8 Apps, Gadgets To Keep IT Pros Awake On The Job - InformationWeek

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12/4/2015
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David Wagner
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8 Apps, Gadgets To Keep IT Pros Awake On The Job

Working nights? Pulling long shifts? Stretched too thin during the holidays? Here's a list of apps and gadgets to make sure you don't fall asleep on the job.
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(Image: amenclinicsphotos ac via Flickr)

(Image: amenclinicsphotos ac via Flickr)

Most people think datacenters run on electricity, but, personally, I've found they run on caffeine. Servers and work stations really should dispense coffee, soda, and energy drinks right out of their sides. This is especially an issue during the holidays when vacations leave every IT department short-staffed. IT pros could find themselves doing longer shifts than normal or even covering the night shift for the first time in a long time.

To help you stay awake during those long shifts, I've pulled together a list of gadgets, apps, and products to help you stay alert through the days when you wish you were settling in for a long winter's nap.

[See 7 Data Center Disasters You'll Never See Coming.]

I can't personally endorse one over the other, but each offers a different strategy for keeping you awake, from relying on alarms and sensors to biofeedback. Depending on your role, not all of them will work for you because some could be distracting or too noisy to your fellow workers. But I've listed a lot of options. One might be perfect for you.

Of course, nothing can replace getting the right amount of sleep before clocking in. But when holidays or emergencies make that impossible, technology can bail you out. Take a look at the list to see if one of these choices is right for your needs, and then head over to the comments to tell us how you stay awake when you get stuck with the wrong shift.

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
12/21/2015 | 9:36:50 AM
Poor Management
I understand that sometimes you need to bite the bullet and work late or go in during odd hours, but if you need to invest in a gadget to keep you awake, the company needs to seriously reconsider whats going on. Pulling long hours doesn't make for good results. Do you really want to run code from someone that's been up for 25 hours and shaky from caffiene and only awake due to the alarms going off in his earpiece? Everybody knows that's unlikely to be a good piece of code. It might work, but it would be so much more effiecient and elegant if the programmer had time to sleep and go home to spend time with family. If having to do something like that has become the norm, it's bad management practices in hiring or scheduling.
BelBrown
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BelBrown,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2015 | 4:32:37 PM
ISS
I agree more naps would be great but often not realistic. I've just looked through their site and looks like these glasses have been used by NASA controllers working on the International Space Station. If it's good enough for them?!
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
12/10/2015 | 1:02:42 PM
Perhaps...
...supervisors should insist that their people actually go home and go to bed; maybe even spend some time with their families.  Sleep deprived employees aren't doing anyone any favors; not even their employers.  Long nights are part of the culture for programmers and system administrators; they are even taken as signs of industry and commitment, but they can be and frequently are overdone; and the Law of Diminishing Returns works here just as well as it does everywhere else.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:54:28 AM
A bug in the ear
I would take the ear bugs over other methods. I suspect you might get a jolt for looking down to read without thinking of the attachments on your ears.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/8/2015 | 10:21:08 PM
Re: How about take a short break?
You took the idea out off my keyboard. I believe no app or gadget beats a good 20 minutes micro-nap.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
12/7/2015 | 10:12:22 AM
toothpaste
I like the toothpaste idea. It's the only multi-tasking idea on the list--you get fresh breath and caffeine. Fresh breath is a nice benefit for someone who's been sleeping on the floor or a couch.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
12/7/2015 | 10:09:56 AM
Re: How about take a short break?
Li Tan,

That's a good idea, but how many companies have nap areas for IT? When Google started they had a nap room but it changed to an illicit actions room.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
12/6/2015 | 12:45:10 AM
Re: How about take a short break?
@Li Tan, good point as we do need to have a break from technology... during our free time :)
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2015 | 11:53:04 PM
How about take a short break?
These Apps are fancy but I would still avoid using them. If there is long work shift, I would prefer to have a rest from time to time and eat light snacks. The industry is fierece and we must take care of our own well-being.
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