Posts Tagged ‘Gadgets’

My Home Office Desk Setup

April 23, 2010

Whilst at home, a large part of my non-sleeping time is spent at my desk.  I generally work one day a week from home and find this my most productive day of the week, having a block of uninterrupted time, it gives me the necessary head space to effectively strategize, analyze, and prioritize.  This blog post is about my desk at home, the technology devices that it hosts, and how they are used.

My Home Office Desk Setup

1. Apple IIe Platinum computer, 1MHz 65C02 Motorola processor, 128KB RAM, dual 5.25″ floppy drives, MicroDrive IDE card with 128MB compact flash, color composite video monitor                   

2. Dell Adamo 13 laptop, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD SATA hard drive; contained in a 13.3″ Toffee leather brief                     

3. Amiga 1200 AGA computer, 14MHz Motorola 68EC020 processor, 2MB RAM, 3.5″ floppy drive, Blizzard 1230-IV expansion card with 50MHz Motorola 68030 processor + 50MHz 68882 co-processor + 64MB RAM,  internal IDE adaptor with 4GB compact flash, PCMCIA compact flash reader                      

4. Apple iPhone 3G, 412MHz Samsung RISC processor, 128MB RAM, 16GB flash storage; contained in a Sena Ultraslim leather pouch                 

5. Dual Dell 24″ LCD monitors, UltraSharp 1920×1200 wide-screen with soundbar speakers, connectors for HDMI, DVI, VGA, S-video, component video, composite video                   

6. Belkin N1 Vision wireless router, ADSL2 broadband modem, 802.11n wireless, wired gigabit ports, and interactive network display

7. Nintendo Wii console, 729MHz IBM PowerPC processor, 88MB RAM, 512MB flash storage

8. Dell Precision T5400 workstation, 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor, 8GB RAM, 2x 750GB SATA hard disk drives, DVD drive, 512MB nVidia Quadro FX1700 graphics card, media card reader, WinFast Digital TV tuner               

9. Dell PowerEdge 1800 server, dual 2.8GHz Intel Xeon processors, 4GB RAM, 6x 146GB SCSI hard disk drives in RAID 5 configuration, 2x DVD drives

10. Lexmark X215 multi-function laser printer

My Home Office Desk Setup in Work Mode

The picture above shows my desk setup in work mode.  The Dell Precision workstation is running Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) and the most frequently used software is MS Office Ultimate 2007, MS Visual Studio Professional 2008, Internet Explorer 8, and NVivo 8.   I also keep a secondary boot partition on the workstation for installing beta software and undertaking software evaluations.              

The Dell PowerEdge server is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and MS SQL Server 2008 Standard.  Both of the 24″ LCD monitors are connected to the workstation via DVI connectors, whilst the server is connected via a VGA connector, allowing quick switching of displays via a button press.                   

My Home Office Desk Setup in Entertainment Mode

The picture above shows my desk setup in entertainment mode.  The Dell Precision workstation is utilized to watch and record digital TV, surf the internet, dual-box MMORPG game Everquest 2,  and most recently play the RPG game Dragon Age Origins.              

The Apple IIe is running DOS 3.3 and ProDOS 8.  It is used to play 8-bit games that can be downloaded from sites like and transferred via compact flash using CiderPress.  The Apple IIe is a favorite of my children, who particularly enjoy playing the original Mario Bros.  The applefritter forums is a useful forum for discussing everything about older Apple computers.                

The Amiga 1200 is running AmigaOS 3.9 with WHDLoad which makes it possible to run programs originally designed for floppy disks.  It is used to play 16-bit games that can be downloaded from sites like Lemon Amiga and transferred via compact flash.  The Amiga 1200 is used to play games like Barbarian II, Bubble Bobble, Pinball Fantasies, and Rainbow Islands.  The English Amiga Board is a great forum to discuss everything Amiga.                

The Nintendo Wii is used to play games, with the current favorites being Guitar Hero, The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess, and Wii Sports.             

To finish, I quote Bill Gates in his 1995 book The Road Ahead       

There will be a day, not far distant, when you will be able to conduct business, study, explore the world and its cultures, call up any great entertainment, make friends, attend neighborhood markets, and show pictures to distant relatives — without leaving your desk or armchair.       


Favorite Technology Gadgets

April 13, 2009

Our lives interact with technology on a daily basis.  These interactions can be frustrating and mundane, or enjoyable and stimulating.  Below are some of my favorite technology gadgets.

1. Dell Mini 9

In October 2008 I was looking for a netbook computer to bring on a work trip to the United States.  After reviewing the available netbooks, I purchased a Dell Mini 9 and upgraded the memory to a more respectable 2GB.  I installed Windows Vista Ultimate (32bit) and Office 2007 onto the solid state drive and installed a 8GB SDHC card for additional data storage.  I chose the Mini 9 because of its light weight, wireless connectivity, solid state drive, full keyboard, ability to run a full Windows operating system, and stylish design.  It was just what I needed – easy to carry around, four hours of battery life, access to the productivity applications I needed to use, and the ability to connect to a projector.  Now it comes on both work trips and family holidays.

Dell Mini 9

Dell Mini 9

2. HP TouchSmart IQ818a

In late October 2008, I attended the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles and was impressed with the exciting new multi-touch capabilities of Windows 7.  I needed to obtain a computer that would allow me to fully evaluate and understand this new user interaction on Windows.  After reviewing the available multi-touch capable computers, I purchased a HP TouchSmart IQ818a.  I installed Windows Vista Ultimate (64bit) for day-to-day work and Windows 7 (64bit)pre-beta for evaluating the multi-touch features.  The HP TouchSmart IQ818a is a great computer with a its large multi-touch screen (25.5″), minimal desk footprint, respectable specifications, and stylish design.  I enjoyed experiencing the multi-touch capabilities of Windows 7, especially using gestures.

HP TouchSmart IQ800

HP TouchSmart IQ818a

3. Apple iPhone 3G

I was now an evangelist on multi-touch interfaces and felt behind the times with my antiquated mobile phone.  So in December 2008 I purchased an Apple iPhone 3G (16GB model).  From the moment you open the high quality and well designed packaging, you know you are about to experience something unique.  The user interface is simply brilliant and the applications are both useful and easy to use.  Besides making phone calls and sending and receiving SMS messages, I use the built-in Camera to take photos, the Maps application with GPS for getting directions, the iPod application to listen to music, the Safari browser to access the web, and the App Store to download entertaining games that make great use of multi-touch and tilt.  So far, this is the best mobile phone I have used.

Apple iPhone 3G

Apple iPhone 3G

4. Nintendo Wii

I purchased the Nintendo Wii soon after its release in December 2006 and it is still the video game console of choice for me.  It does not have the best graphics of the available consoles, but it has the best user interface provided by the Wii Remote.  My favourite Wii game is Wii Sports when playing with family/friends and The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess when playing alone.   It is a great console for the whole family to enjoy as it can be played by both adults and children alike.

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

The future of technology gadgets looks bright with designers and engineers developing innovative products with the user experience firmly in mind.