December 8, 2013

My setup: Hardware

Posted in Behaviour at 00:46 by graham

Here’s my current setup, and the hardware I got, in case you were curious. And because I know I’ll be curious in a few years.

  • Aeron chair: Are the any other type of office chairs? I don’t think so. At least there shouldn’t be. You can usually get one cheap from a failing startup in your area.

  • INGO Ikea sitting desk: A plenty big enough desk, of solid wood, and cheap. It’s marketed as a kitchen table. I’ve owned three of these so far.

  • BJORKUDDEN Ikea standing desk: A little bit too short for me, so I have some phone books on top. Getting a standing desk the right height is tricky, because your legs don’t adjust, unlike a chair, so it has to be perfect. This as close as I could find without spending a fortune. I stand about 50% of the time when I’m programming, but not 50% of the day. Some days I mostly stand, others I mostly sit. Standing after lunch helps a lot in overcoming the post-lunch coma. The Bjorkudden is marketed as a bar table.

Hardware

My main work machine is a desktop PC with dual screen in mirrored mode: one screen for sitting and one for standing. I switch off the screen on the desk I’m not using.

The screens are ASUS 23” displays, 1920×1080. Fits two 80 line files side by side, so that’s just right for me.

The PC itself has these specs, posted here more as a historical record – the only part that really matters is using an SSD instead of a spinning disk:

  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4
  • 4 Gig RAM
  • 128 Gig SSD (Crucial Real). You don’t need as much disk space as you thought.
  • 500 Gig spining disk. Because I didn’t realise I didn’t need a lot of disk space. Mostly empty. Some backups.
  • Nvidia GeFore GTX 460: My criteria for a video card are: Does it work with Linux? Even with dual screens? Sold!
  • Wi-Fi adapter: I was going to run Ethernet through the attic, because Ethernet is better than Wi-Fi, but then I just got a better router. I’m not very latency sensitive.

Plugged in to this are Harman Kardon speakers (excellent audio quality), Logitech Clear Chat Comfort headset (essential for remote work, where you need good quality audio calls), and a Logitech HD 1080p webcam (how it attaches to the monitor, and lens block, are more important than quality – none on your teamm really wants to see your face in HD).

My keyboard is a Kinesis Advantage keyboard, which I love, and detail in a previous blog post. Mouse is a Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical.

On my desk is usually a notepad (paper) and pen. I use antirez’s technique, which basically means I write down what I need to do later, so that I don’t interrupt my flow now.

When I’m not at my desks I use a Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop. I use it from co-working spaces, coffee shops, when travelling, and for working from the sofa.

In my living room are:

  • ASUS Black Diamond router. The best router in the world, as far as I know. It saved me from punching holes in my attic and running Ethernet across the house. It will be even better once I get Tomato on there. Thanks Michael Trythall for the recommendation.

  • Synology DS212 Network Attached Storage, with dual 1TB (RAID) disk. “Network Attached Storage” doesn’t even begin to do this thing justice. In theory it’s the household cloud. In practice it’s where I put backups, some shared media, and it controls the printer (so any device can print). It’s a fantastic device, but very underused.

On the sofa is a Nexus 7 tablet running Cyanogen Mod. I think many of us recently realised how much they can do on a tablet, and how rarely we need a computer. I use this for email, reading RSS feeds and bookmarked posts, and playing Grand Theft Auto.

Lying around the office is various exercise equipment (a pull-up bar and a balance board are the most fun), who’s main purpose is to gather dust and make me feel guilty. Occasionally I will use some of it while the tests run.

3 Comments »

  1. JK said,

    December 12, 2013 at 03:05

    Yeah, I should replace my chair for sure. Not sure I need the standing work place as I get up quite regularly anyway. I’m probably up at least once an hour.

  2. graham said,

    December 11, 2013 at 18:20

    @JK: The chair is the most important, definitely. After that, being able to sit or stand is a huge benefit, so the dual desks and dual mirrored monitors would be next most important.

  3. JK said,

    December 11, 2013 at 13:34

    Reading this has given me workplace envy. I think I need a few upgrades, a router and chair at least.

    I wonder which one part of your setup you would call the most essential?

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