There are many topics, both serious and fun, that can be discussed there The edge, and it’s up to our news writers to discuss it: from coronavirus and space exploration to YouTube and Super Nintendo World. Mitchell Clark is one of those writers; among other articles, he wrote one of the best explanations you can find of exactly NFTs. We look (remotely via photos) at Mitchell’s desk and ask him questions about his stuff.
Tell me a little about yourself. What is your background, and what do you do at The Verge?
Like Jay, I’m a news writer who has the job of keeping The edge‘s readers are up to date on virtually everything you can think of. Lately it’s been a lot of NFTs, but it’s actually just a grab bag every day I get to work, which keeps it exciting.
I also literally just arrived here – I started in December. I used to do a bit of everything, from speeding up fast food chicken fingers, to solving people’s phone problems professionally, and to doing training, testing and coding for software used by the government. Basically, virtually anything unrelated to my degree in video production.
How did you decide where and how to set up your workspace?
I live in a relatively small and cheap city, and therefore I am in a two-bedroom apartment. I have been working at home since we moved here in 2017, and as soon as we remove all the drawers from the second room, I claim it as my office. What the desk is: it was in front of the window, but the sun kept standing in my eyes, so I moved it against the wall.
Tell me a little about the desk itself.
This is called the iMovR Energize, and it is a motorized standing table. And yes, I do work a lot. However, I do not often work on sitting – the cat is banned from the office, but if I am here, he will sit outside the door and scream. So when I sit down, I’m going to do it on the couch so he does not blame me.
Half of the reason I chose the Energize was because it was apparently manufactured in the US, and the other half is that there are almost no reviews left, and I wanted to do one and make it stand out. As far as I can tell, I’m still the only person did a video review of it on YouTube, the TL; DR of which it is a good desk. If it lasts ten years, it might be worth the price of almost $ 1,000.
I think this is the simplest desk chair I have seen so far.
Yeahhhh, this is an Ikea Trollberget. I went over an office chair about it in the optimistic hope that it would help me not to relax so much. The seat section tilts back and forth, so it really needs a core force to sit upright, which is great when I do, but honestly I usually put my elbows on the desk and turn my body into a horrible ‘S’ shape. If I live somewhere, I can find a used Herman Miller, I’ll probably try one of those.
Tell us a little about your audio setup. Looks like you’ve been thinking about it.
Yes I have. It’s a Shure Beta 87A microphone, mounted on a Full PL2T arm and connected to a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface. The headphones are the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 ohm, which is not nice for music (hence the fifth generation iPod with KZ ES4 earplugs) but is ideal for the accurate rendition of singing.
The whole setup is optimized for one thing: making sure my voice is as clear and echo-free as possible. I was tired of going into a cave blanket to record voice recordings, so I got a microphone with a very narrow (super cardioid) pickup pattern, and it works great. I also sometimes use it as an improvised video microphone, for which it’s just fine. Usually it makes me sound really good on Zoom calls (and makes me pretend I’m going to make more episodes of a podcast I made three episodes of and then gave up on).
Okay, now is the time to talk about your other technology: your computer, screen setup and other technological things.
Alright! My computer is a 13-inch M1 Macbook Pro – I especially looked at the brighter screen with the Pro over the air. If I work from my desk and not from the couch, I pick it up on a Twelve South Curve Stand, and enable it on a … * order history from B&H * Dell U2415 24-inch monitor.
It’s 16:10, which is nice, but unfortunately it has a resolution of 1920 x 1200. It seems like I’m particularly sensitive to low resolutions (I can immediately see the difference between YouTube at 1080p and 720p on my iPhone Mini), so my next big upgrade could be to LG’s 24-inch UltraFine 4K (if I can get one used).
I switch between a Magic Trackpad and Logitech G502 Hero for my mouse needs. Changing the device and hand I use helps ward off pain in the wrist, and I have found that any mouse without Logitech’s ratchet / freewheel scroll wheel is almost useless to me. For my keyboard I use the peculiar name Ducky One 2 with Cherry MX Browns. The main theme is wired: I’ve always had weird, annoying issues with Bluetooth keyboards and mice.
