Monthly Archives: September 2011

Herman Miller Embody vs Herman Miller Aeron

Posted by mitch on September 29, 2011

A few months ago, I bought a Herman Miller Embody chair. I’ve had the chair for about 10 weeks now and sat in it for about 5 of those weeks.

Cosmetically, I love the Embody. I love the colors, the texture of the “Balance” fabric, the shape. Functionally, it’s easier to lean back in the Embody than the Aeron, the seat pan depth is adjustable (great if your legs (thighs) are long), and the arm width is adjustable in a way that is far superior to the Aeron. However, the back support of the Embody is just strange and I can’t seem to get used to it. The lower back area has no padded support–it’s like sitting up against a plastic booth at a fast food joint. I also haven’t been able to get the back support to fit the shape of my back very well.

My complaint about the Aeron is that the front of the seat pan rises up a little too much. This is a common complaint from many folks and my solution was to sit with my heels on the casters, thus bracing my body to the chair and elevating my thighs a bit more to relieve the pressure from the seat pan. I always felt a bit strange doing this, but the Aeron supports my back very well and made it worthwhile.

The big advantage the Aeron has over the Embody is the thermal coolness. The mesh of the Aeron is wider gauge than that of the Embody, so the Aeron breathes more. Literally, the Aeron is a very cool chair to sit in. The Embody Balance mesh is breathable like the Aeron, but the mesh is finer and doesn’t breathe as much. There were some days in August that I noticed the heat trapped in the chair.

The Embody doesn’t fit my body as well as the Aeron (or I don’t have it adjusted properly). I plan to keep using the Embody and see if I can get the back adjustment right, but if I can’t pull that off shortly, I’m going to sell it. I don’t regret buying the chair–there’s just no way to know if a chair will fit you without using it for a while. No amount of in-store demo or using it for just one week can reveal the longer term issues. Don’t read this post and be scared off from trying the Embody yourself–your body is probably different from mine. The Embody is a high quality piece of engineering, as is the Aeron.

Update 15-Nov-2011: I spent a few weeks not sitting in the Embody and switched back to the Aeron. Then I sat in the Embody for one day. The sad conclusion is that I am selling the Embody. I absolutely love the arm rests and the seat pan and the look of the Embody, but the Embody doesn’t fit my back properly. I plan to try the Steelcase Leap WorkLounge next… Don’t let this post discourage you from trying or buying the Embody, though. If it fits your body, you will absolutely love it. And who can say whether a chair fits without sitting in it for extended periods?

More pictures here.

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My Audi R8 “test drive” on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Posted by mitch on September 03, 2011

Recently a friend and I were in Las Vegas for VMworld 2011 and spent the Sunday prior to the show up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where we drove the 4.2L V8 Audi R8 through Las Vegas Exotics Racing. Both of us have had a fascination with this car for a while now. I did 10 laps in the R8 and he did 5.

Unlike a lot of cars of its caliber, the R8 was a comfortable fit for me. I am 6’2″ with a broad frame. The R8 is a little too tight for me to wear a helmet comfortably, but seat height, dash distance, seat width, and gauge visibility were all excellent for my body size. We were on a pretty technical track with 9 turns and the R8 handles it well. The racing instructors are pretty intense on helping the driver get more out of the car (“you can take this turn faster”). No surprise that the car handles well—the steering is very tight, braking and acceleration are wonderful, and the sound of the engine is excellent. This is the first car I’ve driven with a mid-mount engine so the weight balance difference was new to me. Certainly 10 laps isn’t enough to really comment on anything in detail.

I highly recommend the Las Vegas Exotics Racing guys. You really do get to drive the cars and it’s worth the price. I am planning to go back in a few weeks to drive the R8 again (SFO to LAS is a quick day trip). They also have a bunch of other high end cars—the R8 is at the bottom of their car line-up but it is the most interesting to me.

About to pull onto the track.

Yours truly at the wheel.

My buddy bringing the car back after his laps.

One of at least 3 Lamborghinis available.

Two of at least 4 Ferraris available.

More pictures here.

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