A few years and five blogging systems ago I wrote a post showing off my home office setup. I've actually seen some interest in it even though it is far from unique so I figured that the same people would be interested in seeing what my work is like as it has more shiny gear to look at.
This is what it looks like:
It is definitely not clean enough to fit in on the more modern "setup" or "minimal" photo galleries, and while I would love to have a desk that looks like that, to the point where I can spend hours looking through the beatuiful photos, it has not really been practical due to my personal nature and the way I work.
With that note out of the way let's do the traditional run through of the stuff, starting with the desk itself. It is a sit/stand desk, I have no idea of model or even who made it but it is pretty sturdy and has been reliable for as long as I have used it.
I actually stand more than I sit now which is why I felt it more appropriate to show it raised, even if it exposes more of my horrible cable management.
On the right you see the same MacBook Pro as in my home office photo, it is not there every day though, so what occupies the stand there varies a bit from day to day.
The main workhorse is actually behind the right monitor. It's a "trash can" Mac Pro which is still so fast it is crazy. In the photo you can make it out behind the monitor stand and the Nuiteq mug with Yoshi in it.
Speaking of monitors, those are 2xDell UltraSharp monitors. Compared to 4k and 5k monitors they are nothing special, but I think they are comparable to Apple's 27" displays and they are matte so they don't blind me if I get a bit of sun in my office.
The menus on them are atrocious so you don't want to touch those and they don't like to be plugged in and out a lot so I would mostly recommend them for stationary setups.
Even with those drawbacks they are brilliant and they are about half the cost of Apple Thunderbolt displays.
Now, looking behind the left monitor you'll see a Mac Mini. It is a few years old and serves as the build machine for Snowflake for OS X. Basically it is the machine that stays back on an older version of OS X and that has all the packaging set up so I can reliably build new installers without having to spend a lot of time making sure updates don't break stuff.
I have meant to look into setting up a virtual machine to do this instead, but that old Mini has just been so solid I haven't really found the time to or really felt the urge to do so being that strong.
Since I just keep skipping around in random order on top of the left monitor you'll see a Logitech C920. One of the best webcams hands down. If you ever see any video of me from my office it is most likely shot on that webcam.
On top of the right monitor is a Star Wars bounty hunter miniature, just because I can.
Now we get to the stuff in front of the monitors, starting with that way out on the left you see my testing iPad. It's a 4th gen iPad at the base configuration. When I do iOS development that is my test device along with my own devices that I own.
Next to that is a roll of clear tape, surprisingly useful to keep nearby to work out more things than you would think.
Next to it is a cup with an old company logo on it with the name Harry on it. It is obviously not my name but it still functions as a container for liquid, most often water.
Next to that is a box of business cards turned sideways and some cards with NFC tags in them I've used for testing NFC stuff. They are basic enough that they are really easy to use as dummy tags and they are free as they are given to visitors at a museum.
To the right of that is my trusty Nokia N800. Sadly the charger is nowhere to be found so it is permanently out of power and more serves as decoration than as something actually functional.
In front of that is a bit of an unusual thing, a Tobii Rex/eyeX eye tracker. While I don't use it a lot it is a quite interesting piece of hardware and I have played around with the SDK for it to build some pretty fun stuff.
In front of that is a Lego X-Wing and its pilot.
Next is my Belkin iPhone dock, with no phone in it because I used the phone to take the photo, and behind that is a Lego Yavin 4.
Then to the right of that is a Lacie 1TB USB3 hard drive I use to fit stuff when space on my precious 256GB SSD fills up.
On top of that is an interesting bit of hardware, a CleverPad Android tablet. Overall it's a pretty average Android tablet in the "high end" segment, and for that tablet the lack of exotic hardware is what makes it a pleasure to use. Things just work as you expect on it with no surprises. It is just plain solid and reliable.
Next to that is the cup with the old company logo with my own name on it, which is home to my plush Yoshi.
