TMO Workspaces: Ted Landau

Welcome back to 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.

If you’d like your workspace featured on TMO Workspaces, just send high-quality pictures and descriptions of your equipment to jim@macobserver.com with the subject line “TMO Workspaces”.

This week, we’ll be taking a look at Mac Observer and Macworld senior contributor Ted Landau.

Ted Landau Workspace

Ted has a handsome custom-designed desk by Techline, as well as matching storage in a converted closet behind the desk (more on that, below).

From left to right on Ted’s desk is a handy desk lamp for nighttime work followed by a Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo, which Ted uses to create labels for envelopes and other assorted purposes. Conveniently, the LabelWriter can also print stamps.

In front of the LabelWriter is Ted’s portable workstation, his 2010 2.13 GHz C2D 13-inch MacBook Air. Used almost exclusively for travel, Ted occasionally finds his Air useful as a secondary testbed for trying out new software before he risks installing it on his primary Mac. In that spirit, the Air is currently running the OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview.

Next to the Air is Ted’s 2012 iPad, of the 64 GB Verizon variety, which has become his portable device of choice for staying connected while moving around the house. It’s also used at the desk for testing out new iOS apps and for the occasional game break.

Ted has two displays for his primary Mac, a 24-inch Samsung LCD monitor on the left and a 24-inch Apple Cinema Display on the right. He uses the Cinema Display as the primary monitor and the Samsung as a secondary monitor for keeping tabs on email, Twitter, and Skype.

Ted Landau Workspace

All of this is controlled with Apple’s Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and a Magic Trackpad

Hiding behind the Cinema Display is an OTA antenna that’s connected to an Elgato EyeTV tuner. With the tuner and the corresponding EyeTV software, Ted can watch and record free ATSC HD television right on his Mac. For faster encoding and conversion of those television programs, Ted has the Elgato turbo.264 HD USB stick that offloads h.264 encoding to its onboard processor so that he can convert TV shows without slowing down his Mac.

Flanking the Cinema Display are two flat-panel Monsoon Speakers which, when combined with a companion subwoofer (hidden in the dark under the desk), produce great sound. They’re a bit old at this point but they still work great and Ted has no plans to replace them. 

Controlling all this is Ted’s primary Mac, a 2009 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro, which sits under his desk. Feeling the need for speed, Ted installed a 128GB SSD in the Pro to run OS X, while the remaining three drive bays are filled with traditional hard drives for data storage. Even more storage is provided by two LaCie external hard drives that sit on top of the Pro, with one used for media storage and the other acting as a backup of the first drive. 

To the right of Cinema Display is an electronic scale that works in conjunction with the above-mentioned Dymo LabelWriter to determine the weight and postage amounts of mailed documents. 

A Panasonic cordless phone sits next to the scale. The phone has Bluetooth capability allowing Ted to answer calls both on the main landline as well as those that come into his iPhone while he’s at his desk. 

Next is a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M document scanner, one the most used devices in Ted’s office. Ted prefers keeping digital copies of all the paper that comes into his office and anything that doesn’t need to be left in the original can be quickly scanned and converted to PDF while the pesky paper goes to the recycling bin. 

Like many TMO staffers, Ted has a bit of musical spirit in him and so he uses the M-Audio USB Digital Keyboard located behind the desk to have some occasional fun with apps like GarageBand.

Ted Landau Workspace

Moving on to the converted closet, in the far back corner Ted has a SunPower Wi-Fi unit that allows him to monitor the energy generated by solar panels installed on the roof of his home. Next to that is a 2TB Western Digital MyBook Studio external hard drive used primarily for Time Machine backups. 

Then comes an AirPort Extreme Base Station, which acts as the central hub for Ted’s home network. The Airport works together with a mostly-hidden Cisco 8-port gigabit Ethernet switch, supplying hard-wired connections to most of his home.

Internet access is provided by a Motorola SURFboard cable modem which is connected to Comcast’s internet network. Ted highly recommends that cable internet customers purchase their modem independently, as he did, to avoid paying a perpetual monthly fee to the ISP.

Next is the large HP LaserJet 4000N printer, one of the oldest components in Ted’s office. Despite its age, the printer is still going strong; “I may never replace it,” Ted says. 

Adjacent to the LaserJet is a Canon MP990 all-in-one inkjet printer and scanner. This is Ted’s go-to printer for color output, and the scanner comes in handy when the item he needs to scan can’t be fed through the ScanSnap’s document feeder, such as a page in a book. 

Tucked in next to the Canon is a digital answering machine for Ted’s landline. While many folks are dropping landlines and answering machines, Ted still prefers the traditional approach over the voicemail services provided by the telcos.

Next is an older model Panasonic Fax machine. Ted would love to dump it, but some businesses still insist on faxing documents so it stays in Ted’s office out of necessity.

Finally, on the far right is a Blue Snowball microphone and, hidden behind it, a Plantronics USB digital headset. Ted uses both for podcasting, although he finds himself wearing the Plantronics headset more often.

Of course, we couldn’t end this segment without mentioning the other frequent inhabitants of Ted’s office, his two cats who love to hang out behind his monitors.

Ted Landau's Cats

Have questions about Ted’s awesome home office? Ask in the comments below! Meanwhile, 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!

Previous TMO Workspaces:

TMO’s Dave Hamilton