Pete's Log: Office tour

Entry #1920, (Life in General)
(posted when I was 42 years old.)

Sometimes it's weird trying to capture the vibe of a moment in time. It's been just over 36 hours since dose 2 and I'm mostly OK. For the first 30 hours, the worst I felt was a sore arm, but since then my back has gotten achy and I've felt just slightly off. JB is at her grandparents this evening so I'm allowing myself the opportunity for some navel gazing.

Jamie was recently telling me about a book she was reading. A guy is retracing an adventure of his father's (I think it was something along the lines of a walk across the country) and enjoying reading the notes the father wrote at the time. Jamie wondered what writings of ours JB may someday enjoy reading and cited as an example our bike ride to Milwaukee. At first I felt sad because I didn't think I would have notes from that trip, but as luck would have it, that bike ride was in 2015, the one half-decent blogging year between 2011 and 2020. So that felt serendipitous.

On another occasion, Jamie mentioned a different book in which the author wrote about how people greatly underestimate how much they will enjoy reading their own thoughts on mundane events. So I am sad that I haven't written more over the years, glad for what I have, and unsure which mundane things will best capture month 14 (or 15? 16?) of pandemic life. And now not just writing for myself but maybe also for JB.

So let's start in the basement.

The office moved to the basement sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. It occupies the Western portion of the finished part of our basement. Right now it looks like this:

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A few months ago we rearranged the guest bedroom to add an office space for Jamie, so the basement office is now officially my space. Lately I've been putting effort into

  1. organizing it
  2. babyproofing it
  3. making it somewhere to inspire me

It's been a stop and go process that has at times made the basement less baby friendly than before. But I think the tide is turning. And we keep the door closed when JB is home anyway. I think part of it is that whole needing to feel control over something when there isn't much control to be had. And also since I think this is the most stationary I've ever been in my life, it's been difficult to stay motivated. So maybe a revamped workplace will help.

Sometime in 2019 work started letting me work from home one day a week, so I invested in a KVM. A couple months ago I bought a tool cabinet I can lock, to try to keep the least appropriate items out of JB's hands. And just a couple days ago I bought a monitor stand. So while there are still a few piles to get sorted, overall I'm happy with it. It seems pretty silly to dedicate as much surface area as I now have to electronics, but even if it only gets limited use, it still makes me happy to look at. Here's a tour:

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  1. White board
  2. NDLUG poster
  3. Access to gas line valve
  4. Heathkit EK-1 multimeter (more details at end)
  5. Switch (moved here when I updated the laundry room)
  6. esgerbeastie
  7. Work laptop (with docking station hidden behind it)
  8. Tactical Hacking Gloves
  9. Headset
  10. Headband magnifier/lamp
  11. Spare cables and bits for esgerbeastie
  12. See detail pic
  13. Monitor
  14. Mirror
  15. "Cable Management"
  16. "weird ibm thing" I picked up at an ND industry day 20+ years ago
  17. Oscilloscope/Function Generator/DC Power Supply
  18. Mouse
  19. Helping hands
  20. Heathkit Model O-7 Oscilloscope (more details at end)
  21. Soldering iron (new since my recent soldering practice)
  22. Smoke absorber
  23. Power unit for soldering iron

The green mat underneath things on the right is an anti-static mat that I still need to ground. Zooming in on the middle we have

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  1. Remote control for esgerbeastie (came in HackerBox 57 - I use it to play/pause/skip music when the KVM is set to my work laptop)
  2. Pens and pencils
  3. Boba Fett #1
  4. Debugging Assistant
  5. netViz (my employer from 2003-2006) golf ball
  6. D20 from HackerBox 55
  7. Raspberry Pi Pico
  8. Staple remover / inside joke
  9. Boba Fett #2 (Lego)
  10. Toy cars bought during my bachelor party (the red one will hopefully feature in a tattoo some day)
  11. D8 with the cardinal and intercardinal directions on the faces
  12. Boba Fett #3
  13. Lego explorer
  14. KVM Switch (1 is esgerbeastie, 2 is work laptop, 3 occasionally used for raspberry pis, 4 unused)
  15. UKW-Tuner-Baustein (FM Radio Building Block) - I saved this one piece from the electronics set I had as a kid
  16. Cloth for cleaning glasses
  17. Keyboard

Also, Jamie recently bought me a label maker which I seem to be having too much fun with.

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The Heathkit multimeter and oscilloscope I picked up at an estate sale in June of 2018. Jamie found the estate sale online and saw that a bunch of old electronics gear was available, so she informed me of it. This was just before our wedding and finding out JB was coming. So my electronics tinkering got put on hold shortly afterwards. The year leading up to then I was getting pretty into it, and I'm hoping to do more again now. Long term I'd love to get the oscilloscope working (I've tested the multimeter and it works, but my digital one is much more practical). My fear is plugging the oscilloscope in without first testing all the capacitors and having something blow up and cause damage to its surroundings. In the meantime it's fun to look at and makes a good foot rest.

At the same estate sale I also bought these apparently educational circuit boards. I thought they'd look cool as decoration. Still haven't figured out where or how to display them though.

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Anyway, thanks for coming on my tour. It seems appropriate that with this post, 2021 will surpass 2020 in output and become the best year since 2009.