How to create the perfect home office - Part 2 - The equipment and software

After you get your furniture right, the next step is setting up all your equipment. For me, my desk revolves around three computers. My desktop which is really just there in case I get the urge to game. My Mac for pretty much everything non-work related. And my work laptop.

The Hardware

There are only two things that matter to me with hardware. Number of wires and awesomeness. I am not going to go into too much depth regarding my hardware decisions, just a couple of pointers that helped make my home office sweet.

For the computer decision, go with laptops or all-in-ones for all non gaming activities. Desktops should only be needed if you need ultimate performance. If you want to read about my MacBook Pro, I have already posted a good amount on it. I highly recommend it.

The Epson Workforce 610 is a great printer to add to your home office. It is an all-in-one that works on Mac and Windows and only requires a power cord. The wireless on it is easy to setup and I haven’t had a single problem out of it. (It is important to note I print maybe 2 pages a week and scan 1 page a month. I am not a power printer user, so I can’t speak to how it holds up under heavy load).

The other key piece of hardware for an office is wireless routers. I highly recommend buying variants of the Linksys WRT54G. With a quick firmware upgrade to DD-WRT you have a whole slew of networking options at your fingertips.

The Software

What I bet you didn’t realize was how important software is in your home office. Software can replace hardware and wires. How you ask?

Synergy is a software KVM (it is actually much more than that but for the purposes of your home office, it makes having multiple computers a breeze). Now you don’t need multiple keyboards or KVM’s with ridiculous amounts of wires going everywhere.

If you have an external hard-drive, I have news for you: you don’t need it anymore! Jungle Disk + Cloud Files gives you cheap, unlimited storage. Yes I work for Rackspace, but I was a Jungle Disk customer long before they joined our team. I have had hard drive failures, multiple reformats and numerous computers. Jungle Disk has helped me through it all.

Future improvements

Even though I claimed my home office is perfect, which it is, it has some improvements I want to make.

Connect360 helps share media between your Mac and XBox 360. Windows supports sharing with an XBox 360 out of the box, but it is lacking on a Mac without this piece of software.

The speakers I have are 10 years old (which doesn’t bother me) but it has 7 wires for 6 different pieces of equipment. Too much. I’m thinking the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless Speakers are the way to go. There are only 3 wires (none going into your computer) and 4 components.

My keyboard is wired. Not a big deal, but one less wire is always nice. I like the Logitech Unifying system but I might just go with the Mac periphials. (I want somthing a little ergnomic but finding a cool ergo keyboard is pretty hard).