Programmer products

I like reading the Unclutterer site, in more of an aspirational than practical way. Inspired by their survey of reader workspaces, I present mine. I’ve recently finished optimizing its physical and musical environment with four decent to excellent products. If you crave pampering your proprioception and hearing, read on.

Office with Boots

  • A is an LG FLATRON L246WP 24-inch monitor. The reviews match my experience reasonably well. Some reviewers preferred its display of text over its competitors, which was why I bought it. The monitor is decent enough with black text on a white background, not so good with reverse video (at least as I’ve got it configured). Its reverse text is nowhere near as good as my MacBook screen, nor the Apple Cinema Display I looked at, but it’s about 2/3ds of the price.

    I do believe this size monitor is worth the money for programming, which I’m doing a lot more of these days, but I wouldn’t regret only having a 13 inch screen for my other work.

    You might not be able to tell, but it’s hooked up to a MacBook. The MacBook and monitor don’t get along terribly well. For example, I have to be careful to mirror the displays and sleep the MacBook before unplugging, or the MacBook might lose the ability to detect the monitor until a reboot. And the MacBook will get confused in some way or another (like forgetting it has a screen when playing a DVD) every couple of days. This is tolerable.

  • B is an Innovative iLift. I didn’t do a good job of shopping for this, so I didn’t notice that it seems to be the same arm as the 7500, just painted white. It costs about 10% more. Why? It’s marketed to Apple users. Best price was at Ergoboy, but their system choked when verifying the credit card, and it took them an annoyingly long time to deal with it.

    The arm is easy to install and rock solid. I found the monitor tilt has no adjustment between takes-two-hands-to-tilt and not-enough-friction-to-keep-it-in-place, but the vertical movement is quite literally fingertip, and that’s what matters to me. The shield that hides cabling falls off easily, but I don’t care.

  • C is a pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones. These are better than my ears justify. However, my MacBook doesn’t put out the signal they deserve, so I ended up getting…

  • D a Headroom Micro Amp and Digital/Analog Converter. I originally started with the much cheaper Total BitHead. In some pseudo A/B comparisons (with Dawn switching from MacBook to boosted MacBook while I was out of the room), I couldn’t see much of a difference, so it was either go up or out. I went up, and I have to say the combination of these and the Sennheisers is phenomenal. The disadvantage now is that I can tell the difference between lossless compression and what Apple sells through iTunes. (I could be fooling myself, but I think not: I remember listening to something I’d losslessly ripped off of CD, thinking “gosh, that sounds kind of crummy, what’s up?”, only to discover I’d actually gotten it from iTunes.)

Horribly extravagant, and my cheapskate peasant forebears are scolding me from their graves, but it’s been twenty years since my last ridiculously expensive and out-of-character purchase.

P.S. for the ergonomically correct. My upper arms are too long for proper typing posture at a desk or keyboard tray; I hunch my shoulders typing at anything thicker than a thinnish laptop. That, plus my poor abused legs, makes me want the sidecar chair and stool—hence the the monitor arm. I have a slouchy chair because even nifty ergonomic chairs hurt my back (and did even when I had tremendous stabilizing muscles from crunches and deadlifts). This chair, in contrast, is enormously comfortable.

P.P.S. Also pictured is my current favorite T-shirt:
I’m Made of Meat

I find it helps with many things. Available from

One Response to “Programmer products”

  1. agoucher Says:

    This post reminds me a lot of On My Desk in which artists and other creatives post pictures of their workspace. All sorts of ideas on how to organize your space over there.


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