A Year Behind The Rebel Desk

About a year ago I purchased a Rebel Desk adjustable sit/stand desk. In my now more desk-bound working life this was the first step in a plan to help me be healthier and happier in my home office.

I’ll begin with an admission of sorts; the events of my past have left me quite spoiled with respect to workspaces. Early in my career I was a television editor. Technically, an “online”editor…at a point in time when such editing suites were custom built to accommodate the technology of the day. Further, it happens that I had a hand in building and/or renovating several facilities. As a consequence, at least twice my workspaces were in fact made-to-order. Of course, that was only possible when funded by other people’s money.

In general the sit/stand desk has been a good thing. It has helped to address my tendency to fidget part-way through the day. I now have a habit of cranking the desk up for certain activities, down for others.

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Hear me! For I Am The Lord Of Darkness!

vader-helmetIn the house Stella mostly gets to decide matters of décor. In contrast, in the garage apartment that serves as my office I alone am the master of all things! <evil>HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!</evil>

Recently, I was reminded of the law of unintended consequences. For you see, earlier this year I was annoyed by the ancient ceiling fan in my office. It had the most unbelievably squeaky bearings. It simply had to go!

About that time I had a small credit with Amazon, so I ordered what seemed like a suitable new ceiling fan. The new one was very much like the old one. The primary difference was that the old one included a lamp. The new one, while blissfully silent, doesn’t.

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A Microphone Deep Dive: Part 1 – Frequency Response

Last week, in response to Chris Koehncke’s blog post, I set about creating a couple of sample recordings to support my belief that a headset trumps a laptop’s built-in microphone. Along the way I came to a couple of realizations, or perhaps I should say remembrances, of things that I hadn’t thought about in a long while. There are numerous subtleties to the matter of microphones.

SONY DSC

Microphones, like most things, are built to address specific applications. There are microphones for recording studios. Microphones for stage performers. Microphones for board rooms. Microphones for mobile phones. Even a microphone for that cheesy tape recorder that you bought at Radio Shack back in the 1980’s when it was still a great gadget shop.

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Kranky & Krankier?

Statler and Waldorf
“Statler and Waldorf” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Chris Koehncke (aka Chris Kranky) recently posed a question in a blog post. He asked, “How good is your laptop microphone?” He then laid out an experimental series of recordings using different hardware. As an executive summary he offers, “Your current internal laptop mic is probably fine.” As you might imagine, I disagree…but there’s more to it than that.

In truth, it’s not that he’s wrong, but I think that he was asking the wrong question! The question he should have asked is, “How do I best convey my voice when using this laptop?”

The answer to that question is quite simple…use a high-quality headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone. When participating in any kind of conference call, or video conference nothing can touch the quality of sound delivered by using a good headset. This has long been my belief, although I accept that it may not be a widespread.
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Tidbits: Small things that make SOHO life just a little better

As I’ve been doing a little tidying up hereabouts I’ve stumbled across a few little things that have become part of how I do things. These are little items that make life in a home office just a little better.

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User Experience: T-Mobile’s Continental Plans

TMobile-Phones-CoOmpositeEarlier this year T-Mobile altered their US Simple Choice Plans to include coverage in Canada and Mexico without roaming charges. The plans eliminate roaming while out of the country, but also eliminate international long distance when calling Canada and Mexico. Further, they include “4G LTE data in Canada & Mexico.” Since we go to Canada to visit family at least once a year the new plan sounded quite useful.

Change is hard…

Last month we made our annual trek to the Great White North. While making plans an associate, who is also a T-Mobile customer, recommended that I call T-Mobile and make sure that we had the correct plan. Failure to do so would result in us incurring the usual roaming charges for platinum-plated voice and data service while travelling.

On the very eve of our departure I remembered to call T-Mobile and make the change to the account. In fact, I called from the airport (IAH) while we were awaiting the departure of our initial flight to Toronto.

Of course, I called the from my mobile phone. The automated system advised that there would be some on-hold time, and I could opt to have them call me back, which I did. The callback took about ten minutes.

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