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December 22, 2005

bookofjoe treadmill desk: Version 1.0 is up and running


Well, gang, I've been all hat and no cattle about this for so long I thought the whole thing might be a hallucination — except for the fact that the clamp–on sliding keyboard tray (below)


I ordered about two months ago has been lying on the floor in full view of my wandering eyes whenever they stray from my newspapers as I'm reading.

The problem is that the device comes unassembled and I absolutely dread putting stuff like this together: I'm horrible at it.

You know, it's the usual little plastic bag full of nuts and bolts and washers and a bunch of crazily–shaped metal pieces that don't seem related.


I'm the kind of person who'd be tempted, after taking something like a car or airplane engine apart, then fixing whatever's broken and reassembling it, only to find that there are a couple pieces — screws, bolts, whatever — still lying on the ground, to say, if the engine started right up and sounded OK, that the parts probably weren't that important anyhow.

I mean, the thing runs, right?

The fact is that design is the result of accruing, incremental evolution: each new addition builds on the others.


Leave something out and you know that, sooner or later, you — or someone — will pay.

Anyway, somehow all the planets must be aligned just right 'cause this morning I sat down and put the thing together.

I did it wrong three times before I finally got it right.



Now, you might say that my treadmill work station isn't quite ready for prime time but hey, let's not be haters.

I set the treadmill for 0.7 mph, the speed recommended by the treadmill desk guru himself, Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, who invented and popularized the concept.


A Bluetooth keyboard works best because the fewer cords the better.

I'm trying out the laptop right on top of the treadmill's control panel shelf, just to see how that works.


To get the ideal angle I use a doorstop under the bottom of the computer; it serves a second function as well, namely, it prevents the laptop from falling down between the treadmill and all those boxes and crashing to the floor.

So far I'm limiting myself to housekeeping chores on the computer: checking my statistics, making sure my posts are going up, reading and sending email.

Once I get more accustomed to working there I'll start creating bookofjoe from this new location.

I wonder if the tenor of the blog will change.


We'll see.

Anyway, the point is not that Version 1.0 is rough, it's that it even exists.


I am so stoked.


The official bookofjoe Version 1.0 treadmill desk™ keyboard tray costs $24.98 here.


That's my 15" Powerbook G4 you see in the photos above; in those that follow it's up on a Griffin iCurve.

Oh, yeah, one thing: don't believe the blurb at the bottom of the picture (second from the top) of the assembled keyboard tray — you're going to want a small Phillips screwdriver if you want the thing to remain functional for longer than a day or too.


You see, the text in the photo reads, "Attaches without tools or screws!", which is true enough: to the desk or treadmill shelf, is what this exclamatory sentence means.

The unassembled keyboard tray has twelve (12; one dozen) Phillips screws and an equal number of nuts; to fasten them securely in the tiny spaces you'll be working in you will need a Phillips screwdriver.


Trust me on this: I may not be the Wright Brothers incarnate but I do know a hawk from a handsaw.

Where'd that come from?

As I survey the chaos of stuff scattered all over my living room and around my treadmill it occurs to me that the real next step is a robot desk, sort of like the robodocs (below)


now infiltrating hospitals.

When I'm ready to work I'll say, "Hey, desk, let's go," and the RoboDesk™ will scurry out from whatever corner it spends its down hours in recharging and get into position at the head of my treadmill,


ready to deploy its computer, music player, TV, phone, brain neural socket implant connector and God knows what else might be around by then.

But in the meantime my crack research team and I are hard at work on Version 2.0.


Stay tuned.

December 22, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Do you think this would be possible with a self powered treadmill. Better for the earth and better for your coworkers. Plus these would be cheaper.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 23, 2008 5:42:34 PM

I saw an article about your workstation last year (2007) in US News and World Report. I thought I would give it a try, too. I found some materials around the house that let me build a desktop and, presto, I now have a walking workstation. I LOVE IT! I don't work from home every day, but when I do, I usually put at least six hours on it--much better than sitting in a chair all day. I would be on it now, except that it is -5 degrees outside and I'm too cold to get out from under this blanket.

Posted by: Derek Curtis | Jan 20, 2008 7:22:54 AM

What is the best tread mill for the stand up computer? I would think one could use a very small one because one is only walking. Any advice. My daughter in law does not want a big tread mill in her living room. Alice

Posted by: alice whaley | Jul 4, 2006 4:04:16 PM

I am seriously considering setting up a similar system for myself. Have you found that you do typing tasks as well or mostly just reading-based tasks? Does the motion make you dizzy while you read?

Much Thanks,

Posted by: Ben | Mar 8, 2006 8:52:36 PM

I saw this link on Luxist and thought of your treadmill setup. This wall mounted desktop looks like it may serve you better and with more visual / asthetic appeal...


Check it out. I am working on my own treadmill solution.


Posted by: Ed Mahusay | Jan 28, 2006 12:53:31 AM

Wonderful! I'm curious as to what kind of treadmill you have?

Posted by: Corrie | Jan 11, 2006 1:01:15 PM

This is totally fantastic (and i like the art work). What mouse do you use?

warmest regards and thank you

Posted by: jim levine | Dec 25, 2005 10:17:53 AM

Joe, meet Valerie. She's a domestic android and may just be the answer to your robot dreams: http://www.gizmag.com/go/2545/

"Valerie is a domestic android. Valerie will clean your house, change light bulbs, wash the dishes, do the laundry, check the sports scores for you, book plane tickets and call the police if there's an emergency. She speaks English but more importantly, understands English and hence be programmed by non-programmers. Valerie will be on sale by Christmas 2004 for US$59,000 with a two year warranty."

How many women, android or no, come with a two-year warranty? And heaven knows in the beginning stages of v1.0 treadmill desk, there's bound to be an emergency sooner or later!

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Dec 22, 2005 12:29:51 PM

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