A good setup goes a long way

I’ve been limited to a 13” screen to do my work on for ages and ages, well since July 2013 at least. The only person who did the limiting was myself. One of the things that contributed to the issue was working from home, and never having proper office space. DHH also praised working from his 11” MacBook Air on the go all the time. Although that is doable, and I first went with the 13” Air, then a 13” pro, there were certain times when something was missing.
Those certain times increased in rate and frequency when I started wearing different hats, working on everything from OPS, through backend Ruby on Rails, to front-end JavaScript development. Handling complex, multi-language projects is pretty tricky on a 13” screen. It’s not impossible, because I’ve been doing this for two years now. But if you can solve the pain you are feeling by buying a screen/mouse/keyboard combo, then there is no reason to suffer that pain.
Dissecting big problems into smaller chunks can also help a lot. But that also takes a lot of time, and you need to be able to look at the big picture once in a while. Although my eyes are still serving me well, there is no sense in destroying them on purpose. It’s also nice to be able to pass the Joel Test
So I faced another of those complex issues, where you have to look at the big picture while developing something. As it happens often, the lack of top level overview caused me to follow the wrong path a couple of times. Now, I don’t suggest impulse buying, and I investigated all the equipment beforehand. Luckily the computer shop near me had everything that I needed.
After a 10 minute setup, everything was up and running, I’m still getting used to my mechanical keyboard. It differs a lot from the MacBook keyboard I’ve been using for the last few years. But as I’m writing this article, I’m liking the feedback and the writing simplicity more and more. It kinda reminds me of the IBM model M keyboard that I had ages ago. I’d use it today, if my mother didn’t throw it away.
Having a 27” screen, alongside the 13” MacBook, is awesome. It takes me back to the time when I had to buy a new video card with my own cash. Then install it in my work computer on the previous job. Then I took an old 15” lcd from the company’s service room, putting it alongside my 17” screen. It was pure awesomeness back then, more or less.
Having an awesome chair also means a lot. I know people that praise their Aerons and Embodys and I don’t know what else is cool these days. I’ve sat in both of the mentioned chairs, and they are awesome. But I just won’t pay more money for a chair than I paid for my computer. Yes, you can buy a refurbished chair, but it’s still worth a hefty amount of cash. A few friends suggested that I buy Markus from IKEA, and I didn’t regret it at all. I can buy 10 of these chairs (maybe even more) for the price of one Aeron. And it’s an awesome super adjustable, comfortable chair.
What are your pain points with your computer setup? You have something that has been itching you for a long time. It’s easy to solve, and there is often an inexpensive solution to the problem. So go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger and buy the thing you need to flourish. You will feel the benefits immediately.

Working Remote

You are surely tired of your commute, every day, waking up way before it’s convenient for you, cramming in public traffic, with people around you, wasting your precious time day after day. I had a 10 minute walk to the last place I worked at before going freelance, and it was nice, the commute before that was 45 minutes each way. But even that, being tied to one place, for 8 hours each day, at a fixed time is nauseating. There is a solution: Remote Working.

As you are aware, many companies today offer the option for you to work remotely full-time. As a freelance consultant, this is probably the most common way to work. Now, by saying remote, I don’t mean only and always working from your home, but working from a place that is not your main office, that can be a lot of places. Some people prefer coffee shops, some like me, really love to work from home, some go to a co-working space, whatever floats your boat.

So here are some benefits that you will see immediately or after some time, and pitfalls that you can meet in your remote working life if you don’t take care of yourself.


  • Less time commuting == More time spent with your family
  • No commuting expenses
  • Ability to choose the best time of day when you are most productive
  • Less stress and interruptions
  • Less meetings
  • Your written communication levels rise to the roof
  • You learn how to work better


  • Not being able to separate work from private life
  • Isolation from other people can affect your mental health in a bad way
  • Letting yourself go physically

Jason and David are far better writers than me, so if you
want to really learn about remote work, and everything it carries with, go and read great book on this subject Remote: Office Not Required by the guys from Basecamp.