Recently I was playing with monitors
and might have a possible v4 in the works.
I have been rebuilding my office ever since I had my first one in 1999. What’s changed however is my desire to share these home office creations with the world. This I can contribute my new found desire to “share” just like those who have shared before me… namely Stefan Didak and his Home Office creation. My goal here is not to upstage, but rather to share in the sharing process.
I call this v3.0 since this will be the third time I’ve rebuilt my office since buying our house at the beginning of this year. Each rebuild is with a particular purpose and this latest rebuilt is with the desire to fix the lighting and upgrade the “stage” I use for my friend’s Week in Review web show.
Recently my wife’s company had another tech auction. An out with the old and in with the new endeavor which the employees can benefit from. As such I went about purchasing another half dozen 15” monitors. In Office v2.0, I used four of the first half dozen monitors along with my two primary 22” monitors and a few odd ones laying around. It didn’t take long for me to utilize all 7 of them and in need of more. This time my target was using eight plus my various extras… I succeeded!
I wanted to position the monitors very closely, so I purchased 8 monitor brackets. I found them over at newegg.com for cheap. Four flat and four angle brackets to support the eight 15” monitors. I bought them at just the right time too, the flat were only 10.99 each and the angled ones were 12.99 each.
These would leave 24 holes in my wall and I did not want that, nor would my wife. So I went about designing a board which could be mounted with minimal holes and provide a mounting surface for the monitors, a few shelves, etc. Visio here I come… only problem is when I started I just couldn’t stop. Before I knew it I had my entire office designed and to scale.
As you can see from the diagram, I needed two workstations for me and my wife. I also need to position our chairs in such a way that my widescreen webcams wouldn’t capture too much of the side walls. Then there was the 3-point lighting system I wanted to put together.
Based on the specs of my custom board, I went to the hardware store for supplies. One 4×8 1/2” plywood, dozen angle brackets, and two power strips later I had begun the construction process.
Now that the board is constructed, boards positioned and wires run neatly it is time to hang it…well after cleaning up the office. It can get really dusty and hairy with two cats in the house.
The board was mounted and wires run in such a way that provided a very clean and easy hanging of the board. Once hung, a lot of the electronics could be mounted easily and with out climbing over a desk, err folding table.
I’m over 6’ tall and thus need plenty of leg room. It is extremely important to have lots of foot room under my desk. Thus everything is neatly mounted to the board or Velcro strapped up off from the floor.
Positioning my work laptop leads to the finished product in all its glory!
My job involves working on multiple operating systems from a single console. Thus, I have a variety of systems in place or going in.
The three large monitors on the desk are linked to my primary workstation on on the floor to the left. It is a Intel i7 with 16Gb ram, 1Tb 7200rpm hard drive with a 60Gb Sata 3 cache drive using Intel’s raid caching technology. Both HD cameras are connected to it, the first for me at desk 1 and the second for my friend at desk 2.
During recording, I position the left most monitor in the middle of the two desks for us both to see the video output. Then I separate both of my primary monitors to reveal the audio mixer I have hidden. Since I’m obviously not working while recording, my work laptop to the right is closed up and pushed back out of the way.
In the middle left I have a laptop a friend gave me. His son broke the LCD panel and it was useless to him at that point, but not for me .
The middle two monitors display the dual screen output from the white tower on the floor to the right. This is my Hyper-V server; a Xeon E31240 also with 16Gbs of ram, four Sata-2 1.5Tb drives configured with Raid 5, two Sata-3 1Tb drives configured in Raid 1. The Raid 5 provides me with a lot of network storage for all my web shows raw content, photos, etc. A little bit of the Raid 1 is carved out for the C drive, the rest is used to hold the virtual hard drives for Hyper-V.
Lastly in the upper right is the monitor for the mini mac you saw in previous pictures sitting on the bottom shelf of the board. I recently upgraded it to OS X Lion and it’s used to sync my various iOS devices and for my Objective C development activities. Sadly my Input Director software used as a software KMc (Keyboard Monitor and Clipboard) sync tool does not have Mac or Linux versions. So I have a wireless keyboard and magic mouse I pull out when needed.
I’ll be connecting an older RedHat Linux system to the upper left most monitor. Then the final two upper middle monitors will be used to display a dual head Linux workstation I don’t yet have setup.
I plan on adding a few additional shelves for convenience. First thing I noticed after sitting at the new desk was when my monitors are pushed aside for access to the audio mixer, I completely ruin the position of my web-cam. Plus I’d like to have a more convenient place to put the mac’s keyboard and mouse when not in use. This shelf will set just below and behind the top edge of my primary monitors, thus when pushed together I won’t see it or the stuff they hold. The second shelf will be added to the very top of the board. This will hold my various geek toys like my Intel man, the sound activated Borg light and various trinkets.