What’s On My Desk?

In July of 2011 I shamelessly followed Jeff Blankenburg’s lead in writing What’s In Your Laptop Bag?  Today I do it again. On May 30, Jeff wrote a post What’s On Your Desk?

That seemed like such a great idea, that I present to you, What’s on my desk?

Desk

Last year I reset my home office for one person, as my wife was using the desk we built in the kitchen.  This gave me a lot more room to spread out and to discover, again, what I knew: my mess will fill any allotted space. 

LenovoI currently have three computers on my desktop (though I’m embarrassed to say that there are some 11 computers in active use in the house!)*

My primary development computer is now a Lenovo ThinkStation with twin 256 Gig SSD drives, 16 GB of RAM and four USB 3 ports.  I just set it up, but so far it seems great. 

 

 

AcerThe Lenovo powers two 23” monitors.   One is a simple Dell monitor that I picked up at Staples for a couple hundred bucks, the other is an Acer LED Touch monitor that I think I love.

The Acer is crisp, bright and the touch works magnificently.  My only gripe is that there is no easy way to change the viewing angle. 

 

YogaThe second computer on my desk is my Lenovo Yoga; my machine of choice for presentations.  This beauty came with a 256 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM and for a while it was both my presentation machine and my desktop (by way of a Lenovo port replicator).  Now it just serves as my presentation machine and backup.

The Yoga and the desktop are running Windows 8.

The third computer on my desk is a Mac Pro with twin terabyte drives and twin SSDs, quad core 8GB of RAM,  powering (at the moment) just one 25” Cinema display.  I used to work on this machine all the time (and for a while it was my Windows desktop as well) but now it is in quiet retirement as a music server, and I’ll probably sell it soon if I can find a buyer.

Also on my desk is a whole lot of power strips and wires that I really need to organize.

The main computer uses a Logitech Wave keyboard which I like a lot and the Microsoft wireless Arc mouse which I love (and which I have half a dozen packed away in various bags, boxes and drawers). 

WaveArcMouse

 

ArcTouch

The Mac uses a second Logitech Wave keyboard and a Microsoft touch arc.  I’m ambivalent about the touch arc.

On the one hand, it is a marvel of engineering; on the other it just isn’t as naturally comfortable as the original arc.

Interesting fact(oid): the arc was designed by a summer intern at Microsoft.  I hope that story is true and I hope she got a job at Microsoft as a result.  Great mouse.

 

RodeAlso on my desk is my Rode Podcaster Microphone, mounted in its own shock mount on a Heil boom that attaches to the desk. This is the ideal combination for both podcasting and for creating Pluralsight courses and other videos

I have tried (and own) the Samsung C01U and the Yeti, and both are great, but the Podcaster blows them out of the water for sound quality, tightness of the cardioid pickup and general terrificness.

Hiding away in a corner is the little Neat scanner that I use for expenses.  I’d like to use it for lots of other stuff, but I don’t find the software to be all that friendly unless you want to track expenses in their application.  I’m ambivalent about getting better with the Neat scanner or buying another.

PrinterNext to my main desk is the printer desk, where sits a Canon ImageClass D1150.  This is a multi-function printer which I use for printing and scanning and it has been a terrific workhorse; virtually never jamming and printing fast and beautifully.

It is a good, not great scanner, as it gets confused pretty easily and the feeder does seem to jam more than I’d like.

I don’t use it for copying as another table houses our old dedicated Canon copier which still works just great.

Finally, I have a color printer that I really need to hook up to the network, but which for the moment is something of a paperweight.

Illumination is provided by the huge windows and a halogen desk lamp as well as a Northern Light 10,000 Lux light in the winter. 

One of my side desks houses my tablets.  I have a Samsung Galaxy that I periodically set up and tear down and a few older Ultrabooks that I set up and tear down from time to time.  (I had an iPad in this collection, but I left it in a hotel and they claim they can’t find it.  Argh.)  It is important to have a number of different Windows 8 devices for testing and I’m still trying to figure out which computer to move into the kitchen so that I don’t have to run upstairs every time I need to do something on the computer.  

I also keep my phones on the desk, usually plugged in and charging.  At the moment these include an old iPhone4 that I’m barely using and a Nokia 920 Windows Phone that I live on.

teawarmerOh, and my tea-warmer!  This handy device sits under my latest cup of tea and keeps it nice and hot… unless I forget the cup over night and then it becomes a science experiment.

Finally, one desk is dedicated to my 75 gallon fish tank, which is a critical office accessory that brings me peace and calm when needed, and which I have to remember to shut off when I’m recording videos as the filter makes too much noise.  (Actually, the hard part is remembering to turn it back on, after I’m done recording).

Behind the fish tank and against the opposite wall are two massive heaving bookshelves, laden with whatever I happened to be teaching myself lately.  The shelf space is strictly limited, so every six months or so I purge the old books that are no longer relevant. My Amazon bill is something to behold.

Aside from the above, scattered about the room are a dedicated fax machine (used only for outgoing faxes), an industrial strength stapler, and miscellaneous office products (paper, envelopes, pencils, you know the drill). 

I’ve saved the best for last.  Some 17 years ago I invested in a chair from Relax the Back.  This was the single best investment I made in the office, as this chair has kept me out of the hospital on more than one occasion.  Their chairs are unmistakably expensive, but worth every penny.  Do not skimp on your chair, you sit in it for 50 hours a week; you spend more time with it than you do with your spouse. 

————————

* This number was recomputed and it floored me:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Mac
  • Mac Laptop
  • Kid 1 Mac laptop
  • Kid 2 Mac laptop
  • Wife laptop
  • Kitchen laptop
  • Spare laptop
  • Surface
  • Slate

Yow.

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About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty is a Master Consultant for Falafel Software, and has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects. He is the author of 2 dozen books and multiple Pluralsight courses, and has been a Technical Evangelist for Telerik and for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS.
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