My Work Desk in 20232023-08-16
Diving deep into the realm of minimalist setups, today I take you on a journey through my carefully curated workspace. From a beastly desk to the audio delights, get ready for an owl-rated exploration of where I spend most of my waking hours.
I’m a big fan of minimalism and negative space, because I find that it helps me focus. I’ve tried to move to a dual display setup probably three or four times, and I always realize that it’s a bad idea, kind of like how you realize that you overate at the buffet only after the fact.
The desk itself, an IKEA Idåsen, is unbelievably solid and built like an absolute tank. Surprisingly, the tabletop is not made out of wood but “Particle and fibreboard with honeycomb paper filling, Ash veneer, Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer, Plastic edging”. I have no idea what that means, but it looks and feels exactly like wood and is very sturdy. I can’t overstate how sturdy and heavy this desk is. I could probably flip this desk over and use it as cover in a gunfight, except, again, it’s too heavy: all of the supporting frame/feet/railing are made out of pure steel. It’s nuts. Infinite toe-stubbing potential, really.
The desk also has motorized button-activated standing desk controls, so you can raise it, which I do often. The motor can be connected to via Bluetooth and programmed, which I’ve also taken advantage of a while ago.
Desk rating: 5⁄5 Owls
MSI Stealth 16 A13v. Powerful PC laptop (Intel Core i7-13700H, Nvidia RTX 4070, 64GB RAM, dual 2TB NVMe SSDs), great materials, easy to open and replace components. Not much else to say. It’s an amazing machine, it’s portable enough and it benchmarks high enough for me to never need a desktop.
Computer rating: 5⁄5 Owls
I used an Apple Studio Display for a while, until my partner stole it a bit more than a week ago. I very recently replaced it with a Gigabyte M32UC which I chose for the following reasons:
- High refresh rate (not for gaming! I’m one of those people that’s very sensitive to refresh rate and can immediately appreciate the difference even in work tasks!)
- The size is appropriate (32”) and it’s curved.
- 4K resolution means I can read a LaTeX PDF and write code at the same time, or similar.
- Price point wasn’t too high (as mentioned above, my seized Apple Studio Display cost a lot and I wanted to buy something more affordable this time around).
The monitor’s color accuracy and contrast are good. Its brightness is excellent. I calibrated it with a Spyder X Pro, which I strongly suggest you do even if you’re not into multimedia work: it’s good to have a display that shows you things accurately anyway. If you’re into display calibration, check out the insanely good open source DisplayCal calibration software.
The display’s supported by an Ergotron LX monitor arm, which is excellent and which I’ve been using for years.
Display rating: 4⁄5 Owls
I’m one of those annoying “audiophile” people who can’t wait until the house is empty so I can blast loud music while I work (it’s okay, the walls can handle it! I’ve checked!). I’ve had Audioengines for… seven years? I’d never buy another brand. Not because they sound better than other brands, but because they’re perfect for me: audiophile-grade speakers without being too big or imposing. I love everything about Audioengines: the sound, the design, the connectivity, etc. etc. I had the A2s for about six years (until I gave them to a friend who was starting off with their apartment), and I recently got these HD3s. They’re the same but with more wood, Bluetooth support (no thanks), and just generally better materials. The sound is exactly the same. I love Audioengine.
Speakers rating: audioengine/5 Owls
Keyboard and mouse
Keyboard’s a NuPhy Air 75 wih their second-generation red switches. It’s okay. The USB receiver is absolutely horrible, to the point that Bluetooth is actually miles ahead. I don’t have much else bad to say about it: layout’s great, battery life’s great, and they actually use double-shot PBT keycaps like respectable individuals. Somehow it still doesn’t feel that incredible at being a keyboard. I don’t see myself moving away from it, though. Overall it’s pretty good.
The mouse is fantastic. Razer Viper 2 Pro. No better mouse exists. This is the best mouse. Any assertion to the opposite is made through ignorance. You can’t know mice and not love this mouse.
- Keyboard rating: 4⁄5 Owls
- Mouse rating: 5⁄5 Owls
Webcam and mic
You can spot a Logitech Streamcam mounted above the display. For the price, it’s unbeatable.
The microphone is where it’s actually interesting: I use the Ankerwork m650, which is a wireless mic that you wear on your shirt lapel. It was originally meant for podcasters, streamers and youtubers that are out there in the field recording stuff, I think, but it’s the only way I can get actual high quality mic audio on calls without having a wired boom mic on an arm, which would inadmissibly clutter my desk. It works great. I just wear a tiny thing and I have really clear audio. The receiver plugs directly into a USB-C port. Oh, and that way, I don’t have to wear headphones!
An important component of my videoconferencing setup is acutally software: I use Nvidia Broadcast to do local noise cancellation on my microphone, as well as background blurring and object panfocus on the webcam. It’s great.
- Webcam rating: 4⁄5 Owls
- Mic rating: 5⁄5 Owls
Secretlab Titan Evo 2022. No, I didn’t get this model because I’m a big Attack on Titan fan; it’s purely the color scheme. I love that color scheme.
Man, this chair is fantastic. Enough said. I’ve never owned a better chair. Not only is it comfortable, but you get to pretend that you’re a B-rated film Bond supervillain knockoff if it’s late at night and your brain can’t manage any better.
Chair rating: 10⁄5 Owls
Some other stuff you may have noticed:
- Powered USB Hub: actually draws 60+ watts of power from its own adapter, so I can plug stuff into it without worrying.
- Lava lamp: goes well with the rest, and provides a calming mood while working late nights. Generates tons of heat, which isn’t great.
- Aranet4: Co2 level monitor. Self-explanatory.
- Sanchuniathon’s Jade Noctua. Whispers of History, Eyes of Eternity.
I am very happy with this setup.