nilFM

computers

Home office setup

Here are data regarding my computing devices, their basic setups, and my go-to computing accessories. My hope is that someone reading this might find inspiration for their setup or learn of new software or hardware configurations.

ksatrya

ksatrya is a first generation Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon. I've had it since November 2019 and it is my main computer.

the machine itself during surgery desktop environment

Stats

Notes

I really like this machine. After handling lots of laptops when I worked at a computer repair shop in Maine, I don't regret my decision to get this laptop at all. The keyboard is comfortable, it has three mouse buttons above the trackpad, which is a nice plus, the specs are powerful enough for all my needs, and the hardware is supported out of the box on any OS I throw at it.

The battery has seen better days, but since the machine mostly stays on my desk that's not the worst thing. Still, it's below 50% of manufactured capacity, so it's time to shop for a new battery soon.

Ergonomically, I've gone from using the laptop standalone on my desk most of the time, through a phase of using it with all external peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse), but my cheap keyboard and mouse really start to hurt my wrists after a few hours. Now I'm rocking the middle-ground of using the built-in keyboard and trackpad (but using the trackstick's three mouse buttons instead of the all-in-one trackpad buttons built into the clickable pad) with an external monitor. This allows me to have my hands flat on the keyboard, not have to crane my arm around to use the mouse, and keep my eyes level in front of me instead of looking down at the laptop screen.

See also, desktop software I typically use.

yggdrasil

yggdrasil is a Dell Precision T3600. It's our household desktop computer and has been with us since 2018. It mostly serves now as a gaming and media center, but was a development powerhouse before ksatrya came on the scene.

the machine itself during surgery desktop environment

Stats

Notes

Performance of the Xeon and the RX 560 are great with the AMDGPU driver for most of the games I play on this thing. Depending on the game/emulator/platform (wine or native) OpenGL or Vulkan is better. Metroid Prime 2 choked on the stock Quadro 600, but on the RX 560 with Vulkan it flies.

The USB3 support on this machine's BIOS is wanked -- it can't boot from USB3 because USB3 is not supported natively by the BIOS. It initializes USB3 as USB2 and then muxes it to USB3 when the OS loads USB3 drivers. The power consumption of this machine is not great. Overall it is comparable to an Xbox Series X or PS5, although it spends most of every day powered completely off, so time-averaged power consumption is lower.

See also, desktop software I typically use.

muon

muon is my cell phone, an Alcatel Insight 5005R. After my Blackberry Priv died, I needed a phone quickly that could give me a 4G LTE hotspot. In an uncharacteristic but opportunistic purchase, I scored it at Walmart for $40. After some customization it turns out to be a decent phone, and I'm keeping it going as long as I can.

the phone itself

Stats

Notes

Whether it's a vendor-specific power management function or a feature of Android 9 GO I have to manually start apps like Signal and FairEmail before notifications start coming in, and I had to whitelist them with adb to keep doze from killing them from the background after a period of inactivity. The camera sucks, I have to use Open Camera's full ISO and exposure control to get good pictures out of it.

computing accessories

GUNNAR Optiks Cyber

My blue-light glasses

These protect my eyes from the high frequency photons constantly emitted by computer screens. Even with a lower color temperature set on the device, these help immensely, especially when programming for long hours. They are comfortable and decently durable considering their lighteweight design. The temples are attached by integrated pressure springs.

The cylindrical wooden case from Ocean Reef is a great bit of armor for these, so I can drop them into my go-bag no sweat -- my wife got it for me as a gift since the glasses only came with the microfiber pouch, and it is wonderful.

Crucial X8 1TB External SSD

My X8 external SSD

This external SSD holds my main media library on a ZFS pool and a 250GB Windows Partition which mostly exists to play Phantasy Star Online 2. Read and write speeds are excellent with this device, and it's exteremly rugged and portable.

Western Digital Elements 2TB External HDD

My cold storage external HDD

Backups go here. I use kyanite to backup home directories and my media library onto an encrypted ZFS pool with redundant files hard-linked to save space. It stays inside of a small cardboard box amidst some tissue paper to stay safe and cozy.

Afterglow Wired PS3 Controller

My wired PS3 controller

My favorite game controller is this cheap biz from Afterglow. It's comfy, responsive, and it's lasted through some travelling and traumatic drops. Great for all kinds of emulators, and PC games which don't support it natively can use tools to remap it to key/mouse input or map it to a virtual XInput controller. It's wired, so no batteries required.

Happy Plugs

Best earbuds ever

I scored these headphones in the student store at UC Davis and I loved them so much I bought a second pair when I lost the first. They're very comfortable, the sound quality is great, and they work well for hands free calling and voice chat for gaming. I even used them when I worked in IT support over a real over-ear headset.

I store them in an old tea tin.

cool builds

Here are a few builds I really like: