TMO Workspaces: John Martellaro

Welcome back to yet another edition of TMO Workspaces, a new weekly segment in which we highlight a user’s workspace, provide detailed 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.

This week, we’re taking a look at The Mac Observer’s Senior Editor, John Martellaro.

Martellaro Workspace 1

John’s office is the central hub of his digital life, from which he brings us great weekly columns and reviews, keeps up with Twitter, and roams the internet looking for the next big thing.

On the left is John’s 3rd Generation Verizon iPad protected by an iLuv Flexi Gel case, borrowed from John’s previous iPad 2. Due to the 3rd Gen iPad’s slightly thicker design, the case is snug, but still fits. In fact, John prefers the tighter fit, as it keeps the edges of the case taut to the device’s corners.

The iPad is propped up on a Keynamics iPad stand and has a dedicated Apple Bluetooth keyboard for situations in which John needs to enter text while at his desk.

Behind the iPad on the left of the desk is the visible half of a Logitech X-140 speaker system. The right speaker is behind the iMac on the right of the desk.

To the right of the Logitech speaker is John’s new Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect that replaces his old land line.

Moving on to John’s computing setup, his primary system is a 2010 27-inch i7 iMac with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. One of John’s favorite tools is smcFanControl, allowing him to manually adjust the iMac’s fan speeds and keep temperatures in check, especially during the warm summer months.

John’s secondary display is a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display with a resolution of 1920-by-1200. It’s connected to the iMac via a DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

John happens to be a Hewlett-Packard Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) calculator “nutcase.” He owns more than a dozen models from the 1970s, so it’s no surprise to find one of his favorites, the HP-35s, on his desk. He uses it for quick calculations and conversions. Take that, Calculator app!

Between the displays, just barely visible, is an Other World Computing (OWC) 750 GB Mercury Elite Pro external hard drive with a FireWire 800 interface used for Time Machine backups.

In front of the hard drive is a Blue Yeti USB microphone that John uses for Skype, podcasts, and interviews. To the right of the Yeti, tucked under the iMac, is a Belkin 4-port USB 2.0 hub.

Resting directly under the iMac is a soft pouch containing the olloClip Lens Kit that John attaches to his iPhone for macro shots of products for reviews. In front of the iMac is the standard wired Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and a wooden ruler John’s wife picked up in New Zealand. John uses it for measuring products as well as placing it next to products in photographs so that readers can get an accurate idea of scale.

To the right of the keyboard is a Logitech V470 Bluetooth Laser Mouse. John prefers the feel and operation of the Logitech mouse to his old Apple Magic Mouse, and he gets the best of both worlds by pairing it with a Magic Trackpad to take advantage of Lion’s gestures.

Finally, at the far right is John’s AT&T iPhone 4S, cradled in a Keynamics iPhone stand.

Martellaro Workspace 2

To the left of John’s desk is his data and communications center. In the lower left is John’s Hewlett-Packard HP-97 calculator, a relic from graduate school. It still computes, but the printing function stopped working years ago.

Behind the HP-97 is the SonicWall TZ-170 router with hardware firewall and resting on top of the SonicWall is a Cisco/Linksys 8-port gigabit switch, providing Cat 5 connections to John’s and his wife’s offices, living room and master bedroom.

Household wireless connections are provided by an Airport Extreme, sitting to the right of router and switch, configured for 2.4 GHz 802.11n operation.

DIrectly in front of the AirPort is a Brookstone “atomic clock” that syncs via radio signals to U.S. national clocks located in Boulder, CO. The clock is complemented by a wireless temperature gauge, providing John with temperature conditions both inside and outside of his home.

To the right of the thermometer is a Zeiss microscope and binocular system that John acquired in Darmstadt, Germany years ago. It’s configured as a stereo microscope in the photo but, when taken apart, it becomes a nice pair of roof prism 8x20B binoculars.

The black box to the right of the microscope/binocs is a Scientific Atlanta DPC2100R2 cable modem provided by John’s ISP and cable provider, Comcast. It doesn’t support DOCSIS 3 and IPv6, so John’s hoping for an upgrade when those technologies are deployed to his service area.

Next is a Microcell provided gratis by AT&T due to the carrier’s truly awful 3G service coverage in John’s neighborhood. While some folks have had bad luck with Microcells, John’s works great, giving him decent reception throughout the house and yard.

Finally, on the far right is a Panasonic cordless phone configured to use Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect, mentioned above, bypassing the home’s original phone wiring.

All of this is powered and protected by two APC uninterruptible power supplies under the table, with one powering the data and communications equipment and the other supplying the computer hardware.

Our pet-loving tradition continues, and we couldn’t forget to mention John’s feline family members Maximus (black and white, right) and Saphira (pastel calico, left). Four-year-old Maximus, a.k.a. “Max,” is named after a mythical dragon while the five-year-old peripatetic Saphira, a.k.a “Saffy,” also named after a winged fire-breather, is seen here in one of the few photos she consented to remain still for.

Martellaro Workspace Cats

Have questions for John? Ask in the comments below! Meanwhile, if you have a sweet setup that you want to share, send high-quality pictures and descriptions to [email protected] with the subject line “TMO Workspaces” and we’ll be glad to share your creativity with the world!

Previous TMO Workspaces:

TMO’s Dave Hamilton
TMO’s Ted Landau
Jason “aftermac”