Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 2010-06-05

Installation & Deinstallation

Uninstallation fails because the program is still running. How do I proceed?

You simply cannot uninstall Workrave while the program is running. So, first quit the program by right clicking the little status window (or sheep icon in the system tray) to open the menu. Select "Quit", and then run the uninstaller.

Is Workrave compatible with Citrix or Windows Terminal Server?

Testing Workrave on any of these systems is not part of our development cycle. However, we have not received any complaints nor are there any open bug reports indicating that Workrave would not be compatible.

Breaks

What are good values for the micropause, restbreak and daily limit timers?

The main problem here is that the settings that are required are different from person to person.

For example, I use workrave with a 25 second micropause every two and a half minute, and a 10 minute restbreak every 20 minutes. I need these frequent breaks, because I'm recovering from RSI. And as I recover, I change the settings to fewer breaks.

If you have never had any problem at all (using the computer, that is), then you may want much fewer breaks, say 10 seconds micropause every 10 minutes, and a 5 minute restbreak every hour.

It is very hard to give proper guidelines here. My best advice is to play around and see what works for you. Which settings "feel right". Basically, that's how Workrave's defaults evolve.

Could you implement support for reading the screen during a break?

We often receive requests from users that would like to keep on reading the screen during a micropause. Think of implementing support for transparent micropause windows, or making the micropause window position configurable.

No. Really, you should not be reading the screen during a micropause. Adding support for the requested feature defeats the purpose of Workrave. Relax your eyes, and stare past the monitor during a micropause.

Even if you are not suffering from eyestrain, please keep in mind that staying put in the same position while reading the screen is not good for your wrists as well. By staying in the same position you restrict the bloodflow to your arms, which increases their tension recovery time.

Has anyone done any physiological studies to determine good break lengths?

Computer terminal work and the benefits of microbreaks
McLean, L.; Tingley, M.; Scott, R.N.; Rickards, J. Applied Ergonomics 32 (2001): 225-237
Computer mouse use and cumulative trauma disorders of the upper extremities
Fogleman, M.; Brogmus, G. Ergonomics 38(12): 2465-245.
Multiple nerve entrapment syndromes in office workers
Novak, C.B.; Mackinnon, S.E. Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews 14(1): 39-59.
Musculoskeletal disorders in operators of visual display terminals
Ong, C.-N. World Health Forum 15 (1994): 161-164.
Wrist and forearm postures and motions during typing
Serina, E.R.; Tal, R.; Rempel, D. Ergonomics 42(7):938-951.
Risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders among computer users
Tittiranonda, P.; Burastero, S.; Rempel, D. Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews 14(1): 17-37.

What is the difference between normal, quiet and suspended mode?

Normal
"Normal" mode is for normal usage. It will prompt you to break and, if so configured, force you to take the break.
Quiet
"Quiet" mode is pretty much like normal mode, in that it will still register your activity, and notice that you need to take a break, but it will not actually prompt you to take one, nor block you from using the computer. This is typically used when you want to show something on your computer to someone else. You are using the computer doing the explaining and the showing, but you do not want to be interrupted by breaks. Once you return to normal mode, Workrave will bother you with taking an "overdue" break, if necessary
Suspended
In "Suspended" mode, workrave no longer records your activity. This is typically used when someone else is using your computer for a brief time. In these cases, you may not want to quit workrave, and you also don't want the activity recorded, because it isn't yours, and hence you will not need to take any "overdue" breaks. When someone else is using the computer for a longer time, it is best to quit workrave altogether.

Miscellaneous

How do I change the Workrave language (locale) of Workrave?

Workrave takes over the language preferences from the operating system. It does not offer an additional language preference itself. On Windows, you can chance the locale in the control panel: "Regional and Language settings".

Is it possible to embed the status window into the Windows taskbar?

Yes, version 1.6.0 (and higher) supports this. Right-click on the taskbar, and activate "Workrave" from the list of toolbars.

Contributing

I would like to help translate Workrave, where do I start?

Workrave uses GNU gettext for dealing with translations. Translating Workrave boils down to providing a translated text for each and every English text used in Workrave. All of the texts to be translated are listed in one file (.po). For each text you need to provide the translation by inserting it in that very same .po file.

Translating can be a very tedious job. Luckily there is tooling available to help you. For example, for GNU/Linux, there is kbabel, gtranslator and many others. For Windows, there is poEdit. And for GNU/Emacs, there is the excellent M-x po-mode.

So first, you'll have to pick any of the above tools, depending on the platform you are working on. Install that tool first, and get acquainted with it. From that point on, you can start translating using the .po files over at: http://github.com/rcaelers/workrave/blob/master/po/

I really like your software, do you accept donations?

I am glad that you like our software. We appreciate any donations, however, we prefer donations on a meta-level. Meaning, instead of donating directly to us, free software authors, we feel it is a better idea to donate to a foundation that ensures that the conditions amongst which free software can flourish remain valid.

Therefore, I would like you to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation directly. Please visit: https://secure.eff.org/ -- you'll find paypal (a.o.) links there.