My Setup for Working from Home

I had the good fortune of getting all the various pieces and parts of my home office settled just before the novel coronavirus pandemic began really impacting life in the U.S., so while this situation is horrifying for so very many reasons, I was at least well positioned to continue trying to accomplish my digitization/digital library goals from home. I’ve been really enjoying seeing other folks’ home set ups and curious to hear how they are adapting so I thought I’d share mine.

  1. The central piece for this whole set up is a newly purchased Dell XPS 15 laptop that has some fairly robust capabilities, particularly for the image editing and batch actions I’m doing. It has a Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, a 0.5 TB SSD, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and Thunderbolt 3. I’ve got it parked on a cheap Nulaxy laptop stand that I picked up on Amazon.
  2. The Thunderbolt 3 port enabled me to take advantage of the CalDigit TS3 Plus dock, which connects to all of the other peripherals that I’ll list below, as well as delivering power and ethernet to the laptop. Conveniently it tucks right under the laptop inside the Nulaxy laptop stand. Also you can’t even really see it in the image, but just to the left of the dock and laptop stand is a Western Digital My Passport USB 3.0 2TB external hard drive. This is what I’m saving all my projects to and is my primary storage mechanism and connects to the CalDigit dock.
  3. A friend passed along an old monitor he was no longer using which is attached to the CalDigit dock. It is a HANNspree monitor, though no idea what the model is. This took a bit of trial and error as the CalDigit dock only outputs through DisplayPort and the monitor only receives HDMI. Turns out you need an active display port adapter or cable, not a passive one (as I initially had purchased.)
  4. My keyboard is an Azio Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Wired Keyboard that is newly purchased and has been lovely so far. It’s a pretty cheap options, I just wanted a real keyboard to make this more like a conventional desktop computer setup. The backlighting is nice in the evenings, and honestly as my youth continues to flee, the large print isn’t terrible either. Connects to the CalDigit dock.
  5. My mouse is an old Anker gaming mouse that was surprisingly cheap at the time and allows a fair bit of customization with enough input options to be useful. Nothing much to say here, I just used the mouse I still had laying around. Connects to the CalDigit dock.
  6. This is a Nektech 72W charger that I use for my phone. I had originally bought this to have a single charger for both my phone and my old ASUS C302 Chromebook, but as I’ve migrated laptops, this has become a dedicated phone charger on my desk. It has three additional USB A ports for charging of other devices as well which is handy.
  7. This Epson V600 photo scanner was borrowed from my workplace so that I could do at home digitization projects, in conjunction with Epson Scan installed on my laptop. It has been a dream to stay productive on repetitive scanning at home and is now making me think about getting myself one for my own use. Connects to the CalDigit dock.
  8. It’s nice not having my phone constantly in use streaming podcasts so I’m using a Nest Hub as my media device, casting from Pocket Casts to the Nest Hub for entertainment during the day. I also have set it up recently as a digital photo frame which has honestly been pretty awesome while feeling rather isolated. Having images of friends and family scroll through helps a lot with that. Also I just like the idea of this being my command center like I’m on the bridge of a spaceship or something, so MOAR SCREENZ helps me achieve that admittedly silly goal.
  9. Continuing that theme, I’ve got a little temperature/humidity tracker that I had previously used in an old apartment because I was convinced the thermostat was broken and I wanted a second opinion. No sense in getting rid of it though since it’s still truckin, and it is handy to have an idea of what the temperature is. And again MOAR SCREENZ.
  10. I backed the original Antsy Labs Fidget Cube desk toy and it continues to live on in this place on my desk. Nice to have something tactile to play with while staring at progress bars.
  11. I’ve got an ancient 2.1 computer speaker set that I’ve moved around something like 5 apartments. Since they refuse to break I keep using them, nothing much to say here other than they also connect to the CalDigit dock.
  12. The basis for my at home digitization is an index card collection of clippings about soldiers in World War II. There are dozens of drawers of these cards, and it is time consuming work, so perfect for this at home digitization set up. I wrote more about this in my last blog post.
  13. Additional drawers of cards just waiting to be scanned.
  14. Books brought home from my office for reference and reading, including “A Field Guide to American Houses, 2nd edition” by Virginia Savage McAlester, “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott (a book my whole library system is encourage to read), “Archives in Libraries: What Librarians and Archivists Need to Know to Work Together” by Jeannette A Bastian, Megan Sniff-Marinoff, and Donna Webber, and finally “The Data Wrangler’s Handbook: Simple Tools for Powerful Results” by Kyle Banerjee.
  15. Finally my phone, a Pixel 3a, perched on a Toddy Gear phone wedge.