In 2005, my learned colleagues were split on whether or not to take a laptop on frontier travel, and I ultimately chose to take my lightweight laptop on a trip through Vietnam and China. It was the right choice. My NEC LaVie LN500/9 (as seen here) is two-thirds the size of a standard laptop, has a longer battery life because of the smaller screen, wireless capability, and weighs only 3lbs. I also brought along field recording equipment. On the road, access to lightweight hi-tech equipment was critical.
Since that “Journey Across the Far East,” I’ve been permanently based in Japan. And despite trips to Australia, Thailand, the United States, and Great Britain, I have become more sedentary (and regular readers know why). And as I spend more time in the Viceroy Study and less time on the road, my interest has shifted away from mobile and lightweight devices to heavy-duty office infrastructure. And this Viceroy swears by the standing desk.
The standing desk became popular with the statesman of the Victorian era, although it faded out of fashion in the late 19th century. The standing desk recently made a media comeback when journalists raved about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his regular use of a standing desk, despite being in his late 60s/early 70s. Rumsfeld used an old-school desk in the drawing table style, which gives an angle or slant to the writing surface, as was common on the typical drawing board. You can see some of the various types of styles of standing desks here.
I set about to create my own standing desk about a year ago, but I adopted a more modern style, and constructed the desk myself with the design focused on the use of my new desktop computer (which, after using a laptop for years, feels light-years faster than a laptop. My room is ultimately too small to get the entire thing in one picture, so below is a composite photo of where I spend my working hours at home.
To explain in brief, that’s a 24 inch widescreen Dell monitor and is an absolute dream to use. The small cabinet of a harddrive is my new, 2 terabyte external hard drive, highly recommended for purveyors of bittorrent such as myself. On the left is an ad hoc work area. The material that comprised the desk, which I assembled and constructed myself, cost about US$200 in total. If I had to do it all over again, here’s what I’d do different:
# I’d probably slope the left top part of the desk, where I write/read, which makes it easier to write over long periods of time. That was the traditional model of the old school standing desk such that Rumself is using in the photo above.
# I’d forget about the bookshelf on top of the desk, it just gets in the way and blocks the light. The shelves underneath the desk are more than sufficient.
Anyone with questions is welcome to fire away in the comments.