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My dream office

Released on: 2022-03-07

This is my home office. It won’t be for everyone, but I love it because it’s optimised for me. In this office, I can achieve a level of productivity that I could never get close to in a conventional office.

Table of contents

Optimisations

I’ve optimised the office to

have no distractions in my areas of focus

What it looks like when I'm working.
Above: What it looks like when I’m working.

have everything I need within easy reach

The boxes that sit just behind me.
Above: The boxes that sit just behind me.

be easy to adapt as hardware and requirements come and go

Cable runs are mostly kept clean:

Power cables heading to the overhead bar.
Above: Power cables heading to the overhead bar.

While there are some dedicated mess zones out of view to take up slack and give room to sort things out.

An area dedicated to cable mess.
Above: An area dedicated to cable mess.

be pretty for filming, and meetings

A screenshot from the phone hacks episode.
Above: A screenshot from the phone hacks episode.

Features

Segmented power

Power segments are individually switchable to cut off anything that is not being used.

A shot of the power switches with power meters.
Above: A shot of the power switches with power meters.

This is great for making sure there are no unnecessary devices running that consume power while in standby. Some people express concern about the safety of such a setup, which is understandable if you don’t understand why that can be a risk. Technology Connections did an excellent segment on this.

Lighting

I have a mixture of RGB, and permanent white lighting so that I can optimise the output for what I’m doing. Eg when I’m recording, I’m likely to have lots of colours to make the footage more interesting to look at, but for day-to-day work, white light is much more helpful.

Side note: RGB based lighting has consequences for how we perceive what we are seeing, as well direct and interference based flickering, which may cause eye strain. So it’s worth making sure that RGB based lighting isn’t what you rely on when you need to focus (eg when you’re reading.)

Feedback

Separation of HDMI cables

I received a couple of responses to 03:20 in the video where I talked about the importance of separating different types of cables, and gave the example of HDMI. They were along the lines of:

HDMI is both shielded, and with twisted pairs so you don’t get interference. Separation is unnecessary.

These techniques both reduce interference; but they don’t eliminate it. And that distinction becomes important as the cables get longer, because the cables become more susceptible to internal and external sources of noise with increasing length. From the cables section of the wikipedia page:

Although no maximum length for an HDMI cable is specified, signal attenuation (dependent on the cable’s construction quality and conducting materials) limits usable lengths in practice and certification is difficult to achieve for lengths beyond 13 m.

While I was driving a 720p projectors, they were quite happy. When I moved to 4k projectors, it became much more important to separate the cables from other cables (especially power cables). During this process I bought fresh cables that were specifically rated for what I was doing, and also tried HDMI extenders. These didn’t solve the issue, but separating them made the setup much more usable (only a few drop-outs per day).

One person suggested fibre optic HDMI cables. These made it rock-solid.

Updates

  • 2023-08-25: Re-written to remove obsolete Patreon references, and flesh out a more blog-friendly format.

This post references

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The RandomKSandom series is the spiritual successor to FunnyHacks. Here, you can find all of the posts about it.
2023-08-22
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