back to article Pimp my office: 10 cubicle comforts

Office equipment invariably goes through years of abuse and is often consigned to landfill only after a strategic coffee spill brings about a lethal end to a troublesome or antiquated device. In more enlightened environs, the idea of a kit refresh from time to time isn’t an alien concept, but there is an inclination for simply …

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  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Phillips monitor

    I can sort of see why some people would find it benefical, but being nagged to sit 10cm closer to the screen all the time would just drive me to throwing the monitor out of the window.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Phillips monitor

      Rather than have the monitor nag the user to "sit ten centimetres closer", the monitor should move towards the user.... The monitor is failing to grasp who is serving who!

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Phillips monitor

        Now THAT I would buy! I'd definately buy that for a dollar!

        1. big_D Silver badge

          And 4K?

          The two monitors from LG were an extra wide 1080p a normal QHD panel, neither of them come anywhere near 4K!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Phillips monitor

        I can see how this would play out...

        Monitor moves closer to user, who is startled by the sudden movement and sits back in their chair. Once again, the monitor moves to reach the optimum distance from the user... inducing a mild panic that the machines have, indeed, started rising up against their human masters. The user runs and the monitor, still trying to achieve that optimum distance, trys to follow - until it extends itself too far over the edge of the desk and topples to its death on the floor below.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Phillips monitor

        the monitor should move towards the user

        No. I know where that leads. I've seen Martian Successor Nadesico.

    2. Graham Marsden
      Flame

      Re: Phillips monitor

      It's when it starts adding "And brush your hair", "don't pick your nose" or "that tie doesn't go with that shirt" for example that defenestration is imminent...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Phillips monitor

        ....or the monitor asks you "Why can't I see your right hand?"

        1. Charles Manning

          Re: Phillips monitor

          ... or it complains you don't spell Philips correctly...

    3. teebie

      Re: Phillips monitor

      "I can sort of see why some people would find it benefical, but being nagged to sit 10cm closer to the screen all the time would just drive me to throwing the monitor out of the window."

      ...and as the monitor plunges to the ground the last thing it ever displays is 'well that is the *opposite* of what I asked for'

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Load of Tosh

      The lot if it is a load of tosh....

      As to that reliable suction cup... Go and ......

  2. Keith Bee

    I was hoping for a desk phone that could sense awkward callers and give them a message saying the office will be closed for the time being.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      "Caller ID? I want a phone with Caller-IQ" (Tanuki)

    2. tony2heads
      Joke

      Closed for the Time Being

      That is it is closed why Dr Who is visiting us

  3. Ketlan
    WTF?

    Shock, horror, gasp etc

    An average mouse - £10-15: a reinvention of the mouse - £265. I wonder which one will end up more popular.

    1. ElectricFox
      Meh

      Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

      I paid £90 for a Das Keyboard. But then, I spend eight hours per day, 5 days a week using it, and hope it will last for quite some time. I don't want this to come across as preachy, but it's so much nicer to use than a £5 budget keyboard, and I feel the amount of (ab)use it gets more than justifies the cost.

      Just because it's not as popular as a £15 mouse doesn't mean that there isn't a market for it (I spent £25 on a laser gaming mouse, but £265 seems a bit of a stretch for my needs).

      1. AndyS

        Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

        It's a list billed as "shouldn't involve breaking too many eggs," and the number one item is a £265 mouse.

        I'm not sure what eggs the author is worried about, whether my own or those of the purchasing department, but either way that strikes me as a whole lot of eggs.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. pepper

          Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

          Ah yes, the Model M keyboard and a Nokia 3310 are the weapon of choice for the modern programmer setting out onto the bloody battlefield!

          I myself got a Corsair K60 keyboard, quite lovely!

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

            >An average mouse - £10-15: a reinvention of the mouse - £265.

            A lot of ergonomic kit is highly priced; there just isn't the volume of sales to divide the R&D and manufacturing costs.

            Anyway, are you comparing its price tag to another mouse (in which case it is expensive), or comparing it to the cost of surgery on your wrist tendons (in which case it is a bargain)?

            A cheaper way of avoiding wrist complaints is to vary your input method... for example, switch between mouse, trackpad, stylus and touch-screen on a regular basis - and learn some keyboard navigation / short-cuts too. Another trick (YMMV) is to train yourself to be ambidextrous with the mouse... some people can use a mouse with either hand after about a week- then just switch hand every twenty minutes or so.

            Look after yourselves : D

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

              You'd be lucky to find a Model M keyboard on eBay. I spent 8 years looking for one and the only one I could get was bundled with an IBM PC XT 286. Cost me £80, but it was the best £80 I ever spent. I use it at home for doing coding project, have considered bringing it to work but it's far too valuable for me to bring it out of the house. Not because of the price, but because of the length of time it took for me to get one.

