The Ultimate Home Office (UHO)

I started working from home in 2013, and furnished my office with a $5,000 stipend from Automattic. I bought a standing desk, chair, light, and Thunderbolt Display, along with the various bits and pieces necessary to make everything work together. Over the intervening years I have slowly augmented and/or replaced the pieces of that setup, until today, only the desk remains.

That augmentation has taken a big leap forward over the last couple of months, thanks to the coronavirus crisis. First, I joined a large conference call with a lot of folks I didn’t know, and I was pretty embarrassed at how terrible I looked on my iMac’s built-in camera: it was both low quality and, given how far away the iMac sat on my desk, far too zoomed out. Second, I was asked to speak at Kellogg, and was pretty frustrated at the iPhone-camera based setup I jury-rigged: yes, it was better than the iMac camera, but it wasn’t at-all easy-to-use, particularly on short notice.

This led to a project to dramatically upgrade my video setup, and frankly, I went overboard. It was fun, though, and my rationalization is that, thanks to the coronavirus crisis, I’m spending a lot less on travel than I might have otherwise, so might as well spend on my home office. That doesn’t completely explain all of the gear I bought that went beyond video, but hey, this is what I do for a living — everything is expensible!

To that end, over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the equipment that goes into the ultimate home office. Again, my setup is overkill, and was accumulated over years, which is another way of saying that I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on my office, and I’m somewhat sheepish about it, but again, this is what I do for a living, and if you want any ideas on how to make your setup better, this series of articles is for you.

Here is a preliminary table of contents; I’ll make these into links as I fill out the series:

  • Introduction: The Ultimate Home Office
  • Computing Setup: computers, power supply, monitors, keyboard, mouse/trackpad
  • Audio Setup: recording mic, preamp, shotgun mic, headphone amp, headphones
  • Video Setup: camera, lens, teleprompter, lights, green screen
  • Supporting Equipment: desk, light, chair, printer, mounts
  • Wiring: routers, switches, access points, chargers, cable management