Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Most coders have sleep problems, need 'hygiene and care'
'Special needs', 'poor mental health' in engineer survey
A study conducted among software engineers indicates that a high proportion of coders suffer from "severe insomnia" and that a majority have sleep problems of some sort, putting their mental health and "hygiene" at risk.
According to the study authors, the primary reason for the sleeplessness of software engineers is that "job-related stress is considered extremely high". It was concluded that coders "need special attention since they are prone to develop sleep disturbances".
The study was carried out by Sara Sarrafi Zadeh and Khyrunnisa Begum of the Department of Studies in Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Mysore. The test subjects were 91 software engineers working at a Mysore-based development firm.
According to Zadeh and Begum, no fewer than 20.9 per cent of the hapless engineers had "severe" insomnia and a further 35.2 per cent had the problem to a "mild" degree. Less than half the coders were sleeping normally, as compared to 77 per cent of the general population.
According to an accompanying statement, "mental and physical health ... were significantly lower in subjects with insomnia than in other participants. The association between insomnia and poor quality of life was particularly strong for mental health".
Zadeh and Begun conclude:
"Lifestyle management programmes which include sleep hygiene and care should be incorporated as a policy matter in the IT industry."
Their paper Association Between Insomnia and Quality of Life: An Exploratory Study Among Software Engineers is published in the journal Applied Research In Quality of Life. It can be viewed (by subscribers) here. ®
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The companies believe virtualization can provide separation between work and personal applications and data, solving many of the smartphone management problems caused by end users who want to connect personal phones to work systems.
The technology will work much like a server or desktop hypervisor. A user’s personal email and applications would run natively on the Android phone, while a guest operating system contains the employee’s work environment. The devices would also have two phone numbers.
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“The end user computing model is changing dramatically. There are a lot more devices coming into the enterprise,” says Srinivas Krishnamurti, senior director of mobile technology for VMware. “When we talk to CIOs, they say the diversity is quite problematic and it’s hard to figure out how to best support employees. A lot of enterprises want to support employee-owned phones, but are concerned about security and manageability of corporate content.”
This week’s announcement specifically relates to a partnership with LG to get virtualization-enabled Android smartphones on the market sometime in 2011. VMware’s announcement discusses only smartphones, but tablets based on Android would presumably be eligible for the virtualization technology as well.
In terms of whether iPhones and BlackBerries will get the same treatment, VMware says it wants the hypervisor on as many mobile operating systems as possible. But the open source nature of Google’s Android helped make it the first choice.
Krishnamurti notes that “We talk to OEM partners and there’s a tremendous amount of interest in the [Google] Android platform. It’s open. That’s the one we’re focusing on first.”
Users who buy virtualization-enabled phones may not even notice the hypervisor. “It’s just another app,” Krishnamurti says.
But another subset of users, who want access to work applications on personal devices, may see the embedded virtualization as a selling point. From a practical standpoint, the user would switch between personal and work environments simply by tapping an icon.
The home and work spaces would each have its own set of applications. However, phone calls and reminders for either the work or personal profile would come through at any time. Allowing both phone numbers to work seamlessly, including letting users put a personal call on hold to answer a work call, was one of the thorniest technical challenges, company officials say.
From an IT management perspective, VMware will sell management tools as well as provide a software development kit that lets existing management platforms connect to the VMware system. One potential management benefit of a virtualized phone is that IT could encrypt the work data or perform remote wipes without affecting a user’s personal stuff.