Work & Productivity

My Frugal Work From Home Setup

This week finally answered a question I’ve asked myself for years. Could I work from home with my existing Linux hardware and contribute with a team of Mac and Windows users? Well, the answer was yes.

My desk at home with a LInux kernel poster above
A Linux kernel poster above my desk. You can’t tell from this photo but the artwork is a portion of the kernel printed as art.

My Desk

Clockwise left to right my desk is ready for calm productivity

  • Three stacked trays hold an assortment of paper and pocket notebooks. No apps! I take notes the old fashioned way.
  • An ASUS 27″ 1080p monitor, large enough that I can set back several feet and comfortably type or read.
  • An HD Webcam from ThinkPenguin for Zoom calls
  • Assorted items: Phone (mostly ignored spam calls), a router, Tweek FunCo Pop! and a Cylon Raider, the Tardis, a custom mug for my pencils and a Frixion pen.
  • $20 Creative speakers
  • Rocketbook Fusion reusable notebook.
Ubuntu 19.10
My nine year old Sandy Bridge i5-2500K has no problems with the latest software.

Software & Hardware

Although I’m using Lubuntu 19.10 for my Work desktop I also have stock Ubuntu for my Personal desktop.

Lubuntu Desktop
Lubuntu Desktop

Work / Life Balance

A frequent suggestion I kept seeing while researching working from home was to create “hard lines” between work & personal time. Bloggers love to talk about how they set up a home office they never enter after work hours. Well, that just isn’t practical. My wife is also working from home during this crisis, space is limited.

To that end not all hard lines have to be physical, So I installed Lubuntu 19.10 on a spare 14 year old 5600 rpm hard drive just collecting dust in my desktop… and yes, I back it up daily.

Using an Ubuntu variant I still benefit from the same workflow just in a different look and feel. If I want to access work or personal documents I have to reboot into a completely installation along with a different look and feel. This creates just enough of an inconvenience to keep me focused on one while avoiding the other.

Current Status
  • Listening to: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Remote Happy Hour

Since we can’t go out for St Patrick’s Day ☘️ we’re doing the next best thing. Enjoying a remote happy hour with craft beer in our kitchen.

Zarah picked up a six pack of these during her recent trip to Portland. Hoppy and Citrusy not cloudy, not too sweet. Its just missing a piney kick otherwise this world be my idea of a perfect ale.

Rating: ???????????????? 3/4

Work & Productivityaside

Working From Home

Today was my (almost) first full day at home and working remotely. I did head to the office for about two hours for a quick meeting.

A few notes on my day

  • Lubuntu is a fantastic get work done Linux distribution
  • Forgot to check WordPress site health before coding. Had I done that I would have saved two hours of debugging good code.
    • A PHP module that resizes images automatically wasn’t installed which meant my custom post type that generated a cropped image didn’t work.

Zarah and I are both working from home

She’s got the bottom floor and I got the top floor of the house. It’s almost as though we’re coworkers again. Something we haven’t been since college.

The breakroom sink (kitchen) has dishes so I need to get better about cleaning up after myself before I get reported to HR.

Remote happy hour

Jeff, Zarah and I are about to log onto facetime for a quick happy hour beer.

Current Status
  • Listening to: "I Confess" by "The English Beat" on "Special Beat Service (Remastered)"