People love gear, tools, gadgets, and so do I. For today I thought I’d give you a little peek into some of the physical tools that I use almost on a daily basis in my home office.
Without further ado. Let this tech list (in the order I look around the room) wash over you like a warm breeze of distraction.
- Mid-2014 MacBook Pro
- This thing has been going strong since I got it at the beginning of 2015. It has the lovely 15” retina display, 256gb SSD, and 16gb of ram. I love the look and feel of the new MBPs, but seeing as how this one still works incredibly well and I’m not a fan of the problems that keep creeping up with the new one; I’ll wait a little bit and see what they release next.
- Asus PA328Q 32” 4K Monitor
- This beast has been fantastic to use. I’ve had other setups with an LG ultra-wide 34” and also using two monitors side-by-side, and I find this to work best. Right now at least. It fits my workflow and how I like having a couple of windows open at once. Usually, that consists of Trello on the MBP screen to the far left and then two browser windows side by side for when I’m working on sites, in photoshop, writing, dealing with files, etcetera. Using the magnet app for Mac and having custom keyboard shortcuts also helps a ton. I can’t help but think of Apple teasing that they’re coming out with a new display at some point. Knowing that they may stick to a 27-inch size and the resolution, it’ll have may just make me jump ship then. But, we’ll see when it arrives.
- Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock
- This little dock has proven itself very useful. It lets me quickly connect all of the peripherals to it along with a port for direct ethernet cable connection. It has one thunderbolt cable going from it straight to my MBP making it easy to connect and disconnect depending on whether I’m staying in the office or taking the laptop with me. I believe there is a new model out for the latest MBP with USB-C, so when the time comes, I’ll have to snap one of those up.
- Synology DS916+ NAS
- I had been looking at NAS devices for a while and wasn’t sure about getting one, but I can tell you, I love having it. It’s loaded up with WD Red 4TB HDD for a total of 16TB worth of storage, but that’s cut in half because I set up in Raid 6 I think it was, to prevent data loss in the event of a drive failure. It was reasonably easy to setup and provides encrypted connections to almost everything. I’ve always been slightly paranoid about losing files/data that I didn’t to disappear from hardware failure or just accidental deletion. Since reading a couple of Pieter Levels posts on his backup methods, I’ve become even more conscious about preventing data loss and backing up my files. This NAS is just part of that process. I have redundant encrypted backups automatically updating on cloud servers (checkout Arq from Haystack Software). If you're interested in doing some of the same, I would check out Backblaze first and then think about redundancy with the help of Arq and AWS S3, Backblaze B2, and or Google Cloud.
- Google Wifi
- I got the three pack of these a couple of months ago after battling annoying wifi issues. I have my main wifi router from Verizon providing a connection and then another Asus router setup as a repeater and kept having connection issues and lower speeds than I wanted. I found the Google mesh wifi setup and decided to give it a try. These things have worked amazingly well, and I get high speeds through the house. The only issue? I still can’t get the third one to connect for some mysterious reason. I’ve reset things multiple time in the past, but it seems as though every time I reached the point of setting up the third access point, it would say “not in range.” It was in range and on top of the central unit for setup. I’ll have to give it a go again soon.
- Sennheiser PXC550 Noise Canceling Headphone
- Get these. Plain and simple. If you like music while you work and having the benefit of noise cancellation, you won’t be disappointed. I’ve had other headphones in the past (Audio-Technica ATH-M50X), and they’ve been amazing, but they didn’t have noise cancellation. I’ll still use my ATH-M50Xs when I’m not working or whatnot, but my go-to set these days are the Sennheisers. They connect primarily with Bluetooth and are set up to do so with my iPhone and MBP, so it makes a perfect combo for working and any critical notifications. They’re pricey, but if you're looking for noise-canceling and quality, you’ll appreciate what they have to offer.
- Apple Keyboard (Newest full-width w/Bluetooth)
- I'm using my computer every day and mostly from my office, so I like to use an external keyboard. I’ve had the wired version of the apple keyboard with the num pad, but when I saw they released an updated version with Bluetooth, I jumped at the opportunity to swap out. It took maybe an hour to get adjusted, and I have to say I love the feeling of it better than any other keyboard. On top of that, the battery lasts an enormously long time.
- Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse
- I don’t like the mouse offerings from Apple. I never found them to be as functional as I would’ve hoped for. The Logitech MX Master feels amazing and works incredibly well. It connects with Bluetooth and comes with an optional USB WiFi adapter. It also has the added benefit of being able to connect to and quickly switch between up to three different devices with the press of a nice little button on its underside. That works out well for me since I also have a custom built PC connected to my monitor.
- White Boards
- I really appreciate having a whiteboard. I have one mounted on a wall and one I picked up from Amazon recently that’s double-sided an easel setup that I’ve propped up next to my desk. They’re great for checklist, project organization, and rapidly working through problems and project ideas.
- Simple yet often overlooked, the notebook is one of, if not the best tool that I have. I don’t think I need to explain a notebook to you, but I will tell you I use them for the beginning stages/planning of nearly everything. Ideas, daily schedules, random notes, calculations, etc.… You can find some great notebooks from the likes of Moleskine, Baron Fig, and Ink&Volt.
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