I'm Mohamed Said, a full-stack web developer at Laravel.

Upgrading my home office

Posted on February, 9 2020 in Life

Upgrading my home office
My current setup

In 2016, my wife and I decided that we want to live in a different city. We moved to Hurghada by the red sea and lived in 4 different apartments in just over a year. During this time mobility was very important so I only used a mid-2014 13" MacBook Pro for work.

Now that we've settled, I think about investing in my setup and make it more comfortable and efficient. So far here's a list of ideas:

Bring in an external Monitor

I'd love to try working with an external monitor, seems like it'll give me more workspace and better posture. Right now my mid-2014 MacBook can only run a 2K monitor which will be a major upgrade for me. However, since I'm upgrading why not go all the way to a 4k?

I'm thinking a 4k 27" or 32" monitor, but to do this I need to upgrade my MacBook first.

Upgrade my MacBook

Everyone is happy with the new 16", it seems reliable and so good to look at and feel, I think I'll love it. However, using a small 13" for 5 years makes me feel like the 16" will be huge and less portable. Even though that's not what Adam Wathan says about it. I don't know, but there doesn't seem to be news on a smaller MacBook pro in 2020, just rumours.

Should I go ahead and get the 16"? Maybe. There's also the fact that it's $938 more expensive if I buy it from here. Normally what people do is find a friend coming from the US and ask him/her to purchase the device for you from there. Another option is use a travellers network and make someone get it for you, that'll be only $100-500 more expensive than the original price. Not bad.

External keyboard and trackpad

I don't think I'll ever want to use a mouse again. A trackpad is more comfortable to use in my opinion, using a mouse now feels like writing with my left hand.

A new desk

I'm using a 100*60cm desk now, served me well and was easy to move around the different places. Now I want to get a ~160*80cm desk, that's the maximum that could fit in the corner I chose for my work station. 80cm deep will give me more room to put the external monitor as far or close as I need.

Streaming/Podcasting setup

Matt Stauffer wrote a great guide on the different setups for podcasting, screencasting, and streaming. If I use an external microphone I'll want a USB one since it's just more easy to setup. However, Matt says:

Don't. Buy. A. Blue. Snowball. Or. A. Blue. Yeti

I searched our local Amazon store and I could only find the Blue brothers. Here's a list of what we can get here. If you can help my pick one that's better than the rest I'll be more than grateful.

Chair

I'm using a cheap-but-light IKEA chair, would love to upgrade to a JÄRVFJÄLLET IKEA chair which is currently out of stock in my country. Here's where the inspiration came from.

Next steps

I need to decide if I'm going to get the 16" or wait for a smaller one, then decide on which 4k external monitor I should get. In the meantime I can focus on desk/chair upgrades and get an external keyboard, trackpad, and mic.


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