Or…I have way too much kit.
In the way of an overgrown spoilt child, I had justified to myself the need for a new computer. Apple released the M1 chip, and the benchmarks were incredible. I could shop at the bottom of the range, and get myself a machine more than capable of everything I might need. Awesome.
Bring me a Mac mini. Immediately.
Apple gladly took my money, and delivered me a shiny new box. This new box was going to replace my MacBook Pro, and be my main workstation. In effect, the new box would replace my MBP which was actually working as a box.
It did. It’s awesome.
However - I hadn’t read the small print. The new box will power two external monitors, just not my two external monitors. Oh. I had bought dongles and cables to make sure this would work, but as ever, a little knowledge is dangerous. Turns out, USB C to HDMI works, but HDMI to USB C does not.
My kit is sourced from Apple in the UK, the geography making returns a trial. So, how can I make this work?
My old desk.
Here were two monitors, docks, drives and peripherals. A microphone on a boom, and a boom for my iPhone to act as webcam. It’s all a bit “tech”, and when I wanted to hand-write a note, I quickly ran out of space.
Now - I have the monitor, a key board and a mouse. Cable-free. I write at this computer. I’m writing at it now. “Jobby-job” stuff happens here too.
However - audio/video stuff doesn’t. Podcasting, Teams calls, Zoom calls, - they all happen on the MBP, which is on a shelf behind me. I have a standing mat there.
This has been a revelation. Standing is better for audio, I’m more animated and energised, but the real win is the ability to split function. I’m experimenting with this. I’m not sure how it’s going to work - but already, my desk is clearer, and I have space to write my journals.
Tempting though it is to have the two computers mirror each other, I have begun the process of establishing on mini as the filer server. Making the MBP, digitally lighter and more agile.
Change of scene
Remember when we could go work for a couple of hours in a coffee shop? I’m convinced that’s not a great idea right now - so I try to recreate the feeling at home. An hour in the kitchen is a change of scene, and makes me feel less sequestered. With my embarrassment of iPads and the power of iCloud syncing, I have no difficulty working there, or even on the terrace when the weather allows.
iPad Magic Keyboard
I had resisted these when they came out. At the time, I was using the iPad Pro as a mini-desktop, with a bluetooth keyboard. Now though, it is a mobile setup - for the couch or the kitchen table. It’s great. Weighty, for sure, but the integrated trackpad and stability make for splendid functionality.
I drafted this post at the weekend. On Tuesday, I noticed that my MacBook Pro was not sitting properly on its stand. Something is trying to bust out of the bottom of the macbook! The battery, I suspect. In its defence, it’s working fine, but bad batteries do correlate with fires and bangs, so I have taken it out of service. As I write - Apple tells me that I’m liable to pay €300+ to replace the cell. Hmmm…I’m not sure that’s right. Watch this space.