Update: Pictures added by request, see bottom of post.
This morning (or more appropriately, this afternoon, though it was functionally morning, since I had only been asleep for about 6 hours), Madalene woke me up, and led me to the window. Outside on the curb in front of our apartment building was a desk. It was one of those particle board basic desks, black and blond, with a little 'hutch' over it. I remembered that one of the other tenants of the building had mentioned the possibility of getting rid of her current desk, in order to make room for the huge
desk she was purchasing in order to properly continue her dissertation. A quick run up the stairs and a knock on the door revealed that the desk was in fact her old desk, and that she no longer needed it, and was trying to figure out what to do with it. Being the gallant one I am, I immediately volunteered to take responsibility for the desk. Madalene and I hauled it inside, and a reorganization began.
The desk I had been using up until this point was not actually a desk. It was a metal table, similar in size to a regular desk, but deeper, and less wide. It was also much taller, table height, rather than desk height. It also was very thick. There is a wooden border hanging underneath the metal top, with a drawer that pulls out from it. The end result was that the desk was very high, putting my monitors far too high, causing me to strain my neck peering up to them. The keyboard was also far too high, which was doing a number on my wrists. I had taken to pulling out the drawer, setting the keyboard on the drawer, and using it as a makeshift keyboard tray. However, that was highly inconvienent, and blocked access to the drawer. Also, the wooden border made it impossible to slide the arms of my rather large, but high quality steelcase chair underneath it, meaning I was always stuck rather far out from the table. All in all, a bad situation.
I gutted my side of our 'office' which is simply the unused bedroom in the two bedroom flat. I have three computers to deal with, two monitors, three keyboards, four mice, a drawing tablet, a set of speakers, a printer, a webcam and a phone, all vying for precious horizontal desk space. The old solution was to stash the extra keyboards on the floor, and lift them up to my lap for use. That was no good. Hard to move around! The new solution involves putting one of the computers (the Beige Mac G4) into a cabinet on the new desk. That same cabinet also contains the external hard drive and external CD-R for the Mac. I'm slightly concerned about heat issues, though the cabinet does have an open back. I think it will be fine, but I'll keep a close eye on it. The PC is on the floor next to the desk, with the headless PowerMac 8100 running linux set up on top of it.
To get the monitors in, I had to modify the hutch to accept my 19" Hitachi on the left side, and a 17" Apple on the right side. The hutch looks a bit weird now, but is structurally sound, and fits the monitors perfectly. The printer sits up on top of the hutch. The 17" monitor sits on a little raised section of the hutch, with just enough room underneath it for the USB hub, the DSL modem, and the 10/100 switch. The desk has a small bookshelf on one side of it as well, which is serving nicely for the small excess of books I have, that had no bookshelf space.
I still have quite a bit of organization to do, but the new desk has made my ergonomic situation infinitely
better, and has opened up a bit of much needed space in the office. I'm going to eat some food (I haven't eaten yet today.. The excitement and agitation of reorganization has kept me from thinking of it), and then finish this cleaning job.
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I'm digging the new desk, see my thumbs up?
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Here is the cabinet that the Mac is being held oh-so-snugly in. Its a bit warm in there, maybe I'll add a fan...
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Just another shot of the cool free desk, showing the two computers piled up on the far right.