Ask the grumpies: what’s your computer setup like?

Leah asks:

Mouse or trackpad? Laptop or desktop?

#1:  Mouse, desktop.  I have a laptop but I mostly only use it for meetings that require I have computer access, which is pretty rare.  When I was on leave it was my main computer at work, but I had it hooked up to two big monitors.  I guess I do have a fancy mouse at home (Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3– not sponsored) to help combat RSI, though the only thing special about my work mouse is that it has a cord.  I carry a mouse with my laptop as well because it’s so much less of a hassle than the trackpad or nub.

#2:  laptop at home, desktop at work. Nothing fancy or special.

8 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: what’s your computer setup like?”

  1. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    Dell XPS 13 laptop w 4K screen + Thinkstation desktop w dual 30″ 4K monitors. The latter monitors look shitty compared to the laptop, obvs bcs much lower ppi. TBH, I do the vast majority of my work on my phone: reading/writing/reviewing text documents, emailz, marking up documents (I do pen/paper & then scan in a phone for distribution), scheduling, etc. The only thing I really rely on traditional computers for is working with page layout: paper figures, presentation slides, grant applications.

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  3. FF Says:

    Laptop with trackpad for everything–specifically, a 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

  4. K Says:

    HP Elitebook with touchpad, plugged into external monitor so as to have a two-monitor setup. Pretty much all of my choices are related to utility and preventing pain:

    * Touchpad, not external mouse: Back when I used an external mouse, I used to have frequent, painful shoulder spasms.
    * Elitebook 8560p: It has a keyboard with no flex, which is critical to my not having carpal tunnel issues. The last time I used a Dell for any amount of time, I was wearing wrist braces 24/7 because their keyboard was so awful–keyboard flex is one of the most important criteria for me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I have to give up this laptop– I just discovered that the site I relied on for reviews that included keyboard flex hasn’t been updated since 2017.
    *External monitor: Allows me to do the bulk of my work with my neck at a better ergonomic angle than if I used the laptop’s screen. Having a second big screen is also good because it allows me to have more open files visible at the same time, which is particularly useful for my work. I do a lot of writing, editing, and cross-referencing. It’s all done on screen.

  5. undine Says:

    At work: huge old (2011) iMac with upgraded hard drive & RAM so it is like new.
    At work & home: MacBookPro 13″ from 2017 with the “wishbone” keyboard. Individual keys replaced: 4 times. Whole keyboard replaced: twice. Screen is sharp but dim; I have to keep turning up the brightness. Also, the function key row is now a screen has context-specific features like a Google search touch button but requires more work to get to the function keys. It’s lighter than the older Macbook, but I dread when the keys start sticking again–they always do–and I know I will have to spend more time taking it in for service. It’s apparently not eligible for the replacement program.
    At home: MacBookPro 15″ from 2016, the one with the good keyboard. I saw it referred to on some tech site as the “last good Macbook” or something like that.

    • undine Says:

      Apparently the 13″ MBPro is from 2016. It’s still a lot to have two keyboards & multiple keys replaced within 2-3 years. The 15″ MBPro is from 2015 and still runs like a boss.

  6. Rose Says:

    MB Pro. about 2015 vintage. No ipad/tablet. I take only phone when travel for all internet & kindle needs.
    Food out of Mexico with tariffs costs more… Let them eat cake or starve as long as no potential fetus dies unless mom does too.

  7. monsterzero Says:

    Oh god I hate trackpads so much. I mouse left-handed at home and right-handed at work to avoid RSI. I had a trackball I really liked at a previous job, but haven’t been able to find a good one for home use.

    I used to have a laptop with a separate keyboard and monitor, but when I was looking for a new system I realized I never took the laptop anywhere, so now I have an XPS desktop. Two screens at home, four at work.


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