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(IT World)   One way to improve programmers' productivity that doesn't involve Red Bull   (itworld.com ) divider line 60
    More: Interesting, Journal of Consumer Research, background noises, productivity, software engineers, consumer researches  
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4573 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Jun 2013 at 11:20 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-25 09:57:32 AM  
It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.
 
2013-06-25 10:23:02 AM  
Oh!  Oh!  I know!  Pay them more and stay the fark out of their way!
 
2013-06-25 10:46:55 AM  
does it involve boobies?
 
2013-06-25 10:49:06 AM  

UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.


that's nothing.  In a previous job, the guy in the cube behind me used to sing Whitney Houston songs, all day, every day.  he wasn't playing her CDs or listening to an MP3 player, he would just start to spontaneously sing Whitney Houston.  And he had a horrible voice.  it was awful.
 
2013-06-25 10:53:50 AM  
This doesn't surprise me.. I spent most of my college study-time at the college cafeteria and coffee shop.  I got to the point I couldn't study without the background buzz of conversations around me.
 
2013-06-25 11:16:24 AM  

ManateeGag: UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.

that's nothing.  In a previous job, the guy in the cube behind me used to sing Whitney Houston songs, all day, every day.  he wasn't playing her CDs or listening to an MP3 player, he would just start to spontaneously sing Whitney Houston.  And he had a horrible voice.  it was awful.


Did he have a Rain Man thing going or something? Because that's farked up.
 
2013-06-25 11:16:36 AM  
I use the Mission Control station on SomaFM as background noise.  Works perfectly for me.
 
2013-06-25 11:23:30 AM  

Mugato: ManateeGag: UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.

that's nothing.  In a previous job, the guy in the cube behind me used to sing Whitney Houston songs, all day, every day.  he wasn't playing her CDs or listening to an MP3 player, he would just start to spontaneously sing Whitney Houston.  And he had a horrible voice.  it was awful.

Did he have a Rain Man thing going or something? Because that's farked up.


no, he was otherwise normal.  just loved him some Whitney Houston.
 
2013-06-25 11:29:37 AM  
The study they are citing was terrible.  They didn't even check basics like whether the subjects had normal hearing, the distribution of the sound was completely unrealistic and the tests they ran were very much a caged hunt with little generalizability.  But it got media pickup because it involved a "coffee shop" ambience and suddenly another crappy study is being touted as a solution.

And yes I'm being that guy.  And yes I am an auditory neuroscientist.
 
2013-06-25 11:30:51 AM  
And by the headline of this thread, I know that what I'm about to read is unpossible.
 
2013-06-25 11:33:44 AM  
Seriously, though... my coworkers drink a lot of redbull.

/Mt. Dew for me, thanks.
 
2013-06-25 11:36:39 AM  
Red Bull sucks.

Best thing for me is exactly what this article suggests.  The right type of noise.

It used to be classical music.  Then various forms of techno or opera (Carmina Burana was a good go to); anything without a lot of lyrics I can understand.

Now, it's dubstep.  It's noise with a beat.
 
2013-06-25 11:38:47 AM  
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-06-25 11:40:26 AM  
Lighting for the love of god lighting, staring at a computer screen is bad enough without 50,000 candle power of bright white florescent light over your head.
 
2013-06-25 11:45:10 AM  

Mentat: Oh!  Oh!  I know!  Pay them more and stay the fark out of their way!


static.giantbomb.com
 
2013-06-25 11:45:11 AM  
I work best at home with a movie on. I'm facing the movie, while coding. Swear to god.

Can't use anything with subtitles, though. And preferably not something awesome like Inception. Something by Jennifer Aniston that's highly predictable does the job.
 
2013-06-25 11:48:56 AM  

Tom_Slick: Lighting for the love of god lighting, staring at a computer screen is bad enough without 50,000 candle power of bright white florescent light over your head.


Could be worse.  You could be sitting under a skylight.  You'll notice every single cloud.
 
2013-06-25 11:50:48 AM  
My company has a fridge stocked with Diet Mountain Dew. Protein shake in the morning for breakfast, OJ as my first drink of the day, then alternating Diet Dew and water throughout the day. Keeps me going and I actually feel somewhat healthy sitting on my fat ass all day.
 
2013-06-25 11:55:04 AM  

farkeruk: I work best at home with a movie on. I'm facing the movie, while coding. Swear to god.

Can't use anything with subtitles, though. And preferably not something awesome like Inception. Something by Jennifer Aniston that's highly predictable does the job.


Do you have major ADHD?
 