              1. TheDysk
                Happy

                Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

                New Model M Keyboards can be had here:-

                http://www.pckeyboard.com/

                Made by Unicomp who bought the rights to the 'Buckling Spring' design of the original Model M.

              2. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

                You'd be lucky to find a Model M keyboard on eBay

                That's because I snap them all up. Muahahaha.

                (Got quite a pile of 'em, three in use, at least double that in spares, although some of those may have a missing keycap or two, and one has a rather exotic keymap)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

          A couple of reasons:

          1. They are loud

          2. if you drop one on your foot, it's a reportable accident possibly involving A&E.

          3. The original ones only have two keys which makes them pretty difficult to use effectively on a Mac.

          4. They need some significant work to adapt them to work on USB. I know they can plug into PS/2 ports, but USB requires soldering stuff onto them or something like that.

          5. Did I mention they are loud?

          I had four of them that were sitting gathering dust in the cupboard, all pretty mint, brought for £5 total off a car boot sale. In the end I gave up trying to make them work on my Mac and gave them away to a friend. I had to wipe a tear from my eye.

          1. PerlyKing

            Model M with a Mac

            I have a Model M keyboard which I use with a Mac, and the only problem was that I had to remap a key or two using the built in Preferences. It did need a decent PS/2 to USB converter but no soldering was required.

          2. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

            I use a PS/2 -> USB adapter from Lindy for my original MS Natural keyboard. Works fine on my iMac.

            I love theold Model M, although my alltime favourite is the original DEC VT100 keyboard.

            I don't think I've bought a mouse or a keyboard for under 50 quid, ever. At work we have Cherry XStream with the cr*ppy laptop style keys, they cost us about 5 Euros as a reseller, but I find the quality awful. I much prefer the G81, but it still isn't a real keyboard.

            I tend to swap back and forth between the Natural, when I get sore arms, and a normal keyboard. I'd love to get an M for work, but I don't think I could swing the 130€ they are asking for.

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

              Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

              The VT220 keyboard was a great improvement over the VT100 one. (IHMO and working for DEC for 20 years)

              I use a couple of Dell versions of the Model M complete with smartcard reader. I got them for 5quid at a car boot more than 5 years ago. Still going strong.

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

                I found the VT220 was a poorer keyboard. The action was more dead and not as much travel.

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

              I much prefer the G81, but it still isn't a real keyboard.

              At work I use a Cherry G3000. No Model M, but for my amount of typing an acceptable compromise between the downright craptastic HP and Dell ubiquitous free-with-every-PC stuff, and the Only True Keyboard. It is accompanied by a Logitech Trackman Marble FX.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc @ElectricFox

        'I paid £90 for a Das Keyboard. But then, I spend eight hours per day, 5 days a week using it, '

        You must live in purgatory you poor thing.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

      As for mice, I use either MS Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 or a Logitech T650 trackpad.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

      An average mouse - £10-15:

      Your wrist tendons are worth that little?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well I never!

    Coddled eggs?!

    http://www.ochef.com/1240.htm

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My office comforts...

    Contrary to the 'extra' style of items that are listed here, some basics for me:

    1. Decent keyboard. By decent almost anything with Cherry keys. No Chiclet syle here for me thank you very much. Though I think they are great if you are learning to play Jazz chords on the guitar.

    2. Trackball. Personal preference but I certainly prefer these now.

    3. Extra monitor. Working of two monitors is SO much easier. Things like running a virtual in one screen whilst having the host in the other is *very* useful indeed.

    My comfort option: Headphone amp. That allows me to plug into a lead so the controls and ability to remove/plug in to hand far more useful.

    1. Jess--

      Re: My office comforts...

      Decent Keyboard (the less extras the better)

      sat here typing this on an original ibm ps2 keyboard (still has its sticker on the bottom showing 1988)

      Wired Mouse

      I have tried and tried with wireless mice and find that they always go to sleep, leading to a couple of seconds of shaking it to wake it up, or worse having to press a button to wake it (which of course registers on the pc wherever the mouse happens to be)

      Wireless Headset

      currently using the Logitech H800, simple / basic PC & bluetooth headset, 6 hour battery life and usb charging.

      Extra monitor

      Why stop at 2 screens?

      I run 3 22" screens and didnt realise how much more they allow me to get done until one failed and had to be replaced (under warranty).

      My only gripe with a triple monitor setup is that if you have the center screen set as primary windows messes up the background image (XP / 7 ultimate) since it uses top left of the primary screen as 0x0 for the positioning of the background meaning that the image stretches across the right screen before wrapping onto the left screen

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: My office comforts...

