Afternoon Pages: February 13th, 2021

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the D.C. metro region has been in a state of lockdown. To alleviate fear and stress, my writer's group has put together a daily "morning pages" get-together on Zoom in order to touch base before starting the day. Here's some of my brief thoughts.

So the most interesting thing about this cat isn't actually the cat (IMHO) but that its name is Linux.

And the guy uses Debian!!

Check out me singing into my fancy microphone setup for the first time!

I was singing along to the song on YouTube (because the microphone allows playback through headphones in addition to streaming microphone input simultaneously) and it sucked, so I re-recorded it singing with just passion and it sounded a lot better. This is the passion version. It's probably wrong in a lot of ways but it's mine and I sing on the toilet and I like it.

Probably oversharing.

In other news, I got a really really fancy Dell docking station! It's a model WD19TB which costs around $300 even on Amazon. Originally, I had a $40 dock from Anker, and it was...actually pretty sucky. Turns out, you need electricity for a lot of stuff, and if a dock is pulling electricity from a laptop, you're only going to get so much power for your peripherals and that means weird limitations. Like, you can't actually use USB-C for power, you can only use USB-C for displays, but for a given port, and blah blah blah. It's even harder after you realize that Thunderbolt is kind of a special USB-C type or something that's a bit more capable, and so some ports are Thunderbolt capable and some ports are just USB-C.

To highlight the differences between the two docks, here is the Anker docking station:


And here is the Dell WD19TB:


So the significance of this? I have one cable now connected to my laptop, driving two 27'', 1440p displays using 2 DisplayPort -> USB-C ports, laptop power, a wireless mouse via USB and a webcam/microphone combination using USB, wired Ethernet, and a USB-powered wired speaker set. All through one single cable!

Look at the girth of this cable! Or thickness rather!


The benefit of this is not just that I can drive more peripherals that connecting directly to ports doesn't allow, but also that my work and personal laptops take seconds to switch over, since I need to change one laptop cable instead of four or five.

Here's the full setup I have nowadays:


I was thinking about getting two 43'' monitors and a larger Jarvis Fully desk, but I feel like that might be a bit excessive. This setup works for me right now and upgrading to something much larger, while helpful, would also suck more juice (this is all running on one power outlet...haha I need fire protection) and cost a good deal of money. Plus, I promised myself I would only consider such a setup if I learned i3, and given how I tried and failed to do so this past week, I don't think I'd want to use my mouse to scroll over all that sweet sweet real estate.