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This is how HardwareZone works from home #HWZWFH (Part 2)

By Ken Wong - on 13 Apr 2020, 2:29pm

My area of solitude

Let me start by saying I love my kids. I really do. But preferably, I’d like to love them from my office far away when they’re at home after school.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has changed this with the government issuing Work from Home orders and Home-Based Learning days for students.

Working from home, let me say how jealous I am of our associate editor’s setup he showed off last week. The space and equipment on display were enough to make a tech lover like me drool with envy.

I don’t need a lot to keep me happy. Give me enough space for a fat man to be comfortable, a nice chair, a big, sharp monitor, and a desktop or laptop that can connect to what I need, when I need it, and I’m satisfied. A man of simple needs and pleasures.

In the office I have an office provided desk and chair. I use an office provided PC along with USB-powered keyboard and mouse, and my only indulgence is my 34-inch monitor that allows me to easily view up to three-word documents at a time.

At home, I don’t have a proper desk and have had to hijack the dining table. The good thing about it is the real estate I have for my device sprawl. The bad is that it is severely minimal, and this has meant plugs and cables making a mess on the side. My kids do their schoolwork next to me so they have access to easy tech support and a reference library when they get stuck with school work.

The mess I try to ignore

Comfy chair? Well, I have a chair and it has a padded base and is high enough to sit on and view my screens without having to strain my neck.

Any additional storage I need is kept in Ikea bought containers that provide me with ample space for junk.

My Ikea storage containers

I was initially reduced to using the 13-inch laptop screen on my MacBook Pro but I brought my Acer 32-inch monitor to make it easier for an old man to see the text in small emails and multiple documents.  

The Acer EB321HQU A is a 31.5-inch, 1440p monitor with DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort inputs. Using an IPS panel with a 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time, it comes with a tilting stand, has picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes. It is more than enough for my current needs. I can even have a video running quietly in the background without any problem.

But having seen the screen real estate curved monitors provide, I’ve decided that a curved monitor is the way forward.

My laptop is a late- model 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro bought early 2019. It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB LPDDR3 RAM. It also has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

My 2018 model of MacBook Pro

I can’t use a speaker as the sound will distract my wife and kids from what they need to do. I also have the occasional conference call. So rather than speakers, I chose to go with a pair of BoseQC20 earphones. This is an active noise cancelling earphone set. The in-ear wearing style means that users can now block out ambient noise in most everyday scenarios. Furthermore, the earphones also come with a convenient talk-through function.

The earphones and all the accessories

Finally, I added an external keyboard and mouse.

The keyboard is a standard wireless, battery-powered one from Apple. Nothing fancy but it works.

It may be small but it gets the job done

The mouse is a Logitech MX Anywhere 2. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to review the new MX Master 3 so I’m still using old tech. Old it may be, but it is still one of the better devices out there. 

MX Anywhere 2

It comes with Darkfield High Precision laser tracking, which allows for tracking on any surface, including glass that’s at least 4mm in thickness. Logitech Flow allows a mouse to control up to three computers seamlessly, allowing the user to move text, images, and files between these devices. The battery lasts slightly more than two months on a full charge.

Later this week, senior tech writer Hong Zuo will take you through his work from home setup.

To all first responders and frontline staff, thank you and please take care. We will see you when things get better.

Ken Wong

Ken Wong / Senior Tech Writer