TMO Workspaces: Dave Hamilton

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Here at The Mac Observer, we’re quite proud of our home Mac (and occasionally PC or Linux) setups, but we’re also incredibly curious about the setups and workflows of other users in our community.

For years we’ve browsed the MacRumors “Post Your Mac Setup” threads and found similar listings, such as LifeHacker’s “Featured Workspace” section. They’ve given us great inspiration for our own setups, and caused a bit of envy as well, but we often find ourselves wanting more. Some listings simply provide only small images or don’t describe the equipment in detail (or at all).

To remedy this and satiate our appetites for awesome Mac setups, we’ve decided to launch “TMO Workspaces,” a new weekly segment in which we’ll highlight a user’s workspace, provide all information on equipment, and give tips on what is useful and what isn’t. Our goal is to go a bit deeper than what we’ve found elsewhere and to give both TMO staff and readers a chance to brag about their amazing setups.

So if you have a sweet setup that you want to share, send high-quality pictures and descriptions to jim@macobserver.com with the subject line “TMO Workspaces” and we’ll be glad to share your creativity with the world!

We’ll start first this week with TMO President and CEO, and Mac Geek Gab host, Dave Hamilton.  

Dave decided late last year to switch to a standing desk setup. He was unsure about wanting to stand full time so he purchased the Ergo Depot Medium Duty Adjustable Height Desk, which is motorized to allow the user to change from standing to sitting-level heights. Although it took him a few days to get used to it, Dave now loves standing while he works and has only lowered the desk to sit four times since he received it.

TMO Workspaces Dave Hamilton

Despite not sitting very often, Dave still recommends an adjustable height desk for users interested in this method of working. With a regular desk, a user can simply adjust the height of their chair to reach a comfortable and ergonomic position. That’s not possible with a standing desk so if you are particularly short or tall, you’ll want to make sure the desk can be adjusted to the proper height. 

On top of the desk, from left to right, is the SpeckTone Retro speaker system. While designed to be an iPod dock, Dave has it connected to his iMac for audio output. The sound, while not great, is good enough for general use and, in Dave’s case, encourages him to look left while listening to Skype conference calls, something that keeps him from getting distracted.

Next is the Apple Magic Mouse, which Dave uses interchangeably with the Magic Trackpad to the right of the keyboard. As a drummer, Dave is nearly ambidextrous and can swap between the two devices as necessary.

In the back, next to the iMac, is a Belkin 6-port USB hub for easy access and convenience and in the center is the iMac itself, a 2011 27-inch 3.4GHz Core i7 with 12GB RAM, and Apple-installed 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD internal drives.

In front of the iMac is a Logitech Cordless Keyboard that’s a bit old but has worked solidly for Dave since he purchased it.

Moving on to the right of the iMac is an original Apple 22” Cinema Display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. Also long in the tooth, the display has worked great for Dave for many years and he finds that it complements his iMac’s display quite well. The display uses the defunct ADC connection so Dave needed to use an ADC to DVI adapter followed by a DVI to Mini DisplayPort adapter to get the signal from the iMac to the Cinema Display. Complicated, yes, but in Dave’s words: “Hey, it works!”

In front of the Cinema Display is a 2012 iPad in an iFrogz iSummit case. The case is a bit thick for Dave’s preference, but it feels solid and the magnets work well. 

As a bonus, below is a picture of Dave’s desk before he committed to purchasing an adjustable height standing desk. For those considering following in Dave’s footsteps, a few well-placed boxes can replicate the standing experience without costing a penny.

TMO Workspaces Dave Hamilton

Have more questions about Dave’s setup? Ask in the comments below! We’ll bring you another TMO staff member’s setup next week but there aren’t that many of us so please send an email to jim@macobserver.com if you’d like your setup featured in the future!

Comments

Pat Mahon

If you look out the window I think you can see Durham, New Hampshire smile

Seriously though, sweet setup and a fun idea for a series of articles.

