Working from home in 2020/2021 I've made myself gradually more and more comfortable in my office setup to the point it would be hard to find myself a more comfortable place to work from. Over the year it's changed a lot and while I'd usually do a "what's in my bag" post this time I'm doing a "what's on my desk" setup..
Update: Finally figured how to get Grammarly working on GhostCRM.
1) I do not get any kickback from Amazon on the links in the post, they are there as reference only.
2) There are spelling mistakes and the grammar is terrible, thats life, move past it.
3) You may not like my choices, thats fine, thats why they are called my choices and not your choices..
Without further ado, let's take a look at the kit..
Acer Chromebook 715 (i7)
The core of my setup is the Chromebook, I've written up here about my initial experience. above this however it's worth noting software wise it's fared well with just about everything thrown at it this year.. I've not yet found a task I can't work around as an OS which I've thought I wish I had a Windows PC or a Mac for...
My reasons for loving the Chromebook is a simple one, having spent many years using Linux as a Desktop. ChromeOS provides me with a nice stable, plug and play environment with the Linux tools available which I need. Also as a Longtime android user, I'm able to have the same ecosystem on my laptop as my phone right down to the same apps.
The more displays the better, while I use ChromeOS's Virtual Desktops a lot, there is no beating a multi-screen system with large displays.
I've not gone for 4K because I don't think it's worth it with my eyesight and also the increased processing power of 4K displays isn't something I need. Real estate however IS...
Samsung Ultrawide Monitor
Prior to having the ultrawide screen, there were two monitors on the Desk on a nice monitor stand. Having bought the screen refurbished it's been great to have the contiguous screen real estate.
As a side note, watching 32:10 content on ultrawidescreen is pretty cool as well
The screens really good, clear and it's got a good selection of connectivity including USB-C on the back which has allowed me to have this screen AND the next screen connected to the Chromebook.
I bought this originally just to watch content off my Nvidia Android TV Box or Chromecast in the office. I wasn't looking for anything special more just background noise and video however after I moved to the new Chromebook I was able to add this as a second screen to the Ultrawide screen.
Having the screen on the wall above the desk allows me to run homelab monitoring screens, music videos and other background content but also lean back and play stadia games on it.
Having got the screens working audio was next especially with video conf calls.
Getting good audio without background echo and capturing external noises too much is important when you're on conf calls for most of the day. We used these Jabra devices in a previous company and they are one of the best I've come across for audio quality.
Connectivity is done via USB or Bluetooth of which USB is better. I've found this works with everything (Teams, Zoom, Slack, Rocket Chat, Jitsimeet, Discord) and is software controlled.
As a desktop speaker it's not too bad either, it's not going to replace a nice bose mini speaker, but it's not the words at playing music.
These speakers I bought for the living room about 7 years ago, they are really powerful and have good connectivity on the back of them. Having replaced the Living room audio with a soundbar, I've repurposed these for the Office and connected them to the Chromebook.
Great for playing games and watching video on the large screen.
This little box is what allows me to have the LG speakers usable by the Chromebook. Connecting by Bluetooth (or a headphone cable) and using the RSA Connectors to the speakers. It's possible to run multiple devices through this box so I use the Android TV box using Bluetooth and the Chromebook hardwired.
Screen and audio complete, time to focus on input devices and they are both Jelly Comb a cheaper alternative to the Logitech kit and just as good/durable.
I'm a big fan of trackballs, they take less space than a mouse better for your wrist and freak people out who sit at the desk and try and use them. This one took a day or two to get the muscle memory working however once I got the fingers on the right buttons its worked great. I also like the scroll wheel...
I love a backlit keyboard, and the rainbow colours help with my typing style, I'm being serious they do... It's a nice keyboard with a good key feel, nice sound and works just as a keyboard should...
The Chromebook comes with a good set of ports including HDMI, USBC, USB3 however it's never going to be enough for a home setup so I've split the connectivity into two devices.
Primary USB Dock - CHOETECH USB C Docking Station
Another plug and go device on the Chromebook providing a good Travel Dock should I be on the move and a static doc in the office. This was mainly about the Ethernet port and the HDMI and VGA ports. Essentially providing me with a second HDMI Port for the external monitors or the VGA for a projector I have (longer term)
There is a good USBC Charging port on here as well
Secondary USB Dock -USB 3.0 Hub Powered RSHTECH
This is a stock powered USB3 Hub, where each USB port has its own independent on/off switch.
Then there is the rest of the setup...
When you're working from home a good Webcam is a wonderful thing. I've gone for a 720p device because I don't see the worth of trying to send 1080p/4k webcam data onto a Teams or Zoom call. Personal opinion is 720p is more than enough of me...
Raising the laptop gives it better airflow and makes the screen more usable. This stand is a solid piece of metal with no wobble which is at just the right angle.
This USBC power bank is able to charge the Chromebook and it would usually be in my bag, however, we have had a spate of power cuts recently and one lasted almost all day, the Chromebook battery gave me 8hrs of use, this got me through to the next day.
As a person not adverse to home working, Covid hasn't been a huge issue for me, the ability however to have a nice homework environment is not lost on me as part of that reason. However, I'd like to see it become the norm moving forward. We are only just learning how to do it right now and it will only get better as an experience if we let it...