In the home office reorganization, I've tried to upgrade a bit while also trying to be conservative in both money spent and impact to the environment in the form of things recycled, repurposed, reused if possible.
I retired the ancient (but still working well -- just too damn slow for me) Compaq tower computer. I donated it to ReSOURCE, along with some various and sundry other old electronics. I kept the non-interlaced monitor I had, bought a new keyboard and mouse, and repurposed the older 17-inch laptop, to turn it into the new "desktop" home computer.
The original plan was to place it under the monitor stand (which is also a new purchase), where it looked all clean and sleek and nifty and neat, but that didn't work because I have to lift the lid to turn it on. My new rule is to ALWAYS turn the computers off at night in order to save electricity, and so after only one night, I discovered that my original plan was not going to work. It's a big pain in the butt to pull it out from there and lift the lid to push the "on" button, because of the tugging of the cables and such. So it sits on the side.
This laptop has had nine lives. It was my deposition laptop for a few years. Its motherboard died and was replaced (under warranty). In January 2007, when I first started doing CART at UVM, it was my CART laptop until the hard drive died. I had to buy a new, smaller laptop for CART, but I had the hard drive replaced on this one (under extended warranty) and used it at home. It has a really big screen and is great for watching movies, but it's kind of cumbersome to lug around for CART. Last year the extended warranties all ran out, and immediately (of course) the wireless internet card died. I opted not to get that replaced, and now just use it with the ethernet cable. I hope I have not done a stupid thing here by sending the old sturdy and reliable, albeit slow, Compaq tower away, and kept this one that has had such a checkered past, but it is definitely a big improvement in performance. It runs good old Windows XP Professional, and it isn't used all that much, so I hope it will serve a good purpose for a while.
In my remote CART work, I like to run two laptops simultaneously. There is a lot going on at one time, and my brain wants to go on overload if it's all going on on one computer. Having two laptops set up, doing discrete things, helps me to better compartmentalize. So I set up two: One for receiving the remote audio and for chatting with my remote student and the A/V team there, as well as monitoring the live stream as seen exactly as my student sees it. The second laptop has my steno system running, and the linking software to send it to the streaming website that my student logs into and receives my CART transcript as it is being written.
See? I told you a lot was going on!
So once again, I have been maybe a bit too minimalist in my setup in the past. I made it through the spring semester, and part of the summer semester, with my two laptops sitting side by side, cables all ajumble, with my prep materials and the class calendar piled around me somewhere, just making the best of it and trying not to trip on anything when I stood up. I knew that I would like it better if one of the laptops was raised higher than the other. Again, it helps to prioritize events, helps me to feel mentally calm and organized.
In the spring, I handed down my high-volume mega-printer to Abigail, who needed a better, faster, more reliable printer for law school. I (sing it with me) am no longer a courrrrrt reporrrrrterrrrrr, and so I can get by with the other cheap, low-volume, household type of multi-function scanner/fax/printer now. Getting rid of the printer on steroids freed up a lot of space on my work table.
I was able to accomplish this without spending any new money. That riser or stand, or whatever you want to call it, was a part of the other desk where the "home computer" resides (which is right next to me in my home office). The old tower computer used to sit on this thing, on the floor. I just put it on my desk/table for my second laptop, and there's room to organize other stuff such as the wireless router and the Netgear box I have for splitting the ethernet cable into four, and other stuff and nonsense like that. Awesomely better!
I got rid of some other superfluous things, such as my older iPod...
...that I never use since I replaced it with one of those wonderful little newer Nano ones, and my older digital camera. I sold them both at Gazelle. $24 for the camera and $31 for the iPod. Not a lot of money, but something for my troubles, and it gets it out of my space and gets to someone else who can use it while it still has some useful life left in it. I've still got unopened boxes of 3-inch diskettes and other old crap to get rid of, but I'm chipping away at things.
So now I'm all ready for my fancy new chair and Happy Place Headphones to arrive, and then, BRING ON THE WORK!
In the process of all this, I stumbled upon something that made me a little bit weepy with nostalgia: