work place. Look at it from time to time. What does it need ? Do you provide it ? Does it look well? If it has become dusty, asphyxiated, dehydrated, is turning yellow, is losing its leaves, and is shrinking… You probably are too.

A taste of other well-being hacks and how nice it could be to create a WELL-BEING HACK BOX

Other people at 30C3 shared with us other well-being hacks, tricks and personal rules that work for them and that one can use to improve their quality of life in relation to extensive use of computers and other devices. For example, not having devices in the bedroom (a huge step for many!), or at least turning them off before bed (yes, that is taking action), covering computers with a blanket (making them disappear for the time being almost like a magic trick would), taking offline holidays, only allowing oneself 10 minutes of use before breakfast, installing some software that will interrupt the computer work regularly… These tricks and hacks can be already well known and/or very singular and surprising, and they come in response to a vast array of discomforts, in relation to eating, sleeping, socializing… Each of these topics would deserve specific articles. Here now I just wanted to give you a glimpse of how nice it good be to actually collect and put some more of these hacks and fixes together in relation to specific problems so we can all pick from a box, be inspired, and overall feel better.

If you feel inspired and want to contribute with your own hacks, cyber grandpa and cyber grandma home remedies, go to our survey page on the menu of that blog ! THANK YOU 🙂

Art credits

Erwin Wurm, Idiot II & One Minute Sculpture

Mark Wentzel, XLounge

“CODING YOUR BODY”: Physical therapist Sophie Hiltner talks at 30C3

In this 30 minutes talk, physical therapist Sophie Hiltner explains basic anatomy of the musculo-skeletal systems, the physical structures that hold us together and enable our actions. This is of course of interest to people who spend most of their time holding themselves the same way, not shape-shifting much, sitting all day, heads tilted over screens, forever clicking… You get the picture.

How is a little anatomy interesting ? Understanding the physiology and mechanics of the bones, muscles and connective tissues, leads to a better understanding of the constraints and stresses our postures exert on these systems everyday all day, and of the negative consequences these postures can have for the general well-being and health. Over the years, these consequences can in fact turn out quite bad, Sophie remarks, as she invites the audience to not lose more time before starting to listen to important warning signals from the body (you know, like pain). Note that the worse posture of all can be any posture in which one will let themselves become a statue, that is to say, lack of movement sabotages us in the long term. On that subject, French readers can read my post “l’effort musculaire de la statue”, on my massage blog.

From Sophie’s overview of the musculo-skeletal systems it then becomes quite clear that preventing and/or reversing the negative effects of still and sloppy habits can/should be in one’s power, as one becomes more aware and hopefully doesn’t wait to be too hurt before he or she takes simple steps that can go a long way. Like… Getting up ! Moving! A little later on after the talk, Sophie took the crowd outside (best place, given the hot air, lights, hyperactivity and electricity inside the building) for a little stretching and moving about. NICE ONE :)

So yes, a little knowledge in anatomy is very useful, and it can trigger a realization that movement is vital, which can save everyone some avoidable pains and strains (not all pains in life in the world are so easily avoidable, so we might as well prevent those which we can). It was great that Sophie was there at 30C3 to communicate this, because as crucial as it is, this kind of knowledge and practical body wisdom is not much represented… I myself am not fond of the analogy with machines  when speaking of the body (I like to stick to the living), but I guess it helped in getting the message across at 30C3, which mattered. As an experienced masseuse I guess I also would have enjoyed it if there had been more time for Sophie to present the case studies of her patients she had brought but… next time !

Hackers Food : Is There An Alternative?

Ok it’s not a gastronomic congress, but can we pretend to a sustainable alternative without including the food system?

Maybe we lack whisthleblowers from the food industry ? For whatever reasons, it seems that hackers are condemned (by design) to eating junk..

Why is it every times no choice in between hot dogs or pizza or crepes ? for vegetarians it’s often worst: plastic salad with fake cream cheese or frozen carottes with industrial beans?

One can argue that germany is the country of salami and ham, but it’s also the one of Demeter and high standards organic agriculture..

So I’d like to understand : Is food the last preoccupation of the organization ? Is industrial junk is the default option?

Yes there is lots of constraint to feed thousands of people, but no more than other organizational aspect..

How can it be so exemplar on every single organizational aspect but food ?

I’d like to understand that… Is is it because the junk industry is so well implanted and irreplaceable?

Why is it so hard to have the same level of exigence and ethics than for other technology and social issue?

It seems that fooding (and well being in general) is the ultimate thing to hack.

Du Bist Was Du Isst!

Hacking (with) care + La Quadrature Du Net at 30C3 <3 December 27th to 30th 2013


Following the lovely experience together at OHM2013, Hacking (with) care members gladly respond to the invitation of La Quadrature Du Net to once again team up with them, this time at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, from December 27th to 30th. Emily and Baba (and Anne sending and picking up infos and vibes from Quebec!) will basically offer the same body & soul treats to caring hackers, + new ideas and little improvements that will hopefully make it even better, including:

– Well, this blog, to start with..!

– Morning and evening stretch sessions guided by volunteer Stretch masters

– DIY massages/ individual tutorials with Emily, available in addition to individual massages session

– Energy showers…

And more !

Keep posted with 30C3 thanks to the wiki, AQUI


Après l’agréable expérience partagée cet été à OHM2013, les membres de Hacking (with) care sont heureux d’accepter une nouvelle invitation de La Quadrature Du Net à se joindre à eux, cette fois lors du 30C3, Chaos Communication Congrès, du 27 au 30 décembre à Hambourg. Emily et Baba (et Anne, émettant et captant infos et vibes depuis Quebec!) proposeront à peu près les mêmes gourmandises et soins pour le corps et l’esprit qu’à OHM, + de nouvelles petites idées et améliorations pour rendre le tout encore meilleur, notamment: 

– Ce blog, pour commencer..!

– Des sessions d’étirements le matin et le soir menée par des “stretch masters” volontaires

– Des petit travaux pratiques, supervisions avec Emily en massage, disponible en plus des séances individuelles de massage.

– Les “douches d’énergie”..

Et plus ! 

Vous pouvez rester branché.e.s grâce au wiki LQDN 30C3, AQUI 

OBSERVE a MASSAGE : A Thaï Yoga Massage demo

During 30C3 I will be giving massages on a futon on the floor, working over comfortable clothing (one-size-fits-all-yoga-pants will be provided). Indeed, we are now in winter, and in a semi-nomadic situation I want to optimize the warmth and coziness of individual sessions. Consequently the massages will use a combination of techniques drawn more from Asia than California, with powerful palm pressures, cat paws and elephant walks, yoga-like stretches… I also like to integrate to them tools coming from occidental body-mind therapy, like guided deep breathing exercises, subtle stomach massage, and other minimal moves for maximum mind soothing benefits.

To give you an idea of the family of massage I am referring to, I looked for a demo video. I came across this thai yoga massage demo by teacher Ralf Marzen, whom I have never met and whose school I didn’t go to. But he seems to be really good at what he does, and these 9 minutes of demo are inspiring and instructive. I chose it because I loved the sequence at first sight and could almost feel it while watching it: I immediately wanted to try it (to receive and to give it).

So those of you who didn’t know anything about Thai massage can have a better idea of the style (there are of course many more techniques and moves and styles and practitioners, and the beauty of it is also a diversity outside of strict protocols). Furthermore, watching a good demo (or watching someone IRL) gives an opportunity to really observe what goes on in giving a massage. We can maybe understand, “copy-feel”, integrate moves, and by the wonderful ways of memory and imitation, we grow a new practice. These aspects have been discussed in my workshops OBSERVE-HACK-MASSAGE.

Now, here are some of my thoughts as I observe this demo.

Although this sequence looks smooth and easy, it is actually (indeed) advanced. Quite advanced, more than I am at present -yet nothing I couldn’t grow capable of, precisely because it looks so tasty and I like to look up to things that look so tasty and learn from them.

It looks easy and smooth because it is executed with great art, grace, and presence. In general a massage feels quite like it looks. So you can pretty much trust what you see, and/or feel, watching it.

It looks and probably is then, smooth ad easy, because the giver is himself comfortable in his own skin and bones, has gotgreat coordinationfeet sensitive as hands, to name a few. He seems to have very well integrated what he is giving, his knowledge seems “incarnated”. Also, he looks in an attentive yet relaxed state, and in a kind of a “blurry focus”, quite characteristic. Indeed thai massage is traditionally done /approached by giver and receiver like a meditation.

Notice the similarities with Yoga, it is – yet another – form of Yoga.

Notice the similarities also with Dance: how the giver communicates his “groove” to the receiver, and how rhythm is kept throughout. Notice if you can, how this groove and rhythm originate from the center of his body (belly) and propagate to his limbs, hands, feet (it’s not just the hands doing something independently). Notice also how the bodies respond to each other, echo, however passive the receiver may seem (I would argue that receiving a massage is not such a passive thing, by the way).

Notice how the structure of the body (of receiver, but also giver) is very well handled, notice how movement is initiated where movement should be initiated: at the articulations. Notice how amplitude comes with opening (of the joints, of breathing..).

Notice the fluidity in the whole sequence, the oceanic vibe, brought by rocking and oscillating moves. Also, the stretches are many, long and soft. The masseur is taking his time, not rushing things, sometimes even pausing. He is listening, feeling.That leaves space for (deep) breathing. It also indicates that the pressures are applied progressively on the receiver’s muscles, thus respecting her body and needs. The whole thing is not so tonic, meaning the intention, and effects, are probably more about relaxation than waking-up or preparing for action. It is about gentle unblocking, melting tensions and opening of flows in the bodies. I guess it could be one metaphorical illustration of how “data must flow” can resonate in massage.