2013-06-25 11:56:05 AM  

farkeruk: I work best at home with a movie on. I'm facing the movie, while coding. Swear to god.

Can't use anything with subtitles, though. And preferably not something awesome like Inception. Something by Jennifer Aniston that's highly predictable does the job.


Really? I'd find anything with boobies to be highly distracting. I think I'd need a low-budget remake of 12 Angry Men or something.
 
2013-06-25 11:56:23 AM  

Tom_Slick: Lighting for the love of god lighting, staring at a computer screen is bad enough without 50,000 candle power of bright white florescent light over your head.


I found it was very zen at the beginning of each day to hold up the keyboard and block the light with it for about 30 seconds.  Its important to face the back of the keyboard towards the light and just shake it like an unwanted child.  Go ahead and try it, you'll thank me later.
 
2013-06-25 11:57:26 AM  
4.bp.blogspot.com

what the right level and type of ambient noise may look like
 
2013-06-25 12:00:17 PM  

Tom_Slick: Lighting for the love of god lighting, staring at a computer screen is bad enough without 50,000 candle power of bright white florescent light over your head.


My office is a former used car lot.  The building was made to showcase cars (lots of windows, bright lights).  At one time, we had all the windows open and the lights on.  After some headaches I finally suggested that we either turn off the lights or buy those parabolic light covers.

They at least turn off half of the room.  I don't know why people think they need lights on all the time when we have huge windows.
 
2013-06-25 12:10:11 PM  

BumpInTheNight: Tom_Slick: Lighting for the love of god lighting, staring at a computer screen is bad enough without 50,000 candle power of bright white florescent light over your head.

I found it was very zen at the beginning of each day to hold up the keyboard and block the light with it for about 30 seconds.  Its important to face the back of the keyboard towards the light and just shake it like an unwanted child.  Go ahead and try it, you'll thank me later.


This is a good idea, and everyone should try it.
 
2013-06-25 12:10:13 PM  

UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.


Good gods, this. I sat next to a guy who was a great person and I liked working with him. But gods help me if he decided to each lunch at his cube. Or worse, when he'd start chewing gum.
 
2013-06-25 12:10:22 PM  

Usurper4: Really? I'd find anything with boobies to be highly distracting. I think I'd need a low-budget remake of 12 Angry Men or something.


also: Diagnosis Murder and Murder, She Wrote.
 
2013-06-25 12:11:04 PM  

digistil: Do you have major ADHD?


less so than I used to. But I do code in bursts.
 
2013-06-25 12:17:26 PM  

farkeruk: I work best at home with a movie on. I'm facing the movie, while coding. Swear to god.

Can't use anything with subtitles, though. And preferably not something awesome like Inception. Something by Jennifer Aniston that's highly predictable does the job.


I am the EXACT same way.  I've got all the episodes for Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo, Harvey Birdman, and Aqua Teen loaded onto my HTPC and I just select that folder and hit "Play all".

It's good for about eight hours before I start getting brain-rot, but that's more from the work involved than anything.
 
2013-06-25 12:18:09 PM  

ManateeGag: does it involve boobies?


hmm, I would be willing to participate in that study.
 
2013-06-25 12:19:59 PM  

ManateeGag: UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.

that's nothing.  In a previous job, the guy in the cube behind me used to sing Whitney Houston songs, all day, every day.  he wasn't playing her CDs or listening to an MP3 player, he would just start to spontaneously sing Whitney Houston.  And he had a horrible voice.  it was awful.


It may have been syndrome.
 
2013-06-25 12:22:11 PM  

neurothing: And yes I am an auditory neuroscientist.


Then obviously you are too invested in the existing body of knowledge to accept the outside the box information.

/I KEED
 
2013-06-25 12:34:23 PM  
Paid vacation time you can actually use?
 
2013-06-25 12:48:14 PM  
I've found I can't mix words and words. So if I'm doing something wordy, like sorting the books, I can't run an audiobook because I'll miss the content for the audiobook. Complete shutout. Helps to find something where the words aren't important.

It's when I'm doing everything else that I break out the audiobooks. Driving around, shopping for groceries, doing the dishes.

If you want to improve performance call fewer, shorter meetings. The half hour meeting length block leads to excess, make it a ten minute meeting and see if you can get back to doing the actual work already. The only meetings that should go on and on are makeouts.
 
2013-06-25 12:50:58 PM  

MightyPez: UberDave: It depends on the noise.  The guy in the cube behind me has the food intake mannerisms of an undisciplined three year old.  There's only so much smacking and slurping of food that I can listen to.  That's why I have a good pair of earbuds - the kind that block off outside noise but don't project the music I am playing loud enough (not even remotely) for others to hear.