Aftermac

When do pictures need to be submitted by for the feature next week? I need to tidy up a bit, but I’d like to submit a few pics of my setup(s). I’m starting to wrap up a 2 year remodeling project on my basement office. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 Apple computers and 80 computers total. Not everything has been organized yet, though.

Jim Tanous

When do pictures need to be submitted by for the feature next week?

Feel free to send them whenever it’s convenient for you. There’s no rush; if they’re not in time for next week we’ll post them the following week. smile

Substance

I love the concept of this column and I’m glad you decided to start with a staff member.  I’d love to see more of the staff member setups before we get to the readers (and @Aftermac’s setup sounds like it’s going to be awesome).  Also I respect that you cited and linked to your sources of inspiration.  Very classy.

mlvezie

Also long in the tooth, the display has worked great for Dave for many years and he finds that it compliments his iMac?s display quite well.

Don’t you find the Cinema Display’s constant “Nice display, iMac… iMac, may I say that is a fine display… Oh, well displayed there, iMac, good show…” distracting?

Unless you really mean that it complements it.

Two other questions.

1, what happened to the microphone?

2, what’s in the jar (or do I want to know)?

Jim Tanous

Unless you really mean that it complements it.

Haha! Nice catch, mlvezie!

I’ve corrected the error. Well, I’ve never been in Dave’s house so I suppose the Cinema Display COULD spend its days fawning over the fancy iMac smile

Dave Hamilton

I guess I owe a few replies here. First, Jim, thank you VERY much for prodding me to get this done.

@Aftermac, I feel your pain… it took me nearly 5 months to clean up my desk enough to take this pic for the article. Hint: it doesn’t take nearly as long as you think it would, and there are lasting benefits. wink

@Pat Yep, that’s Durham, New Hampshire out the window alright. THe view from my office actually looks sideways across our property, so I’m looking at the side of our house and our front yard (with the driveway in between) all day. That, plus the sliding door to the right of my desk provides a very light, bright place to work.

@mlvezie Yes, the Cinema Display is quite jealous of the iMac and, since the iMac is what drives it, the CD figures it better brownnose as much as possible. Thankfully it has a volume slider. wink

I use the internal microphone in my iMac for Skype. The studio is actually upstairs right above me, so I now realize we have a need for a second submission from me. smile

Lastly, there is a sample in the jar.

Aftermac

(and @Aftermac?s setup sounds like it?s going to be awesome).

Hopefully, it can live up to the hype. smile I wish I had the space to set them all up, but if I can get 15 - 20 setup and the rest on display and able to be swapped in, that would be ideal. For example, there’s not much of a call for all of my compact Mac’s to be setup at once, but a couple would be nice. A number of them need cap jobs, as well… Ultimately, I’d like to be able to run any piece of Apple or Mac software ever written, on native hardware, at a moments notice.

@Aftermac, I feel your pain? it took me nearly 5 months to clean up my desk enough to take this pic for the article. Hint: it doesn?t take nearly as long as you think it would, and there are lasting benefits. wink

Hopefully, a few nights of work after getting the kids to bed, and I’ll be able to snap some good pics. smile

Scott B in DC

Hey Dave… It only took you five months to “clean up?” Gee… I wish it took me 5 months to clean up. I’ve been trying o clean up my office since last November. I can’t get ahead of it!

But the 27-inch iMac and 18-inch PowerBook does take center stage amongst the piles of papers and collectibles.

LowEndDan

I have two of those old Logitech Wireless Keyboards, and they just keep on working forever. I retired one about 2 years ago for a wired USB 2.0 Macally iKeySlim keyboard, the other one today for an ancient Macally iKey keyboard. The only reason was for the USB ports on the new keyboards, not due to any failing of the Logitech Wireless Keyboards. You see, Macs never have enough built-in USB ports….

Very nice office, Dave. Someday we’ll have to do the same thing at Low End Mac.

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