These are really cool massages to learn. So cool that to practice them well, you have to be really flexible and CHILLIN’. You cannot escape (at least not for long) working on your own body and mind (which is true with any massage but is especially true here with Thai, for occidental people). Once you integrate its aspects, some of which I have described, you become comfortable and capable of giving this kind of massage to almost anybody, even somebody with a body much larger than yours.

Do in automassage (le bien-être au bout des doigts)

Le Do In est une technique d’automassage issue de la médecine traditionnelle chinoise. Sa pratique est très proche de sa version japonaise appelée Shiatsu « la voie par la pression des doigts ».

Dominique Launay, praticien en shiatsu est l’auteur de “Do In automassage : le bien-être au bout des doigts”. Il a réalisé des vidéo pour le web présentant une série d’exercices pour prévenir et soulager les maux du quotidien des travailleur.euses sur ordinateur.

La démarche est expliquée et les différents exercices sont présentés ici:



MARVELOUS FITNESS (I shall triumph over human lethargy)

Here for your enjoyment some yoga / stretch / fitness exercises from Stan Lee’s STRENGTH & FITNESS book.

A few stretches in the morning and/or evening can go a long way. You don’t necessarily have to jump like Silver surfer, in fact, maybe you shouldn’t jump first thing, but do adopt a little morning routine to wake your body gently and activate your vitals so you can kick ass all day. Make it indispensable and obvious like a shower (let’s hope you do shower from time to time). In the evening, stretching will help you lose the tight uniform of a hero, so you can regenerate at ease, make room for new moves and ideas, sleep well, and be fit to kick ass again tomorrow.


The exercise below, the Jameson Roar, is a take on Simhasana, the Lion pose, in Yoga (as shown here also by BKS Iyengar). It is for me a MUST in morning stretch, very accessible and rewarding. It opens your face, brightens your vision, takes away tension in the jaws and at the back of the neck. Interesting for people with bruxomania (compulsive grinding of teeth in sleep) AND very interesting to practice before giving a speech ;)



When bending forward and letting your head hang like Spiderman below, you might want to flex your knees, to go easy on them and your legs if you are not very flexible (you should not feel pain). Certainly flex your knees on the way up, even if you’re flexible, and rise up slowly, vertebra after vertebra, from the sacred to the cervical region where your head rests. Once you are standing, see that your shoulders are in a good alignment, not falling in front, not too much in your back, and keep them low (you ARE strong, no need to brag about it more).




HACKING WITH CARE : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

There are numerous reasons to draw parallels between the hacktivist movement and a vision of the future that is politicized, self-governing, and libertarian. As shown in the documentary We Are Legion, hacktivism has evolved into a tool for politicization and transnational solidarity. Hackers value and encourage an empowering, transparent, and freeing relationship with tools, technology, and knowledge. They are often viewed through the lens of their ethics, values, and social engagements – but how does this translate for them on a daily basis? How do hackers invest in relationships that reflect their political discourse? What are the links between hacktivism, care, and the politicization of everyday life? How do hacktivists practice self-care and handle exclusion problems within their community?

Hacking with Care : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

– Anne Goldenberg, DPI 27, Hacktivism, April 24, 2013

Carpal Tunnel: Anatomy, Syndrome and Exercises

VIDEO Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exercises that really work – Boing Boing.

Anatomy of the region:



Q/A (from wisegeek.com)


“Tendinitis is a condition that is created by some type of irritation or inflammation of the tendon. Since tendons are the connecting tissue that adheres muscles to the skeletal structure of the body, this inflammation can be extremely painful. Tendinitis can come about as the result of certain types of physical activity and exertion, as well as be the product of other health ailments that are creating adverse effects on other parts of the body as well as the tendons.

One of the most common causes of tendinitis is overexertion. When the muscles become strained due to heavy lifting or any movements that place the muscles and tendons into unnatural positions, there is a chance of straining the tendons and creating temporary irritation. Repeated activity of this nature may inhibit the ability of the tendons to recover from each episode and lead to tendon inflammation. When this is the case, it is often necessary to visit a physician and obtain medication to help reduce the swelling and the discomfort while the tendons heal.
Full article on wisegeek here 


“The carpal tunnel is a narrow area that is located under the ligament, a band of tough tissue, of the wrist. It consists of both tendons, which are connective tissue between the bones and muscles, and nerves. One of the primary nerves in this area is known as the median nerve, which is located down the forearm into the wrist. When the median nerve becomes irritated or otherwise affected, it can cause pain in the tunnel and lead to the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

When the area near the carpal tunnel, especially its tendons, becomes swollen or inflamed, it can result in the tunnel becoming more narrow and pressing down on the median nerve. This narrowing of the tunnel is often due to repetitive movements of the wrist that may end up irritating the median nerve. It can also be caused by having a naturally smaller carpal tunnel, which can make even slight constriction of the tunnel press down on the median nerve and cause symptoms.”

Full article here + how to “treat carpal tunnel syndrome”