        >I have tried and tried with wireless mice and find that they always go to sleep, leading to a couple of seconds of shaking it to wake it up, or worse having to press a button to wake it (which of course registers on the pc wherever the mouse happens to be)

        Seems odd, I haven't experienced that with any of my Logitechs. I would say that not all optical or 'laser' Logitech mice are created equal - one of the cheap Laser models can't track for toffee, causing inefficiency, frustration and wrist pain. The 'LS' range seem to behave, and the 'MX Darkfield' models are blissful; though pricey at their RRP of £90, they can occasionally be found for around £35. The battery on the Darkfields only lasts a couple of weeks (though they give you a rechargeable AA battery, a microUSB charging cable and a wall charger), compared to over a year for the plain laser 'Marathon' mice.

        The 'Hyperscroll' wheel is also very nice to use when scrolling long pages - it's a weighted scroll whell mounted on ballbearings, so continues to scroll after an initial flick. This can be switched to rotate in discrete 'clicks' like normal, if the application benefits from scroll wheel staying put.

        I haven't used a Microsoft mouse for years so can't really comment on them, but I'm sure they're perfectly good.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    What an uninspiring list

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Where is the usb rocket launcher or the little device that randomly toggles caps lock?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        or the little device that randomly toggles caps lock?

        That's called MY LEFT LITTLE FINger...

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Holmes

        caps lock?

        Oh wait, yes, it does say 'Caps Lock' on that key, but it's actually 'Compose'.

    2. plrndl

      What an uninspiring list @JDX

      Some of us use our computers to do work!

  7. Anonymous C0ward
    Paris Hilton

    Did anyone else think

    some of the Luidia pens look like something naughty?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Did anyone else think

      >some of the Luidia pens look like something naughty?

      Given they started out as tools for teachers, I'd have thought issues like that would have come to light in a room full of teenagers! : D

  8. Sebastian Brosig

    Jerky

    "TopGear a tad jerky": it's not a bug it's a feature, 'cause Jeremy Clarkson is a jerk.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Jerky

      Too true.

      However, Top Gear is probably a good go-to test of streaming video... most episodes feature similar scenes (in terms of panning and editing style, fast cuts between scenes etc) of a car travelling around a track... the sort of stuff that can be affected by slow bandwidth.

      The BBC output that always looks bad over iPlayer are scenes of flocks of birds in nature documentaries- a whole screen of avians flapping around an estuary or tree always results in blocky footage for me.

  9. TakeTheSkyRoad

    10 cubicle comforts ? Not very realistic in my book !

    : Contour Design Roller Mouse Re:d

    Comforts shouldn't be bizzare reinventions or cost 10x the price of the original.

    In it's place should have been a decent cordless mouse.

    :Dragon Dictate for Mac

    Ok, first very few offices have Macs so anything Mac specific is pointless.

    Second in an office environment VERY few people use dictation software. A manager with little time and a secretary to tidy up the resulting text maybe but that's it.

    :Griffin PowerDock 5

    Handy for the multi-tablet home or IT department but not an office.

    Very few people will have 1 tablet pc let alone 5.

    :Kensington SoleMate Plus

    Finally a winner.... I don't bother with a foot rest but plenty of people swear by one !

    :Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam

    Also accepted but at a stretch since if you need a cam at your cubicle desk then the "ConferenceCam" might be a bit OTT

    :Luidia e-Beam Edge

    Meh... as above, accepted but it's not a cubicle/desk thing really unless your cubicle comes with a whiteboard & projector.

    :Octa Tablet Tail Monkey Kit

    Ok, it's neat and cool but tablets again which few people have at work.

    :Philips 231P4QRYES ErgoSensor monitor

    Another neat & cool thing and ignoring being nagged by the monitor as far as I'm concerned if it's not 1200 deep then it's not good enough. A res of 1080p is for movies/tv and not work.

    :Plantronics Blackwire C710M

    Another win since I'm seeing an increased use of headsets in the office thanks to remote sites and greater use of Lync.

    :StarTech USB3 Dock

    The Dell under my desk has plenty of ports thanks, also please see my earlier note about Macs not showing up in the work place very often.

    Score.... 4/10

    One thing I find very handy.... music.

    An ipod is great for filtering out background noise in the office.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      :StarTech USB3 Dock

      Looks like you didn't read the article.

      That thing is not just a USB hub, it's a USB Ethernet adapter, and USB video card.

      Which makes it the one thing on the list that I am very interested in, because it would give me a third monitor and second NIC.

      It would do so very neatly given that the current Dell laptop docks have USB3 ports.

      So yes, I want one of those.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC?

    In these reviews does 'Mac and PC' actually mean 'Mac and PC" or does it really mean 'MAc & PC running Windows"?

  11. Ant Evans

    What I want

    is a monitor stand that stands on the floor and works like a balanced arm lamp. That way I could get rid of my desk, and work either in a low chair xor standing up.

    Second best would be one that clamps to a desk, but like the lamp, can stetch *below* its mount point.

    My money is waiting.

    1. iniudan

      Re: What I want

      Closest I could find.

      http://www.ergomart.com/HD_LCD_monitor_arms/heavy-duty-monitor-arm-SAA66.php

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