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Automattic Life

What’s on my desk? 2021 second edition!

It’s only been 4 months since I last did this, but so much has changed since it seemed appropriate to repeat the exercise.

I’ve been working from home now for over 4.5 years now and this is my most spartan set-up yet, but also my tidiest, in terms of cable management.

I commented last time how much of my items from 4 years previous were the same but that’s not the case now, except for my desk and chair. Why? For a start, my monitor needed changing – my LG 5K monitor has some video issues and, with the change of that, I needed a web cam (the previous one had it built-in). There was also a smaller built-in hub on the new monitor so I needed to find other solutions for that too.

Also, switching to an M1 Mac came with the unexpected problem that my Blue Yeti microphone stopped working, due to compatibility issues. It’s been a busy few months!

Here’s a comparison from just 4 months ago…

And here’s the new layout in full, widescreen detail…

And here’s the new breakdown of what you’re seeing…

  1. My LG UltraFine 31.5″ 4K monitor. There’s no stand, but a multi-direction arm that clamps to the edge of the desk, freeing up space. It has a 2-port USB-C hub and speakers.
  2. Attached to the underside side of the monitor (bottom, left), is a 4-port, aluminium USB-3 hub – it’s a quick and convenient way to plug in USB-A devices to my laptop.
  3. A Logitech StreamCam sits on top of the monitor, plugging into the rear it, via a USB-adapter (the StreamCam is USB-C, my monitor hub is not!).
  4. My MacBook Pro M1. There’s just one cable coming it, which is a powered USB-C connector that plugs into my monitor.
  5. Rain Design mStand for iPhone (and iPad). These are really good quality stands, and well padded too. Underneath I keep a supply of post-it notes as well as my AirPods.
  6. A simple, but effective, MUJI USB desk fan, for those occasional warm British days. For its size it’s very good, and is a recommended purchase.
  7. Dymo label maker because, well, who doesn’t like labelling everything?
  8. An Apple HomePod. This has a great sound and I mainly use it for listening to music, connected directly to the Apple Music app on my laptop. All other sound is directed through the monitor speakers.
  9. An Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Microphone, paired with a boom arm, shock mount and pop filter.
  10. A Hydra mug coaster. Hand-made, in multi-layered perspex, I picked this up at a Comic Con.
  11. Rain Design mStand. I keep notebooks and pads of paper below it.
  12. ShuttleXpress video jog/shuttle. I like video editing but this can actually be configured to control any app, so it’s great for simple shortcut keys, etc.
  13. Apple Magic Keyboard. It has a really nice feel to the keys but after 4.5 years, it’s becoming a little worn!
  14. Apple Magic Trackpad 2. I prefer this over the mouse (yes, I do have one).
  15. Just behind the keyboard is a Stream Deck. Intended for streamers, it’s also got a life outside of that too. Everything from simple shortcuts to video editor controls, it’s worth the price along for the fact that you can exit a Zoom room with a single button press!
  16. My rather splendid sit/stand desk, with adjustable height controls. This is the DeskRite 300, but with the added extra of replacement, brushed steel, inserts. However, what’s under the desk is also of interest…
    1. Underneath, at the rear, is a metal cage/tray, which is used for tidying cables, as well as to store the monitor PSU.
    2. A 7-port, powered USB hub also sits inside the cage. This plugins to a USB-C port in the back of the monitor.
    3. Next to the cage, is an under-desk mounted 7-way power strip. This means that only a single cable goes from the desk to the floor, which on a desk that can be raised and lowered, is a God-send.
  17. Just under the front-left of my desk is a 3-port USB charger, complete with headphone/cable hangers on either side.
  18. My chair is the rather comfy Humanscale Diffrient World. All mesh and very simply built, I’d recommend it.

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