The hunchback has returned. The Daily Mail describes the spate of back problems caused by users hunching over laptops. "I also see many people in their twenties and thirties with a dowager's hump - a rounding at the base of the neck - after only a few years of looking down at a small screen while sitting slumped on a chair for long periods."
It's my honest opinion that anyone who intends to spend long hours at a computer should have, at the minimum a: 1) 20-inch flat screen to keep from going blind raised to the proper height; 2) quality trackball to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; 3) a good set of headphones or speakers to keep from going deaf; 4) swiveling high-backed chair to keep from going crooked; and fast hardware and an Internet connection, preferably ganged to a double-WAN router with a failover arrangement.
Not very many people with a laptop are going to have as good. Developers and sales personnel in especial are vulnerable because they often have to travel to onsite meetings in order to apprise their clients of changes or demonstrate features, unless they are developing for the web in which case they may not have to physically move from home base at all.
The problem is being driven by falling prices and the increasing availability of wireless technology, which makes portable computers more attractive. ... This makes it more likely they will be used incorrectly. A common problem is perching a laptop on the legs so users stare down at the screen and put strain on their necks, spines and legs. He said he had seen dozens of Xrays showing signs of degeneration in the joints of regular laptop users.
As the user of a Sony VAIO with an 11 inch screen as a road machine, I am at a loss to discover how such a device can be used "correctly" because it is a tiny device whose virtues -- small size and battery life -- are directly related to its vices. If its screen were large enough so that you didn't have to hunch down and squint, then it would have been too big to start with. A high-speed, big-display laptop would weigh so much and use so much juice it would, to all intents and purposes, simply be a desktop machine you can lug around.
These limitations will probably be overcome in the future but for the moment laptop users must be content to be like those old time Welsh coal miners who had to contort themselves into unnatural positions to pick away at the ore. Maybe one day they'll do a remake of How Green Was My Valley but set in California.