Tag Archives: hydraulics

In praise of Håg ergonomic seats – again

Are you into office-setup porn? Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be alarmed at. I heard the term used while listening to a podcast recently.  The discussion was about people’s predilection for viewing each others’ creative office setups. There’s even a site called The Setup, where creatives post details of the equipment they use to get stuff done. And of course, anyone who visits Lifehacker.com will know they regularly feature creatives’ workspaces  too.

I guess this fascination comes from our desire to see how others do the tasks that we do, or to learn how we could create a better, more efficient, working environment. And then, of course, there’s the idea of a dream writing-graphic-web development setup. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cosy basement office or my kitchen table. But in my dreams? It would have to be a sunny office in one of the chalets at Haldi ob Schattdorf, overlooking the Reuss valley and Altdorf in Switzerland’s Uri canton. For now, I have to make do with the view from my favourite webcam – and memories of the great times I’ve spent in central Switzerland.

What consistently strikes me about these workstation or setup reviews is the preoccupation with computers, desks, multi-monitor setups and peripherals. Too rarely in my opinion do the authors give sufficient attention to the quality of their office seating. That’s a shame – aafter all, you only have one back and it’s easily damaged…

As a busy Cheltenham copywriter I spend hours at my computer. I’ve blogged previously about my fondness for Norwegian Håg (pronounced ‘Hawg’) office seating. Unlike some so-called ‘ergonomic’ seats, the Håg range really is a treat for your back. So much so, that my Danish chiropractor was so impressed that he re-equipped several practices with Håg products.

hag03bristol

That’s why, now that I’m doing more copywriting and editing at a satellite location not far from Portishead’s marina development near Bristol, I’ve invested in another Håg 03 seat. It was a logical decision due to how impressed I’ve been with the Hag 05 and 03 seats in my main office. As ever, I bought my little Norwegian beauty from regular supplier Nigel Eldridge at the Office Backcare Centre in Cheltenham,  Gloucestershire. I can’t sing Nigel’s praises highly enough. If you’re in the Gloucestershire area (or even if you’re not), have a chat with him about how proper ergonomic office seating can transform your working life.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

An Airbus, a ‘barking dog’ and a Cheltenham copywriter…

It’s amazing how a little bit of understanding can calm the nerves and make sense of something that at first appears unfamiliar. On a recent flight back to the UK, we were aboard an Airbus A320. If you know anything about the A320 you’ll know all about the so-called ‘barking dog’ that sometimes makes itself heard during push back from the gate, especially if you’re sitting somewhere around the centre of the aircraft – as this Cheltenham copywriter and his other half were last weekend.

a320 airbus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it was last Saturday. As the aircraft was pushed out onto the taxiway and the engines spooled up, the distinctive sound of ‘barking’ filled the cabin. As I immersed myself in Influence by Robert Cialdini, I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation in a nearby seat. With some concern, another passenger asked one of the cabin crew what the noise was and what was going on – and whether the plane was okay.

As I’ve heard many times, the flight attendant smiled and explained that it was the jet’s hydraulics – not a stray mongrel in the freight hold – and completely normal. The passenger looked relieved and settled back with his newspaper. All was right in the world and a few minutes later we were climbing out over the Med and heading north.

An interest in aircraft and several years working as a technical copywriter around Airbus has taught me that the mystery ‘barking dog’ is actually the power transfer unit between the aircraft’s green and yellow hydraulic circuits. It’s particularly noticeable during push back when one engine is running and the PTU drives the hydraulic circuits on the other, as yet unpowered, side of the aircraft. If you sit down at the back, you’ll barely notice it – try it next time you’re on an A320. (Even better, learn the answer and impress friends, family and fellow-travellers with your knowledge…)

barkingdog

There’s a parallel with certain aspects of copywriting. I’ve lost count of the times a client of my freelance copywriting business asked me about the questions starting a website page, a conversational writing style or the use of ‘and’ or ‘but’ at the start of a sentence. To some people, perhaps those brought up on a certain (misguided) understanding of English, such techniques sit as uncomfortably with business writing as the idea of a collie-cross running loose in the hold does with the idea of international flight. Usually, all it takes to set the client’s mind at rest is a clear explanation: questions are a way of engaging the reader’s attention; a conversational style is important for similar reasons; while conjunctions and sentence fragments add pace to website copy that should replicate spoken communication as much as possible.

Just as there must surely be travellers who will remain convinced that their plane is malfunctioning, occasional stick-in-the-muds won’t be told. But generally, people get what I’m doing with words and appreciate the benefit for engaging communication with their audience. That’s when they sit back with their metaphorical cheese toastie and Starbucks Italian Roast and enjoy the flight (read writing project) – while their Gloucestershire copywriter does what he does best from the ‘flight deck’…

Trust your copywriter. By all means ask questions, but be ready to be surprised because business writing is often rather different to the writing we were taught back at school…

And like the ‘barking dog’ on the A320, it’s nothing to be afraid of at all and merely shows that everything is happening just as it should.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.