The final Big Thing on my desktop is an OWC ThunderBay 4. I love video production and photography (Fujifilm X-T3 for digital, Nikon F3HP for the film, by the way), I collect very absolutely massive files: I currently have 11 TB of data spread across 17 TB drives.
You mentioned that you had some problems with the cable.
Yes, I’m just up (from side to side?) – rated from an iMac Pro, which has just enough ports to plug in my five bajillion peripherals. Now my computer has two ports, so I have an absolute nightmare of a situation.
Here’s my current setup: I connect my laptop with Thunderbolt to the ThunderBay 4. Somehow it provides enough power to charge the laptop, and provides a Thunderbolt port, which currently has a USB-C Satechi Clamp Hub Pro plugged in. Plugged in that is my mouse and keyboard, and the built-in USB hub of my monitor, which contains even more devices (especially the scanner and Scarlett). Then I use the second Thunderbolt port of my laptop to connect the monitor (it’s good that the ThunderBay can charge the computer, I’m out of ports).
I have a OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock on pre-order to save me from this three-hub chain mare, but until then I just have a mess of wires and I hope nothing breaks.
I see your keyboard is near your desk. Do you ever take a break to make music?
I can actually not play piano to be honest, although I have literally had this keyboard since I was seven years old. I did connect it to my computer using the Scarlett’s MIDI interface, so if I sometimes find a very sounding synth in Logic, I’ll stomp on the keyboard until I find something that sounds good. The most important task, however, is to sit there and blame myself until I learn even a drop of music theory.
It seems like a great setup for storing your bikes, but I’ll be nervous about getting stuck in it if I push my seat back too hard …
I would never have even thought about that, but luckily my chair does not have wheels, so I will really have to try for that. The biggest risk with the bikes is that I will look out my window, see the paved trail that runs right outside it (and go 100 miles in a different condition), and can not resist the temptation to ride. !
For any other apartment owner, the bike stand is probably an excellent option: it is manufactured by a company called Delta Design. I bought mine at Costco, but as always when I get something I would like, it is no longer available. Amazon still sells it, and REI has a nicer version, too.
Tell us a little about your decorations: the wonderful collection you have on your plate, the images on your windowsill, etc.
I always want things that, as Marie Kondo would put it, evoke joy around me while I work. So I try to decorate with things made by creators or friends, or with art related to some kind of memory. Some of the pens come from webcomics or podcasts I enjoy, some from Etsy, and the vintage and Michigan related ones I got from my grandmother, who apparently collected them. I’m on the record as absolutely loving Kentucky Route Zero, so I thought I would get a poster of it too.
The coolest story, however, goes with the metal bonsai trees. I did karate for about ten years (and missed it for six years), and my sensei had a friend who would make the trees by hand. He publishes it every year as awards for people who illustrate certain characteristics of the country Shotokan dojo kun. I do not remember what I got it for, but it’s a good reminder of some good rules.
What’s on the shelves under the plate?
A little bit of everything! There is an Epson Perfection V550 scanner, which I use for everything from the everyday (scanning documents and birthday / holiday cards) to the most exciting for me (scanning all the film negatives I have developed). I also keep all my camera equipment there, with one of the drawers having an accident with GoPro accessories, a Red VideoMic Go, Zoom H5, and other video equipment. The other drawer has ‘antique media’ such as VHS tapes, cassette tapes and vinyl records.
Oh, and there’s a label maker, of which I’m sure there’s no tire left.
Finally – do you often hide under your desk?
Only in summer, when it’s hot and I have to get out of the sunlight! But I work a lot off the floor, whether I just sit on it or lie down. I was told it was weird (usually by my wife, who comes home and lays me on the floor while the cat spreads itself over my legs), but it works for me.