Working mostly from home (save for the occasional coffeehouse “office” day) for the last year and a half as a freelancer, my workstation set-up has been a slowly evolving arrangement. First I was in a bedroom on the main floor; now I’m in a dormer upstairs. I’ve been working exclusively with my MacBook for most of that time, but with increasing frequency I’ve had to work on large-layout web pages for clients with no access to a screen larger than 1280×800. Yesterday I finally decided it was time to make a change. I wasn’t up for the $899 outlay for a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display, so after a little (OK, very little) research, I settled on an LG 20-inch LCD that supports 1600×900 resolution, for $159 at Best Buy.
I quickly found that using the keyboard on my MacBook while looking at the LG display was not a satisfactory arrangement, so I also added an Apple Bluetooth wireless mouse. I also found that my desk surface was too low for the new monitor, so I solved that problem with a $6.99 wall shelf from IKEA. That shelf also works well for elevating my computer speakers — a change that makes a surprising difference to the sound. While I was at IKEA I also picked up a solar powered LED desk lamp. Anything to help reduce the number of cords on my desk.
The only problem I’ve encountered so far is the Mini DisplayPort jack on my MacBook. There’s… something… wrong with it. Not sure what, but the Mini DisplayPort adapter doesn’t fit properly. In fact, it requires a tremendous amount of force to insert the plug into the jack. So much so, that I was convinced at first that it was the wrong adapter. But it’s not. It works. But I’ve confirmed that forcing the plug into the jack has actually damaged the plug. But it still works, so for now I’m living with it.
Overall, I’m happy with the arrangement, even if some of the details (the intense brightness of the LCD display, the need to put the solar cell in the window to charge it during the day, along with a few other quirks) are imperfect. But my improved posture itself is enough to justify the effort.
And now, a crappy picture:
Added bonus: I hadn’t even thought about the awesomeness of dual displays when I set out to get the LCD. Also, it’s nice to put my Mighty Mouse to use again after it’s been sitting in the desk drawer for months. But the biggest unexpected change — I figured out that the vintage optometrist’s chair I use (along with the vintage optometrist’s desk you see in the picture) actually can be raised… so I cranked it all the way up.