This is part of a series about the Ultimate Home Office (UHO).
The core of a home office, at least for someone at home on the Internet, is computers, and well, I told you I have gone overboard. My desk, if you squint, has multiple:
The center of my home office is a maxed-out 2017 5K iMac. I have been very satisfied with this purchase, at least until the last couple of months, when it seems like the fans have been spinning up more than previously. I suspect dust is the issue; it is so annoying that I am honestly tempted by the Mac Pro, but that seems foolhardy given the transition to ARM (also, the price). My plan is to stick with this computer indefinitely, but again, we will see how my recent purchase of compressed air works out.
To the left I also have a 2019 16″ MacBook Pro and a 2017 13″ MacBook Pro. I am not particularly happy with either of these computers:
- The 16″ MacBook Pro was supposed to be my U.S. computer; I normally spend summers back in Wisconsin, but obviously those plans have been disrupted this year. The net result is that I have a computer that is almost completely unused, and hated when it is used — the Touch Bar is that bad.
- The 13″ MacBook Pro was an emergency replacement for my 2015 MacBook Pro with a proper keyboard, which unfortunately met its demise when it fell out of my bag onto the pavement. This is the MacBook Escape version, which means it only has two USB-C ports, but also no Touch Bar, so it’s a wash. I actually use it more than the 16″ because it is far more portable.
I am also still using the original 13″ iPad Pro. My only use cases
are were watching basketball and baseball and making the illustrations for Stratechery; I would like one of the new Pros, for the industrial design if nothing else, but it is hard to justify the purchase (yes, I get how absurd this sounds given the rest of my setup).
I have two 24″ LG UltraFine 4K Displays attached to the iMac. I run these at an upsampled resolution that matches the 5K iMac, giving me three screens with the same effective resolution; the fact that these two monitors are closer to me overcomes the fact they are smaller, and the upsampling isn’t noticeable to my eyes (on the other hand, I originally tried to run the iMac with my old Thunderbolt Display, and couldn’t handle the juxtaposition of retina and non-retina).
I really like this setup — if anything, I wouldn’t mind having two more 24″ displays. I prefer having different applications in defined places, as opposed to managing multiple desktops or even overlapping windows. Currently, the monitor to my right has all of my messaging applications — Slack, Teams, iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Line, Messenger, and Zoom — and the monitor to my left has TweetDeck, notepad applications, and when I’m actually writing, spillover browser windows. The iMac, meanwhile, displays whatever I am actually actively focused on at the time (usually email, OneNote, or my text editor).
The iMac and one of the LG’s (the one with a hard drive attached to it) are plugged into a CyberPower UPS System; this only keeps the computer running for 10~15 minutes in a power outage, but that is more than enough time to shut it down safely, which is the point. I’ve only ever had the power cut out for a few seconds, though, and it held up admirably.
I am a devotee of the original Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard; Marco Arment has a great review here. I love how the keyboard actually slopes down away from you, and while I originally found the function-keys-as-buttons-instead-of-keys strange, I like that quirk: it makes accidental input impossible.
The primary downside of this keyboard is that it wears out after about a year, which requires planning ahead:
Note the date on that tweet — I dug into the stash exactly a year later, not because I spilled, but because the keys were getting mushy.
My primary pointing device is the Sculpt Mouse that comes with the Sculpt Keyboard. It fits my hand well, and I like how the scroll wheel works in both vertical and horizontal directions. And, as an added bonus, I don’t need to deal with either bluetooth latency or an additional RF dongle.
I also have a Magic Trackpad, primarily for editing podcasts; nothing beats pinch-to-zoom in an audio editor; I also use it if my mousing wrist is ever bothering me, but that is pretty rare.
Table of Contents
- 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