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It strikes me that one way to ameliorate the traffic situation and decrease emmisions on Oahu would be to create tax incentives for companies that allow information workers to work from home. The tax credit would be based on how many information workers they allow to telecommute. This would greatly reduce the number of people slogging between the Ewa plain and town.

Companies could make the telecommuting positions available to top performers. This would increase productivity while decreasing emissions. In my experience top performers tend to perform just as well remotely as they do on location. Thoughts?

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Good discussion. One point: I don't find offices very social environments, and when I work from home, I have a much more active social life due to increased flexibility (I can show up to midday events freely) and the free time which used to be "seat time", that weird limbo where you're expected to be in a seat but you're not getting anything done. Of course, all this depends on your office.
Interesting take -- I find it to be the opposite. Seat time can be boring, we used to play games, especially multi-player online ones when times were slow since you can only hit YouTube so often =). The lack of a work environment for me is isolating. There is a drastic decrease in the number of daily social interactions, even if they were superficial. I can go an entire day without talking IRL to someone, etc which is very strange. In fact, when I first started, I found holding a conversation after work difficult because I would go 5-6 hours at a time without even talking while "in the office". IM and email make up 99% of my communication. Before I started to work remote, many folks told me to be cautious that the isolation can be unbearable... while its not unbearable for me it is a big con against the many many many pro's of working at home =)
Hey Brian, nice to see you here on TechHui. You're welcome to join us at any of the Jellies on Wed afternoons.

I've been "out of the office" so to speak since year 2000. In the beginning, I was able to do three days without leaving the house. I was disturbed to discover myself starting to look like the guys on my PHP book! Since then, I've tried to spend at least half the day outside of the house at some place with wifi: Kahala Mall, Starbucks, Safeway Kapahulu, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Glazers, Cafe Jupiter, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, Borders, libraries etc. After eight years of being a wandering nomad, I'm finally tired that I don't have a "sense of place". I waste a lot of time moving around. But it's better than being home alone all day. The reason why I started the Jelly group is so that I can talk with other Internet/Web people and bounce ideas off each other. It's just not right to go through an entire day and then when you finally open your mouth to say something that your own voice sounds weird because you haven't used it in so long.

The idea of building coworking spaces where people can ameliorate isolation is a good idea. However the coworking spaces need to be conveniently located near peoples homes or it defeats the whole purpose of reducing traffic congestion and protecting the environment by using less fossil fuels.
Truman Leung said:
It's just not right to go through an entire day and then when you finally open your mouth to say something that your own voice sounds weird because you haven't used it in so long.

You've hit the nail on the head right there, I experience that alot. Or you're on a conference call and the words don't come out right because its the first conversation you've had all day =) I'll have to try and make it to a Jelly (or would it be Jellie) one of these days.

I tried to force myself to go to Starbucks in the mornings, just so I am forced to get dressed, comb my hair, etc. but I've recently stopped because their wifi is WAY too slow, and its way too expensive. Spending $8-$10 for breakfast and coffee is just too much. Sure I could just sit and work there but then the smell of coffee and pastry would overpower my will to save $10 a day.

I can see a Dilbert cartoon where the co-working space is next door to the office =)
I pay $20 per month to get a AT&T wifi account which lets me get online at McDonald's and Barnes & Nobles. It also lets me onto the T-mobile network at Starbucks (but I agree, they are WAY too slow). I also have a Hawaiian Tel DSL line at home which gives me free access to the Skywave wifi hotspots at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Bring your own mug to Starbucks and buy a grande coffee with your Starbucks card with free syrup for just $1.83 and free refils. I've got this down to a science. It's the cheapest office rent ever. Way to bootstrap...
Dang you sure do have it down to a science! One other drawback to working at a cafe is the lack of screen real estate. I find I can do lots of work on a 17-inch MBP but I am probably twice as productive at my desk with the dual monitor setup (30-inch and 23-inch), etc.

I'm paranoid so when I went to use the restroom I'd take my MBP with me buts its a pita to do this each time. The noise levels when on conf. calls are also less than desirable and finally, privacy. Some of the work I do is extremely sensitive and so I either have to find a dark corner with no one behind me, or I have to pack it up and head home =)

The t-mobile at Starbucks is synchronouslow. He he he. Some days I barely get 1000 Kbps, with an average in the low 600-700 range. Also, ping times and DNS are slow so its frustrating. How's Coffee Bean & Tea? Do they only have wifi via Skywave there?
Using the bathroom at a cafe is scary with your laptop out in the open. Thank God, I've never had mine swiped.

