If you're like me, you sit in front of a computer all day long writing about how you sit in front of a desk all day long sometimes. And working on stuff in between. As such, comfort is important in order to reduce the amount of time being wasted and increase levels of productivity. At previous jobs I normally just work with what I have whether it be a laptop with 1gb of RAM and a battery life of 1.5 hours or an outdated PC that shuts off at 5pm daily. And that definitely causes huge problems when trying to get things done. At home, it's different. It's your own projects,ideas,decisions,bad decisions that go down throughout the day. This is how I get my work done when I'm at home. I've been using each of these items for years now and have no complaints as of yet.
ASUS UL30A-X5 Thin and Light 13.3-Inch Black Laptop
I purchased this laptop about 4 years ago and added a few upgrades along the way. I installed Windows 8 and popped in a 128GB SSD, which makes a huge difference. Boot times come in under 10 seconds and shut off time under 5. It's a light machine with a great screen and gets the job done. The audio quality is fantastic and the whole thing comes in a small form factor and minimal weight. Very little lag on the many tasks that I do daily (100+ Chrome Tabs). Not the fastest CPU but it hasn't posed a problem as of yet. Several instances of Visual Studio and Sql Server MS easily run without fail. This version came with 4GB of RAM, 2 of which are dedicated to the OS itself, but rarely does it go past 3. If it ever needed more it's nice to know I can just pick up a few sticks pop them in and be good to go.
I'm not a fan of the belief that more expensive is better. I know people that spend 1600+$ on new laptops when all their job requires is replying to emails and an occasional Skype call. I only look for 4 things when buying a laptop. Screen size (I prefer smaller), RAM (4+), CPU (as long as it's not a terrible one) and overall weight. Storage space isn't a big deal as much of my work is on the cloud. With just those 4 factors I reduce the amount of options I have when purchasing a new machine and usually I can find a decent computer for under 700$.
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
A good keyboard is crucial to a productive work day. I used to have a problem with the number of errors in my typing. Higher error percentage than what I wanted. I love the keys on this model as they're not very loud and give just the right amount of feedback. Soon after receiving it I noticed that my accuracy went up significantly, to the point that I realized I don't suck as much. Now onto the best part. It's solar powered. My old wireless keyboard took 2 AAA batteries and required new ones roughly about 3-5 weeks. I'm not too sure if that's the norm for wireless keyboards, but it definitely puts a huge hindrance in your work when you have to keep buying or recharging batteries. The keyboard also features a handy status button that loads onto your desktop the amount of light currently being captured by the panels. Very neat feature. Although it comes at a heftier price point than most other wireless keyboards, it pays for itself in the long run. With absolutely no light source coming in, it can run for a few months off the full charge, but the odds of it being in that type of environment..is just not likely.
Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse M705 With 3-year Battery Life
The last mouse you'll ever need. Mixed with a rechargeable battery and you will never think twice about it, which is how it should be. I've had the M705 for two years now and it's still going strong, no new battery required just yet. Overall the mouse has a good feel, it's responsive, the low profile USB receiver doesn't get in the way and the scroll wheel is blazing fast. One of the best features is the Logitech Unifying USB Receiver.
That little piece allows up to 6 different compatible Logitech devices to run off of one single receiver freeing up those much needed USB ports. Just install the software, turn off and on your device and it is automatically added to that USB receivers profile. Very cool feature. I have mine paired up with that awesome keyboard just above here.
Asus VS238H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED-Lit LCD Monitor
For those times when I need to be "productive" I have an external monitor. I didn't want anything too big as my desk space is limited and I didn't want anything smaller than 23 inch, as my previous 19 started to look like my tablet. Not much to say here, great monitor at a good price. The model I chose comes without built in speakers, however it is offered as an option. It's more than enough for day to day work and the occasional Netflix movie, although playing console games on it is a bit more strenuous on the old eyes.
Acer C720 Chromebook
I maintain much of my work on Google Drive nowadays as its the easiest way for me to share work with other people and of course its free. As such, I needed a smaller laptop to carry with me, but at the same time wanted something with a good display, good keyboard and reasonable price. You can read what I think about this Chromebook here. But to summarize, it's a great machine that fills in the gaps that my laptop leaves behind. It's lighting fast, incredibly light and it gets to the point. Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Chrome and I'm set.
On top of the necessary items there's also a slew of other accessories that I use daily that I'll summarize here. I use a Bamboo Touch Tablet every now and then to either jot down ideas quickly or to practice my drawing skills in the hopes that one day I too can draw a decent stick figure. I have tons of 32GB SanDisk flash drives lying around that I picked up during various sales, each with its own purpose. I have several Seagate external drives that I also picked up during sales that I use for monthly backups, because you can never be too safe.
Having the right tools to get the job done makes your job that much more enjoyable. At previous jobs I've always had to deal with less than lackluster equipment and at the end of the day, you're kind of glad to finally get away from it. With my current setup at home, I've yet to feel that way. I can work to all hours of the night and still want to keep going. Feng shuing the place up a bit definitely has its benefits. With that I hope I was able to highlight a few items that I find highly useful for anyone who spends their hours working away on the ol' computer.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
Stay up to date
Sign up for my FREE newsletter. Get informed of the latest happenings in the programming world.