My Home Workspace

January 9th, 2008

I was at the TSOT Ruby/Rails Project Night last night. It was a great gathering, and I was treated very well by the hosts – they even brought in Guinness for me!

The soiree was at the new TSOT offices in downtown Toronto, on the 11th floor at 151 Bloor West, with a beeeautiful bird’s-eye view of the Royal Ontario Museum. Last time I was there, CEO Kris White showed me around the unfinished space, but now it’s finished and filled with staff and desks and computers and books and, well, you name it.

Inspired by my pal Joey’s Office Desk posts, I figure it’s time to give you a peek into my basement home office.

Here’s a panorama of the computerized half of my L-shaped desk. I control all of the computers on it from the Dell’s keyboard and mouse, using Synergy, which allows me to pan the mouse right across, from Linux to XP to Linux to Mac, transferring keyboard control as I go, even cutting and pasting text between any of the machines.

my home office computer setup

From left to right:

  • Dell B/W Laser Printer
  • Speaker Phone with Call Display
  • Toshiba Satellite Pro 4260 pIII 550 running Xubuntu
  • Dell 9200 Centrino Core Duo T2600/2.16GHz 1920×1200 running XP Media Center
  • ASUS Eee PC 2G Surf running Xandros Linux – on top of external USB2 DVD writer
  • 8-port switch
  • Mac Mini Core Duo running OSX10.4 just under left of monitor
  • Toshiba A10 P4 2GHz running XP Home – the display died, so I ripped it off completely
  • On the monitor you see the Mac desktop, with a VNC window into the Toshiba A10, and a TV window from the EyeTV USB tuner
  • A/B switch to switch between Mac and Toshiba A10.
  • Speakers either side of monitor (subwoofer at floor level)
  • Mac keyboard in sliding tray behind the chair
  • Epson Stylus Color Inkjet Printer

What you don’t see in the next room is my server pc, a Compaq EVO small form factor with three 250G drives, which is also hooked to my home theatre, which uses an Optoma projector and 7’x5′ screen hooked to HD PVR, DVD, 5.1 audio and the Wii (at that size, it’s like having a bowling alley in your basement!). My daughter’s desk has a Dell Optiplex P4 1.8GHz with XP Home and a scanner, the kitchen has a Toshiba P4 2.8 Laptop running XP Pro, there’s a 160G NAS device at the other end of the house, and the Router is a Linksys 54G running the Tomato firmware.

My newest machine is the Asus Eee. I got the lowest model – $299 for the Blush Pink 2G Surf, with 512M RAM, 2G solid-state flash disk, no camera. When I’m in the office, I use it as a handsfree phone using Skype – at 2 cents a minute for calls to landlines in North America and Europe, it’s a great deal.

The Eee is a fantastic computer, well designed, well implemented. Best out-of-box experience I’ve EVER had. I’m looking forward to using it as a road warrior machine, for hacking, and for presentations. Those guys with their little 13 inch Apples will have nothing on me – I’ll stun them with my sheer nerdliness. With that in mind, I’ve already done a case mod to fill them all with fear and envy.

My Killer Eee PC

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