My workplace

Since Cyrus is talking about his multi-monitor set up, I guess I want to brag, too. As many of my co-workers and friends know it, I take my workplace very seriously. I like everything running just right, positioned at the right angle and available when I need it.

I don't like cute utilities, screens savers, or backgrounds, because inevitably they take up memory and the precious milliseconds of my CPU/GPU time. I don't like applications or services running in the background if I don't need them. I work hard to eliminate items from my notification area (a.k.a. tray icons).

I generally don't like add-ins or plug-ins, because they tend to affect the performance of the application. I would rather run NUnit and Reflector as separate applications and not deal with the extra windows and behaviors of their corresponding Visual Studio add-ins. I find it easier to cluster my workspaces around a specific activity, rather than plop it all on one big pallette of a Visual Studio workspace. That is why my Visual Studio Help is firmly switched to “External“ and the Clippy of the Visual Studio — “Dynamic Help“, is banned forever from the view.

Every week, I take a little bit of time to make sure that my projects, documents, and applications are organized the way I want them. I don't believe in having an application installed and not needing to use it for more than a couple of weeks. If it's not being used — it's gone.

I like working with multiple monitors. I find that having multiple screens helps me cluster my work around specific activities and also provides enough horizon for those activites that require multiple applications running at once (such as debugging, tweaking performance, CSS, etc.). Currently, I have 4 monitors surrounding me (from left to right):

  • An old Apple iBook — good enough for browser compatibility testing.
  • Two monitors of my main workstation: a 17“ utility monitor. It usually hosts my Outlook and MSDN Library, and a 20“ flat panel, which is where most of the work happens.
  • My mobile workstation with a 15“ screen, which is primarily used for performance monitoring or remote access. I always take this one home (just in case).

In addition to your usual CAT5 hookup, the machines are also networked with FireWire. This allows me to test networking issues and do marginal load testing, as well as some other netrickery.

All of the screens are “stitched“ together with Synergy, which is an absolute must if you have more than one machine sitting on your desk.

And finally, looking at the picture of the set up, you may notice that the laptops are held in their positions using riser doohickeys. A word of advice — before spending $130 on a laptop riser, stroll over to your neighborhood Staples store and pick up a book holder. It works just as well and costs around $10.

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