my desk

This one’s for my friend Ben Zackheim, who wanted to see the results of the office overhaul I did at the beginning of the year.

Here’s a little tour for those of you who are also interested:

Mac: After five-plus years, it was time to upgrade my desktop computer. I’d had such a great experience with my iPhone that I upgraded to this iMac. I do believe I have purchased my last PC.

Laptop: I’d already upgraded my laptop to this HP. Nice machine, great for watching movies, okay for traveling on assignment. Too bad it runs Windows Vista, the worst operating system I’ve used since Windows 3.1. It’s counter-intuitive, locks me out of essential settings by default, required uninstalling a raft of craplets, and until I could figure out how to stop it, interrupted my work constantly to install endless updates and automatically reboot. I’ve had my Mac for probably a quarter of the time (a month and a half), and already I’m using it with much greater facility. And I’ve been a dedicated PC user since the days of DOS.

Office phone: Two lines, one for home, the other for Skype–which I use as a portable office line–keep the middle-of-the-night calls from antigravity researchers in Taiwan from waking up my family. I’m not joking. Skype interfaces with the phone through a converter box behind the video phone.

Video phone: This Ojo video phone displays full motion video with sync sound and requires no computer. Currently my little girl’s grandparents are the only people I know with the same unit, so they’re the only ones we can call on it. Looks like from its website that the company that makes it is going down in flames, so even that limited usage is coming to an end, making this a $300 paperweight.

Inspiration: The Alex Ross print of mild-manned Clark Kent pulling off the impossible transformation into Superman keeps me going through difficult deadlines. A cover for one of my PopSci stories, blown up and framed, features the enticing headline above the magazine title, “How Cannibalistic Spider Sex Can Make You a Genius,” reminding me to keep my sense of humor.

Current reading: Michael J. Neufeld bills his 2007 biography of rocket pioneer Werhner von Braun as the most comprehensive treatment of his topic ever. He may just be right. More on that in an upcoming post.