Butt is comfy, eyes have gone blind

I’ve been having chronic back pain lately, so I indulged myself in a shiny new office chair with good lumbar support. It took me a while to assemble it, but hoo boy, it is comfy, exactly what I need.

The one catch: the instructions come in tiny red print on a black background, which is totally nuts. My eyes hurt now, although, admittedly, my backside is nice and cushy.


  1. ANB says

    We are about the same age, and in education (too much sitting and too much work). I suppose I’m lucky health-wise in many ways, but I also am fairly active.

    My point, exercise, weight lifting (light dumbbells), core strengthening (30 second planks?) and basically no more than 15 minutes a day of exercise will help. Stretching too.

    Not trying to sermonize, but to help you help yourself. (I know there are many reasons for these things, but usually it’s life-long sendentary lifestyle.)

  2. nomdeplume says

    There is a direct inverse correlation between my age and the size of the fine print on instructions, including instructions on medications…

  3. DanDare says

    I hate unreadable instructions. There is a set of instructions on a consumer product I buy with tiny white writing on a pale yellow background. How do such awful designs get implemented?

  4. Dunc says

    That’s just stupid. Are they actively trying to discriminate against colour-blind people? Yay, let’s pay more for colour printing so that a significant minority of our customers are disadvantaged!

  5. tacitus says

    For me, it’s the needlessly tiny cooking instructions on the side of cans and other packaging, and my eyesight is reasonably okay compared to many.

    Even worse are the specs printed on phone and computer chargers/power supplies. Impossible to read without a mobile phone — either for using the LED flashlight, or taking a photo and then magnifying the result.

    It seems too many manufacturers are way too afraid of hurting the aesthetics of their product with larger print. I’m surprised there aren’t more accessibility laws/standards to prevent this type of thing.

  6. nomdeplume says

    @9 Yes, it’s everywhere. And as PZ says, usually with some imposs9ble colour combination.

  7. wzrd1 says

    @ANB, just don’t forget range of motion exercises as well. Those have saved my bacon many times.

    @tacitus, I just use a magnifying glass and a trainload of profanity. My favorite, for chargers and similarly sized items is an old zoom element from a camcorder, the rest gets the regular magnifier that has a 10x lens just below the main lens.
    Although, I really do need to get my left eye’s lens replaced, the cataract has matured enough to make vision troublesome at times. Hopefully, with a lens like the one in my right eye. It’s uncoated, so I can actually see slightly in UV (looks like an odd lilac shade about as wide in a rainbow as the red – yellow bands).
    From one biologist I spoke with, he theorizes that it’s a downconversion by some proteins in my eye.
    The downside is, walk someplace that wants to be cool and run black lights, everything’s a violet haze within 2 meters from the lamp and it’s uncomfortably bright.

    @PZ, the image didn’t make the trip, but the URL to Amazon did. I considered the foot rest, but I usually end up putting my feet onto the base anyway. Can’t beat a good chair to work out of!

  8. ajbjasus says

    My pet hates are power switches which are hidden on various devices, and soft touch, so you never know if they are working. What’s wrong with things that go click?

    And modern taps, shower mixers etc where it seems uncool to mark which way is hot or cold!

  9. R. L. Foster says

    I have a gaming chair, too. The headrest comes in handy when I bang my head backwards in annoyance and frustration. The last 6 years have been hard on my occipital bone.

  10. ardipithecus says

    @9, 10

    Just another fine example of the self-corrective nature of a free market.

  11. rrutis1 says

    Dunc @8,
    I was going to something similar. It actually costs more to print red on black (or any of the horrible choices) so why do it? I also hate web pages and emails that have grey print on literally any background. No fan of tiny print either, I once assembled a shelf system that had something like 10 steps printed on a 2″x3″ fold out (so each step was smaller than 2×3)…even 30 year old eyes struggled with that!

  12. moarscienceplz says

    What really bugs me is the sell by/use by dates on food packages. The technology has morphed from printing it on the label to printing it directly on the packaging material, which is often clear glass or plastic. So when I want to buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, I am looking for a very tiny, black or light grey dot matrix alphanumeric sequence against a dark red background that could be ANYWHERE on the jar. Plus, it almost never lists the date as something obvious like “15 Aug 2023”. No, it usually incorporates the lot ID, the date of manufacture, and the expiration date in an almost indecipherable mishmash.

  13. blf says

    I have been pointing out for, literally, decades, now, the stupidity of the Increase font size button on software GUIs being in the same (or, occasionally(!), smaller) font size as the rest of the menu. For feck’s sake, if a person needs a larger font to use the GUI / software, how the fecking hell do you fecking stooopid GUI “designers” expect them to see (easily or even at all) the corrective option when it’s in the same fecking too small font size ?

    I’ve long insisted GUI “designers” (as a class) are, along with software “managers” (also as a class), the most fecking stupid people involved (more-or-less hands-on) in both the for-profit industry and the FLOSS (open source) movement. (The above example is not the only reason.)