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Work from home

Mar 29, 2020

I work from home for weeks due to COVID-19. I bought a few stuff and learned a bit about how to work from home.

Keyboard: Anne Pro 2

I’ve been using Happy Hacking Keyboard for years. I bought mine when I was in Japan and the premium keyboard market was fairly small at that time.

Probably due to the rise of PC gaming, now there are a lot of compact, mechanical/premium keyboards in the market, often with crazy RGB LEDs. The sad news is, many of them have proprietary configuration software which only works on Windows. While the software only needed for its initial configuration, many keyboards have upgradable firmware and I know how software engineers deal with things when they are upgradable. Let’s address this issue and that issue in the next release! So that ruled out Niz and Kemove.

Anne Pro 2 is the only option that supports Windows, Mac and Linux. It doesn’t have Happy Hacking Keyboard’s premium feeling, but the price difference can justify that.

Note that Anne Pro 2 is different from Anne Pro. Contrary to the subtle “this is just v2” naming, Anne Pro 2 uses Holtek, whereas Anne Pro uses STM32. For example, Rust people may recognize Anne Pro as the one that has open-source Rust firmware, but it doesn’t work with Anne Pro 2.

Regarding Niz, it uses electrostatic capacitive switches like Happy Hacking Keyboard. Niz’s configuration protocol is partially reverse-engineered by cho45. I hope someone could go further or Niz themselves to support non-Windows platforms.

Trackball: Elecom Deft Pro (M-DPT1MRXBK)

I like finger-operated trackballs. Trackballs are niche, and finger-operated ones might be even. Logitech makes some trackballs but they are all thumb-operated.

I’ve been using this Elecom’s one at work and bought the same one. Okay. Not much geeking out.

External Monitor and Chair

I have bought Phillips’ 4k monitor and Herman Miller’s Sayl Chair, but it was late and I haven’t received them yet.

Herman Miller’s is doing Work From Home Sale with a 15% discount. If you’ve been wanted to buy Aaron Chair, it would be a good opportunity.

Music

I don’t listen to music much when I work in an office. My workplace is quiet enough and sometimes there are interesting conversations around.

I did the same at home and I initially thought that listening music at home was irresponsible as a parent. Why don’t I help my wife rather than isolating myself? But the reality is

  1. I have some work stuff to do to pay my bills.
  2. I can step-in, but cannot stick with my wife and kids due to #1.
  3. It is irresponsible to step-in, leave in the middle and don’t see consequences, and say “sorry, I have work”

So I listen to music to isolate myself and avoid micromanaging all of the stuff.

Regarding the music itself, I like Pomplamoose. They are great.

Routines

I’m trying to work from 9 am to 5 pm. So having breakfast and changing clothes (incl. kids) should be happening before that, and having dinner and playing with kids should be happening after that. As all parents know, it doesn’t work all the time, but I’d like to make it consistent.

I make coffee either after breakfast or after lunch and have that in an insulated bottle. I walk a bit after work to disconnect myself from work. These are also not really consistent but helped me when I could.