Good gods, this. I sat next to a guy who was a great person and I liked working with him. But gods help me if he decided to each lunch at his cube. Or worse, when he'd start chewing gum.


I sat beside a horrible smacker who also played that horrible song "butterfly" by crazy town on nearly a continuous loop for a solid year.  I just started at the company straight out of college so I held my tongue for far longer than I should have.  Once we got to be friends we finally had a talk and it ended.  The guy was a great guy but his manners, and taste in music were as bad as any person I've ever been around.
 
2013-06-25 12:53:27 PM  

wildcardjack: I've found I can't mix words and words. So if I'm doing something wordy, like sorting the books, I can't run an audiobook because I'll miss the content for the audiobook. Complete shutout. Helps to find something where the words aren't important.

It's when I'm doing everything else that I break out the audiobooks. Driving around, shopping for groceries, doing the dishes.

If you want to improve performance call fewer, shorter meetings. The half hour meeting length block leads to excess, make it a ten minute meeting and see if you can get back to doing the actual work already. The only meetings that should go on and on are makeouts.


I'm the same way. I listen to audio books while driving or doing chores but if there's anything that requires reading or abstract thought like assembling something according to instructions or following a recipe I'll miss whole paragraphs. When I'm coding I find its best to listen to music that either has no words or is something I've already listened to enough times that it can become background noise. Anything unfamiliar with lyrics to it and I start losing focus on what I'm doing.
 
Zel [TotalFark]
2013-06-25 01:05:14 PM  

russlar: [4.bp.blogspot.com image 600x601]

what the right level and type of ambient noise may look like


Just tried to 'Like' your post because C418 is awesome.
You can listen to the album for free or buy it at his website

http://c418.bandcamp.com
 
2013-06-25 01:08:53 PM  

coolcashiat77: [imgs.xkcd.com image 652x592]


Well that makes sense,  I can't program if I'm not drunk. Who could do that boring ass shiat whilst sober?

/went back to film school
 
2013-06-25 01:11:21 PM  
Wow, that  http://coffitivity.com/ link they had in the article is a godsend.
 
2013-06-25 01:20:34 PM  

Mentat: Oh!  Oh!  I know!  Pay them more and stay the fark out of their way!


Programmers with a degree of flexibility and larger paycheck are called "software engineers". They generally have quite a bit more experience and education.
 
2013-06-25 01:41:48 PM  
Headphones, music with no lyrics. Game music did the job well. Major problem was that I really liked to hear what the artists were gossiping about.
 
2013-06-25 01:47:46 PM  
Not listed: Bringing out THE WHORES!!
 
2013-06-25 02:04:31 PM  
heh, I work best in a noisy cafe or bar
 
2013-06-25 02:22:28 PM  
how does productivity benefit me?  It doesn't.  It just benefits the higher ups.  I work as slow as I can.
 
2013-06-25 02:26:04 PM  
Regular sex would make my programming better.
 
2013-06-25 02:31:19 PM  

pacified: how does productivity benefit me?  It doesn't.  It just benefits the higher ups.  I work as slow as I can.


It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's another thing, I have eight different bosses right now. Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
 
2013-06-25 02:32:33 PM  

Tom_Slick: pacified: how does productivity benefit me?  It doesn't.  It just benefits the higher ups.  I work as slow as I can.

It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's another thing, I have eight different bosses right now. Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.


breast examine on channel 3.
 
2013-06-25 02:49:19 PM  
Kill every tenth one?
 
2013-06-25 02:54:32 PM  
I am working from home for about 6 years now. The background "noise" in the office was so intense and distracting that I couldn't have any shiat done so I talked to my boss to try this and it is working. I am living at a 5 minutes walk from the office BTW so it wasn't a factor.

The main source of the noise is the leader of the camera firmware team. He's very good at his job but in other terms he is a true asshole. I tried talking to him but he couldn't keep silent. And there was also a guy in my team sitting next to me who wouldn't press the buttons on his keyboard, he kept hitting them.

I don't listen to music when I'm working but I always have my cat around. To my experience, just looking at a pussy really makes you more creative.
 
2013-06-25 03:12:45 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-06-25 03:30:54 PM  
I know this is the internet and all - but I really think programmers are a bit full of themselves.  'No really, it's *creative* and *unique*!  Each aspect of my project is a unique snowflake I must think about in solitude and don't even ask me for estimates because, hey, it's like REALLY hard to estimate my time!'

Now sure, if you're doing something cutting edge somewhere at a place like Google - sure.  But if you are writing Generic Business App #82934 - I have trouble buying it.
 
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