Saturday, October 3, 2009

Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Setting Up Your Workspace

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to make my work-from-home setup more usable. Or, more accurately, I’ve been complaining that my work-from-home setup is inadequate and then not doing anything about it. See, I have a desk in the basement, but it’s not really a computer user’s desk. Sure, it has a keyboard drawer, but there is no room on that drawer for a mouse, so my mouse-hand always ends up in an awkward position. Couple that with the fact that my desktop PC just croaked and I have no USB keyboards to plug into my laptop, and the desk became darn-near unusable. I tried using my laptop on the couch, but I either end up nearly burning my lap or hunched over the coffee table.

With the bare minimum in mind, I set out to Staples (just about the only tech retailer within walking distance of my job) to get a USB wireless keyboard. I figured $35, maybe $40, and my desk would be back in action AND I could use the laptop just about anywhere in the house.

I managed to get lucky; Staples was having a sale on the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000 (keyboard and mouse combo). $50 seemed like a good price for both devices.

Well, the keyboard is great, though nothing special compared to other keyboards (well, it’s no Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000). It just works. The mouse is the real winner. The bundled mouse is the Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000, and it comes with “BlueTrack” technology. I don’t know what that means, but I do know I can use the mouse on just about any surface. Anything. I just flopped it down on the fleece that’s piled right next to me and it worked perfectly. I’m not sold on the location of the “forward” button, but I rarely use that anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

This is coming off like a shill review, so I’ll stop talking about the devices themselves (I have no relevant experience with wireless keyboards or mice to compare these to anyway). I’m sure Logitech’s offerings are awesome too (their MX500 mouse has been my faithful companion for years).

The point is that now I’ve got a very comfortable working environment at my desk OR on the couch. The nice side benefit is that using a wireless keyboard just makes me feel like a badass hacker too.

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