What’s on your desk, Nathan Edwards?

Nathan Edwards was at The edge for about a year and a half as Senior Reviews Editor, editing reviews and managing part of the reviews team. He also works on our buying guide program. He adds: “Apart from a few short freelance stints, I spent most of my career previously at Maximum PC (RIP), a print magazine, then to Wire cutter, where I worked for seven years. So almost all of the time it’s reviews, buying guides, and writing about consumer technology.

He took the time to tell us about his workspace.

It’s a comfortable-looking space. Where is it located in your home?

THANKS! It’s an office near the front of the house. It benefits from good natural light, partly shaded by a few oak trees outside. They currently pay court with acorns. I’m really going to go crazy this year.

I see two offices. Are both yours? Looks like they are used for different purposes.

They are both mine. My wife also works from home most of the time, but she gets calls all day and I like mechanical keyboards and not hearing conference calls, so we prefer to work in separate spaces. The larger, nicer desk is my work desk, and the other is for everything else. In aspiration, it’s for tinkering. Right now I’m fixing my sister-in-law’s laptop on it; usually it’s just covered in piles of papers. I had my PC on this desk, and if I start playing PC games again, I’ll probably move it.

This Xdesk is the primary work desk, with all the technology a review editor wants at their fingertips.

This Ikea crank desk is for projects, stacks of paper, and other items.

Tell us about your offices and why you chose them.

The biggest is a Terra Xdesk (formerly known as NextDesk). It was the Wire cutter standing desk choice when I bought it ten years ago. It held up well. The white one is a crank Ikea Bekant that we bought when we lived in the Netherlands because we left our offices in the US and needed desks. It’s good. Neither has drawers, so I have a rolling cart next to one and an Ikea Alex next to the other.

The green is a Steelcase Leap. It was also the Wire cutter choose when I got it ten years ago. It’s a superb chair. No regrets. The other chair is an OfficeMax item my wife purchased over the past two decades. It is a chair.

There’s also an Ikea Frosta stool with a striking orange seat. This one just makes me happy.

Office chairOffice chairOffice chair

Ergonomic work chair with casters.

Here’s the most important thing: tell us about the technology you use. There are a lot of them here!

On my desk, I have my work-issued MacBook Air 2020 M1 on a Rain Design stand and my self-built Windows 11 PC in a Sliger SM550 mini-ITX case. I love small form factor computers, but I made a tactical error with this one. When I built it in 2019, I reused my graphics card, an Nvidia GTX 1070. I thought mid-range graphics cards would continue to get smaller and more power efficient. Reader, they didn’t! In order to upgrade my GPU I would need a more powerful power supply and a larger case. Luckily I don’t need upgrade.

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Sleek stand that elevates your laptop or tablet 5.9 inches higher.

The PC has a ninth generation i5 and 32 GB of RAM; it’s plenty fast for what I actually do with it, and the 1070 still does well with what little PC gaming I can fit into it.

Both computers connect to a 32-inch BenQ 4K monitor with a built-in KVM switch and not enough enough USB ports. It has three USB-A ports on the back and I have a three-port USB hub plugged into one of them. This gives me just enough ports to avoid having to use a Thunderbolt dock, but it’s close. Here’s what plugs into the monitor:

  • The Insta360 Link webcam lots of Edge employees use.
  • A set of B&W MM-1 speakers that I’ve owned since Maximum PC days.
  • Some USB-A-to-C cables for keyboards and peripherals.
  • The Stream Deck Mini, which I purchased from Dan Seifert and use primarily to control the Elgato Key Light.
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Assign your shortcuts to a single illuminated button.

A light you can only control via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi? Whose idea was this? The Elgato Key Light especially pleases my ZZ plant. Most of the other lights in the office are Hue bulbs, which I control with a wall-mounted RunLessWire switch.

The headphones are the Sony WH-1000XM4.

The mouse is a first generation Logitech MX Master. I still have to open it to fix the scroll wheel, but it stays there. It’s on a mouse pad that one of my children made in kindergarten.

The other desk has an eight-year-old Dell UltraSharp monitor, a Blue Yeti mic, and a 10-year-old Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop that I’ll be installing Linux on. I bought a lot Wire cutter chooses, turns out. It also has a Ploopy trackball, which I love but lacks the scroll wheel of the MX Master. My iFixit toolkit is here – yet another thing I’ve had for a long time because it’s fit for purpose.

I have a lot of Field Notes notebooks lying around.

I see you’re a keyboard enthusiast – at least I see a lot of keyboards, including a really fantastic old typewriter!

For a long time I had a mechanical keyboard and was happy with it. Then, in 2016, I bought a smaller one with different switches and cute keycaps to go with it, and fell down the rabbit hole. I have three or four that I use regularly and several others that I should probably sell.

The keyboard on my desk in the photos is a Leopold FC660C with Topre switches. Over the last six years I’ve replaced the controller board with a USB-C and VIA compatible board, added muffler rings, re-lubed the stabilizers, swapped the keycaps, and placed a few MX sliders on top. And because someone will ask: the domes are stock.

A modified and scaled-down 1993 IBM Model M keyboard alongside a 1950s typewriter.

A MurphPad number pad with Bluetooth added.

Front to back: Grid 650, HHKB Studio and KBDcraft Adam.

The number pad is a MurphPad that I built with a nice!nano so it has Bluetooth. I also put MillMax sockets in the PCB so I could swap the switches. The keys are mostly SA Dasher.

Aside from the Leopold, the one I use most often is a Grid 650 with the Array module. At present, it has Kailh Deep Sea Islet silent linear switches, which are enough close to the excellent HHKB Studio switches and CRP Tulip keycaps.

The brown keyboard near the typewriter is a modified and scaled-down 1993 IBM Model M keyboard from my brother. He has a Yacobo controller that he designed.

The typewriter is a Hermes 3000 with AZERTY layout from the 1950s, which my wife inherited from her grandparents. It needs new tape and a good cleaning, but it is functional.

The art on the table with the typewriter is also great.

THANKS! The painting is by my sister Naomi and the postcards are by my friend Steve Schaberg. He’ll send you a screen-printed postcard for five dollars every month.

You have a lot of other fascinating trinkets in your office. Are there any others you would like to call? (The timer, for example?)

The timer is for pomodoros when I remember to make them. I have a Flipper Zero and a Beepy because I consider myself a person with a lot more time and knowledge of computer engineering than I actually have. Ditto, the Raspberry Pi hidden somewhere. And the “introduction to electronics” kit in a drawer.

I have a Home Assistant Green here that I need to configure. I keep coming across things I wish my smart home could do, and invariably the way to do it seems to be Home Assistant. Or just go back to a stupid house, which is just as tempting.

Author John Joseph Mathews has written nonfiction and fiction about Osage history and culture.

You know it’s because of you that I spent 20 minutes in company researching the author John Joseph Mathews, right?

It was one fascinating and complicated guy, and he was my great-grandfather. I grew up hearing stories about him from my mother and his sisters, even though I had only read many of his books relatively recently. I’m still working on the big one. I also have language and cultural resources on this shelf; I’m taking a (very) beginner Osage language course and I’m learning a lot. This shelf also contains a Strandbeest, which is unrelated.

My nemesis, the HP OfficeJet printer, is hiding in the corner. Plus, I moved a lot of boxes and stacks of papers into the hallway to take these photos, and the cabinets and drawers are absolutely filled with cables, dongles, old hard drives, and miscellaneous items. Please don’t imagine that my desk usually looks this tidy. Although now that East tidy, I make an effort to keep it that way.

Photography by Nathan Edwards/The Verge

Gn tech

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