Standing Desks and Other Office Related Stuff (oh, and I got a new bike)
It's been about 4 months since we were all sent away to work from home during the craziness of COVID-19. In that time, I have been working on a small 1 metre long desk tucked away into the corner of my lounge. I'm enjoying working from home, but this setup has not been particularly comfortable. The desk was too small, and for some reason I've never felt like I can sit comfortably at a desk. I don't know if it's the height, bad chairs or just being too fidgety. I decided it was time to buy a sit/stand desk.
I went with the SANODESK EZ1 off Amazon, which came to £250 with a discount voucher. I my existing desk's top with the one my PDP-11 has been sitting on for the past year, in the loft, giving me an extra 20cm for the sit/stand desk. The desk has a single motor which is on one side of the desk, and a variable length drive shaft for the other side. The height is adjustable from 71cm to 120cm. For sitting, I have it at 71cm, which is just a little taller than the cheap desk legs from IKEA. For standing, I have the height at 111cm, which I find allows my elbows to be at a 90 degree angle.
The trick with standing desks (at least for me), is not to stand still. Wiggle about a bit and stretch when you feel like it - do the things you can't do when you are sitting on a horrible desk chair. I've found that I like to sit in the morning and stand during the afternoon.
Overall the desk seems very good quality, has very little wobble at its highest and was fairly easy to put together. Let's take a look at how it looks in the lounge-turned-home-office. Please excuse Dilbert, he was very adamant that he would be in these photos and sitting on my desk, despite an attempt to move him.
The desks have been moved into the centre of the room. My housemate's desk is just behind mine, which means we get to kick each other accidentally when I'm sitting down. The control panel and display is very nice, and allows you to set four saved positions. I've only set "sit" and "stand".
I've found that monitors are always far too low. It's like office equipment isn't designed for tall people (I'm 188cm tall). I ordered Duronic DM45 100cm pole, and the Duronic Dual DM35P2 monitor arms. This was a little more expensive than I wanted, but most other arms max out at 40cm, which isn't high enough! The DM45 pole also has three wide clamps, which offers more support on the honeycomb-filled but otherwise hollow IKEA desk. The monitors have very little wobble and lean forwards only slightly. Very good purchase!
I had already been using the Logitech M570 trackball mouse for some time now - actually, I have a couple of them. They're absolutely great and have really helped me reduce wrist pain. Using my ThinkPad as the keyboard for the desk has proven a little annoying since it blocks everything behind the screen, while also making cable management difficult (which is actually quite important for a standing desk). I decided to get the Logitech MX Keys keyboard. I've previously always liked my Cherry 6000 MX Blue keyboard, but it's very loud - for me, my housemate, and people in a call. The Logitech MX Keys is a very thin keyboard, but it's angled very nicely and has quite reasonable play. It works via Bluetooth and allows me to switch rapidly between up to three computers (if I wanted to…).
You know when you walk around barefooted and tiny bits stick to your feet off the floor? I hate that, but it's always been a bit problem because we have two messy cats who flick cat litter everywhere. I also dislike brushing the floor more than about once every 2-3 days. The solution…. A cute robot, which we have named Dinky. It's "DEENKEE" branded, but I'm quite sure this is identical to the one sold by "Bagotte". He actually does a very good job, and once I secured all loose cables, hasn't gotten stuck too much. He goes between the lounge/office, kitchen and bathroom without issues. I made a quick video showing him in action.
The new bike
For the past four years I have been cycling too and from work every day, without many recreational riding. Lockdown gave me an opportunity to become more confident on the roads, and as mentioned in this post, I got a Garmin 130 around the same time. Both resulted in me cycling around 2900km since March. This absolutely destroyed my Pinnacle Laterite 0 (2018 model). The Laterite 0 has a Tourney groupset and I've always had issues with it. Gears have never fallen into place properly despite my best efforts to index them. I wore down the front rings into sharp teeth. The chain stretched so much that it only makes contact with a few of them at a time. The rear cassette is also a mess. The end product is a bike which no longer works and the chain just skips if you try to push any power what-so-ever.
So, I ordered a new bike. The Cannondale SuperSix EVO 105. As the name implies, it is a full Shimano 105 bike. It has hydraulic 105 disc brakes, 105 shifters, derailleurs and the rest of it. It's mostly carbon fibre I think. I took it out for its first ride tonight and every aspect of it feels smooth. Here's a quick photo I took on my phone:
Anyway, really happy about this bike, hopefully lots of riding to come (and some proper bike maintenance this time…).