About My Office

No normal camera could have taken the panoramic picture heading this blog. It encompasses a sweep around my office of about 140 degrees. There’s no wide angle lens that can be that wide without major distortion. A fisheye lens could have done it, but then it would have looked, well, fish-eyed. Yet it was taken with a normal camera. The rub is that I used a free stitcher program from MicroSoft to almost seamlessly stitch together 5 pictures, once again proving that good things are sometimes free if you look for them. The name of the program is MicroSoft ICE (Image Composite Editor).

Now about my office. The current configuration is the culmination of 15 years of arranging and rearranging. It is now perfectly tweaked for PC repair.

From left to right, the first objects are two file cabinets, with a TV on top. In total there are 7 file cabinets in my office and one 6ft tall 14 drawer stationary (obviously) metal tool chest from Sears. File cabinets are great for organizing things like power supplies, cables, large parts of all sorts, etc. All of the file cabinets were bought on Craigslist. They didn’t cost a lot of money. The desk with side hutch is all metal and was bought at a garage sale for the princely sum of $20. What a steal!

The purple table used to be my kid’s activity table. I store PCs under it, and have storage bins above it. It’s an efficient use of about 16 sq. ft of floor space.

The first banquet table is the work area. I have plenty of light, both natural and artificial. Note the two lamps. The first is a Luxe Magnifier Lamp from the 1960’s. It’s perfect for working on the guts of small devices like laptops and ipods. I bought it at a garage sale for eight dollars. The forensics laboratory in the old “Miami Vice” TV series has one that’s identical. I’m not expecting anybody to run to their “Miami Vice” DVDs to check. The other lamp is a vintage Panasonic Clamp Desk Light. They don’t make these any more. The lamp shell is designed to remain cool to the touch despite the 100w light bulb, and it swivels in just about every direction.

Moving to the right, a two level office table sits on the banquet table. It holds two printers, one of which is a venerable HP Laserjet 1020. I will never give up this printer. To the left of the printer is an Asus 1000he netbook running Vista. It is the print server. Both of the printers are connected via USB. These are then shared among the other Macs and Windows PCs. This shared USB is the most reliable way to share printers. I often need to print quickly and fast, and don’t want to deal with the occasional unreliability of network printers. The laptop above is a Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard. They are both running Swiss railroad clock screensavers and so serve a double purpose as perfectly silent wall clocks.

Below the Asus and almost completely out of sight on the banquet table is the recovery laptop. It is a Dell Inspiron E1505. It has a triple boot system running Linux Mint, Windows XP and Windows 7. I use it for data recovery, virus scans and email conversions. It has never failed.

On the other banquet table are the telephone, monitor, speakers and assorted storage. The monitor is a very reliable HP 2511x. The telephone is a very reliable Radio Shack 900MHz cordless two line. Below the table, out of sight, are the two main desktop PCs. One is a workhorse Dell Vostro 200. The other is an HP p6219f desktop. A customer gave me the HP. It was clinically dead due to the poorly designed motherboard (the AMD North Bridge chipset was overheating). Two days later, after working on it constantly and dispensing with daily minutiae such as eating and personal hygiene, I had the computer diagnosed and working reliably. That’s a subject for an upcoming post.

There are many items on these tables that I’m not going to describe in any depth, like cell phones, an Xlink box, a router, a network hub, a KVM switch, etc. There’s something on every square inch.

Last but not least are the de rigueur outdated pictures of my cute kids, taped to the wall. I thought the tape would last about a year, but the pictures have been tightly hanging on for about 11 years now.

In review, there’s nothing technical or exciting about this post. I wrote it primarily to drum up my sideline business of using my posts to put insomniacs to sleep. See my first posting for more details.

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