Yes, Coffee Bean only has Skywave. It's not fast, but not as slow as T-mobile.

Working at a cafe is certainly not ideal ... just a compromise.

I used to use a large headset with a noise cancelling microphone for making Skype calls from Starbucks ... but, uh, that was a bit too nerdy after a while, even for me.
While at RAILSCONF '08 this year, I sat in on a talk titled, "Remote Pair Programming" here are some notes ---

  • Tech, Gadgets, and hackery
  • Good audio is key
  • Leopard screen sharing rocks over everything else they've tried
  • Turned an Xbox360 into a "window to my office." For $99/year Xbox Live, you get good compression, really fast video conferencing mode. Left it on all the time (but just the video portion)
  • Skype audio conference call on all day. Starts up first thing in the morning and then just stays there.
  • Did not use "lame" comms protocols ("over", "roger") but later they had a vocalization for when someone wanted to grab the keyboard in a shared terminal "Yield!"
  • We use "meow" at LILT (Super Troopers!!!)
  • usb rocket launcher + web cam = aimable camera, see also belkin/linksys gadget
  • ambient orb
  • something called Open Canvas (multiparty Illustrator type sketcher)
Human factors

  • Still not the same as being there
  • Missing body language
  • Few opportunities for "bonding"
  • Hard to ask off topic questions to other guys in the room because it interrupted flow
  • Campfire is still popular for automatic transcripted chat sessions
  • Always lost time fiddling with the technology
  • White boarding doesn't work well -- ended up scribbling on an index card and holding it up to the camera
  • Someone has a gadget for using a Wii as a sketching tool, see also online pictionary games. Hints about some other products appearing in the next six months.
  • Often times this comes out of "We had a team, but then Joe moved away and we didn't want to lose him."
Wow Ken, that's a great list ... some I use, some are great ideas to try, thanks!
Great list! I wonder if its dangerous to have the audio on continually. If you can't see people physically in the room its easy to forget they are there and make offhanded comments about their long nose hairs. I guess the moral to the story is, don't talk about people's nose hairs behind their back. You should simply say, "Hey Ted, your nose hairs are wagging. You should think about trimming."

Ken Mayer said:
While at RAILSCONF '08 this year, I sat in on a talk titled, "Remote Pair Programming" here are some notes ---

  • Tech, Gadgets, and hackery
  • Good audio is key
  • Leopard screen sharing rocks over everything else they've tried
  • Turned an Xbox360 into a "window to my office." For $99/year Xbox Live, you get good compression, really fast video conferencing mode. Left it on all the time (but just the video portion)
  • Skype audio conference call on all day. Starts up first thing in the morning and then just stays there.
(clip...)
I think the Skype conference call & the Xbox live video feed worked together (at least, better than the alternatives) to create a virtual extension to an office. It really only works for one or 2 people working "abroad" while the main group is in the bullpen.

They had a photograph of their work space: a long table with 4 work stations, each with 30" displays, etc. At each end were 2 desks set at right angles to the long axis of the big table, creating a square bracket "]" geometry. Each end desk had an LCD-TV with an Xbox live camera on top, aimed down the row. The early riser in the group would start the Skype conference call first thing in the morning.

I'd like to try something like that here, at LILT. I just need to convince Sam to sign off on 2 Xbox systems, including the displays :-)

Cameron Souza said:
Great list! I wonder if its dangerous to have the audio on continually. If you can't see people physically in the room its easy to forget they are there and make offhanded comments about their long nose hairs. I guess the moral to the story is, don't talk about people's nose hairs behind their back. You should simply say, "Hey Ted, your nose hairs are wagging. You should think about trimming."
found this: http://earth2tech.com/2008/09/09/cisco-launches-virtual-office-to-m...

"And companies have worked to keep up with their demands: 42 percent of U.S. companies offer telecommuting programs, up from 30 percent last year."

"While we applaud the energy savings from teleworking (commuting makes up as much as 98 percent of an employee’s carbon footprint, according to Sun Microsystems), there are some downsides to the telework trend for employers. Earlier this year, Cisco released results from a study that found remote workers are increasingly cavalier about security issues, as the lines between home and work uses of technology have become more blurred. (Gartner released similar caveats in October 2006.) "

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