Then just next to my laptop, in front is a snow speeder and the planet Hoth, with Kasuga "Osaka" Ayumu, Lonardo and an old fourth gen iPod Touch behind them. The iPod touch started life as a test device but by now it is too old to run newer versions of iOS so it mostly just sits there.
Now we get to the keyboard tray which is in front.
To the left is a pair of SteelSeries Siberia V2 Frost Blue. Just seeing those will make audiophiles recoil in horror as it is a gaming headset and not proper hi-fi headphones.
They have a few very notable features though which are why I use them, most importantly:
- I got them for free, the best feature ever.
- They are really light, so comfortable even after hours and hours
- Incredibly sturdy, I've dropped them on the floor so many times and there hasn't been any noticeable effect
- They have a built in mic which is retractable. It is not as good as the mics podcasters talk about but it is decent and tucks away really nicely.
- It is USB, which means it works on any mac with both mic and sound unlike headsets which use 2x3.5mm cables as a lot of macs don't have 3.5mm in.
- Hardware mute switch and volume control on the cable. Really convenient for conference calls.
- They don't leak too much sound from the inside out, and they don't leak too much sound from the outside in.
- Sound quality is not terrible. They have flaws but I have learned to live with them because of features 1-7. I've also found that it matters a lot less at work than at home as I rarely have time to focus on the details of what I'm listening to while working. So as long as it's not obviosly terrible it's fine.
Coming back to the tape as you'll see I have the place where you can separate the USB cable taped down on the desk so I don't accidentally unplug it and it keeps the cable from tangling.
Then is my Magic Trackpad, which I've come to use more and more as a way to make sure I vary my movements to make sure I don't make my RSI worse.
To the right of that is my keyboard. Up until a few weeks ago that spot was held by a Razer BlackWidow much like in my home setup, but due to some kind of short circuit or bad solder joint or something like that it started doing really weird things. Eventually to the point where it had to be replaced.
While I do like the original BlackWidow every generation after the first one have not been as good in my opinion. It seems that it is due to that Razer started making their own "Razer Green" switches instead of the Cherry MX Blue switches they had originally.
So, after some very minimal research I decided on the CM Storm QuickFire TK, the Cherry MX Blue version as MX Blues are my favourite Cherry switches.
It is a bit weird with it's very special numpad/arrow/home/end/delete etc combination keys, but overall it is a very nice keyboard. On OS X I can't activate the numpad without using a script, but I have found that it is fine as I don't really miss a numpad most of the time.
I really like the compact "tenkeyless" format, it really helps with keeping my mouse and my trackpad without having to make too big moves away from the keyboard.
The blue backlight is a bit over the top and I really wish it had a white backlight instead. Overall I would probably recommend trying out the QuickFire Rapid-i over the QuickFire TK, but the QuickFire TK is still a really nice keyboard if you don't care too much about aesthetics and you can learn to deal with the special numpad.
To the right of that is... my mousepad, a SteelSeries 4HD. It's hard plastic and more or less unbreakablle in my usage so far. It also doesn't require as much cleaning as the Icemat I use at home.
On top of that is my mouse, a QPad 5K. It is one of the nicest mice I've ever used. It fits my rather large hands really well and I like how wide it is so it keeps all my fingers off of the surface under it.
I also have some gel wrist rest on my mousepad, it was from some suply store. I use it a bit on and off. Sometimes it feels like it helps and sometimes it doesn't. Hard to tell how much is real and how much is placebo.
That is it for what is in the shot except that I have some small network switches on the back of the desk to deal with the wiring for three permanent computers and some occasional "guest computers", but they are just average cheap network switches so not really that interesting to talk about.
Also outside of the pictures is a desk on the side I tend to use as place to put temporary stuff, some pens, paper and a few books.
Partially outside of the frame in the top right is also one of my favourite things in my office. A photo of my now five-year-old son smiling. Something to give me energy when deadlines are tight and I'm feeling exhausted.
Then that is it, my work setup, in way more detail than anyone ever asked for. If you've read this far I hope it's been interesting and that it makes you feel better about your own messy desk and that whatever works for you is always good.