In the spirit of Supercharge Your Workspace Week, we're all prying open our office doors and sharing our workspaces with you. Today you'll be visiting my home office and getting a peak at the gadgets and gear that run it.
This isn't the first time Lifehacker readers have gotten a peek into my office. A little over a year ago I completely revamped my office to save it from the mountain of clutter that was crushing it. You can read all about my extreme home office makeover here. Shortly after that I wrote up a guide to using rope lighting as a source of ambient light, and that was the last we saw of my office for some time.
While many things have stayed the same since the overhaul you saw last year, I've tweaked and modified a few things here and there and I have quite a list of things I'd like to experiment with on my to-do list.
My office is a long and narrow room at the back of my house. On the upside there is tons of sunshine, you never feel boxed in. On the downside it can get a bit warm in the room during the summer. If I ever get around to putting some plants in there, they'll be quite pleased with their new home—the addition of a few thriving and tropical looking plants is definitely on my list of office tweaks.
Since I last shared my office I scrounged up an additional LCD to match the 2nd one I added. I started off with a standard 17" LCD, added a flanking 15" LCD, and I loved it. Unfortunately if you've got one monitor dead center and one to the side you turn your head in one direction a lot. To balance things out I watched Craigslist for a matching LCD and threw it on the other side. If I were going to make any changes at all to this setup it would be to invest in three uniformly sized monitors and a single stand that I could mount to the wall or desk. The stands chew up a fair amount of space and although it doesn't bother me too much, it is a bit odd having the middle monitor be 2" bigger. If anyone has a suggestion for an articulating triple-monitor arms, I'd love to hear it.
In the old setup I had the computer hidden behind the file cabinet out of site. While visually pleasing it ended up to be entirely impractical. On top of all the dust that accumulated it was just a pain in the ass to crawl under the desk. When I upgraded my machine I left the case up top where I could access it more easily.
On the topic of upgrades, one area of my office that became significantly lighter was the wire metro-rack I was using for a charging station. A few months ago I built a media server which means the miscellaneous external hard drives and storage related clutter is gone from my office. It's nice to have the storage out of my main work machine and safely tucked away elsewhere in the house. This has the added bonus of me never having to interrupt my wife and daughter while they are watching a movie streamed over the network if I have to reboot while testing software.
Regarding software testing: The How-To Geek had encouraged me for a long, long, time to switch from XP to at least Vista 64-bit so I could take advantage of a larger memory pool and do more work in virtual machines. I dragged my feet but finally got around to installed Windows 7 64-bit. I could kick myself for not doing it sooner. As seen in the photo above, running off one quad-core system with 8GB of RAM, I'm rocking Windows 7, Windows XP, and Mac OS X (Tiger, but now that I have my hands on a Snow Leopard install, I'm working on setting up a Virtual Machine for that too). Even with both XP and Mac OS X in virtualization and each with 2GB of ram and one of the processors off the quad-core, all three operating systems are lightning fast.
Other changes to my workspace include ditching the dedicated tickler file on my desk. I've moved the tickler file folders to the front of one of the file cabinet drawers, although if I'm being honest I've just never gotten into using a physical tickler file so I might phase that out soon altogether. The inbox I had before was an extra deep wire basket with fairly big spacing between the bars. It was too big and the spacing allowed small things like flash drives to slide right out. I upgraded to a multi-tier four basket system from Rubbermaid. I like it much better and I have more spots to stash paper, 3x5 cards, and so on.
Around the time I upgraded my inbox, I upgraded my shredder. I was buying a $30-50 shredder every 1-2 years and eventually just destroying it. Finally I invested in a nice shredder from Royal—the SC180MX if you're curious—and I haven't had a single problem with it. Had I bought a shredder this nice five years ago, I'd have come out ahead.
The final significant addition to my office is a huge cat tree. It's nearly seven feet tall and the three shelter kittens my family adopted earlier this spring love it to death. Two of them are nearly always on it and the third—pictured above—spends most of the day on my lap.
In an effort to not make the tour of my workspace an encyclopedia of desktop baubles and a veritable change-log of my recent office upgrades, I'll wrap things up on the "Awww kitty!" note. You can click on the picture of the office above to get a closer look and if you have any specific questions throw them in a comment below. I'll answer all of them as best I can.
Don't forget to add your own workspace to the Lifehacker Workspace Show and Tell Pool on Flickr!