WordPress Workspaces: Ryan Imel’s apartment office

17 Comments

We all work with WordPress professionals every day. Not in the traditional way, of course: we use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs to work virtually with one another. And that works great. But have you ever wondered what someone’s office looked like, the desk where they spend the bulk of their lives working? I’ve wondered. Today I’m excited to introduce a new series at WPCandy called WordPress Workspaces, where we’ll do just that.

I’m the guinea pig. In this post I’m going to show you around my office and explain my favorite parts of it. While this particular post features my own workspace, please get in touch if you would be willing to share your own workspace on WPCandy in a future WordPress Workspaces post.

About Ryan Imel

About Ryan: First, a bit about me (for those of you new to the site especially). My name is Ryan Imel, and I’m what you could call the Editor in Chief around here. All that really means is that it’s my fault when things go wrong. I’ve been developing websites using WordPress for a solid five years now, and have been making a living for a good while based largely on our favorite open source CMS. I still freelance a good deal, but a large part of my time is also spent right here, doing my best to bring awesome content to WPCandy.

So that’s me, briefly. Without further ado, let’s take a look at my workspace:

Okay, I’m kidding. I love simplicity, and my typewriter, but I’m not quite that retro. I’m pretty sure there’s no WordPress plugin in the world to make that work.

Seriously now, my workspace:

That’s more like it, right? The numbers in the images above correlate to this list:

  1. Rode Studio Microphone Arm
  2. Rode Procaster Mic
  3. Clean desk
  4. Whiteboard and bookshelves
  5. iMac
  6. Second display
  7. Speakers
  8. iPad
  9. Chair
  10. Time Capsule and USB hub
  11. Hard drives and Mac Mini Server
  12. Modem and mic input

1. Rode Studio Microphone Arm

We might as well start with one of the dorkiest items, right? I added the mic arm to my arsenal in the last month or so, and use it primarily for Skype calls (of which I do many), and for the WPCandy Show podcast (of which I should do more).

Before the mic arm I had to hunch over the desk because I only had a small desk mic stand. In any video interviews I did I looked pretty awkward, and worse yet due of the angle my audio level wasn’t constant. I would wander back and forth slightly, causing my voice to sometimes miss the “sweet spot” of the mic. With the mic arm it’s a lot easier to keep it straight in front of me, keeping that signal steady and strong.

2. Rode Procaster Mic

As cool as the mic arm is, it wouldn’t be much without the Procaster mic attached to it. The last thing I am is an audiophile, but I’ve learned just enough to know that having a decent mic is vital to a halfway decent audio recording. I’ve had this particular Rode for just over a year now, I think, and I don’t think I’ll really have much to say about it until I try out another mic some day.

For what I do, this Rode treats me pretty well.

3. Clean desk

The only bad thought I have about my desk itself is the amount of time it took me to put the dang thing together. Being an L-shaped desk, there are two ways it can be set up: with the L to the left or to the right. That means there are twice the number of instructions and, most daunting of all, twice the number of potential pre-drilled holes. Just to confuse you.

I remember it taking at least four hours to put this desk together.

But now it’s all rainbows and Skittles. I could never go back to working on anything else. Having enough room to have both of my monitors and still plenty of empty space sets my mind at ease.

4. Whiteboard and bookshelves

Next to the mic arm the whiteboard is the latest addition to my little area. You might notice the board is positioned slightly lower than you might expect. This is so I can use it while still sitting in my chair. I’ve found it particularly beneficial to quickly mock up new page layout ideas and, in general, map out new ideas.

The whiteboard is also useful for Ashley to leave messages to me, as you can see in the picture above.

Just above the whiteboard you can see the invisible bookshelves. For the most part the books I chose to keep up there were those that were large enough to fit the shelves: large books at the bottom, smaller books toward the top. Hey, maybe one day they will be filled entirely with WordPress books.

5. iMac

I like Apple products. My primary work machine is this 27 inch iMac, which I do enjoy using.

6. Second display

I’ve always liked having a second display when I work. It’s helpful, though I probably depend on it more than I need to. I’ve heard, once or twice before, that beyond a certain point having additional screen space won’t help you get that much more done. I aim to find that breaking point.

This particular one is a 28 inch I-Inc monitor. It’s a weird brand that I’ve found a few times on Amazon. I buy them because

  1. They’re 28 inches.
  2. They’re usually only a couple hundred dollars.
  3. They’re 28 inches.

Did I mention they’re 28 inches? Yeah, I’m a fan.

7. Speakers

I use a simple set of Bose desk speakers that I’ve had for a number of years. They get the job done, though I’m more likely using my headphones when I’m really working. You can see the pair I use sitting next to the iPad in the pictures above.

8. iPad

Let’s be honest: there isn’t a solid work excuse for having an iPad. I’ve probably used it more for games than anything else since I bought it last year. I do spend time reading on it, but not much as I should.

Probably the most useful work related way I use the iPad is to change my surroundings every now and then. What I mean is, sometimes sitting at my desk and sitting the same way I always sit gets a little old. When that happens, one thing I will do is grab the iPad, sit elsewhere, and do any necessary reading or research that I need to do a bit more casually. For me at least, changing locations and work machine like that can help me refocus and continue working.

9. Chair

I can’t say I know a lot about office chairs. Mine is pretty basic, picked up at a local store. I do like that it will recline back a bit when I want it to, though.

10. Time Capsule and USB hub

I use the Time Capsule as my router and my primary backup solution. It works.

Sitting on top of the Time Capsule, but mostly obscured by the darkness in the photo, is a basic USB hub. I can’t really get by with only three or four ports, so this gives me an extra four or five so that I can have everything I need plugged in at all times. I hate — hate — having to swap out USB cables for specific tasks. I’d say this is a minor part of my desk setup, but then again I’ve had USB hubs die on me before, and it’s far from a minor issue when it does.

11. Hard drives and Mac Mini Server

I currently use three external hard drives. One is primarily for music and movies, another is primarily for business and project files, and the other, to be honest, is currently a leftover. It used to be my primary music/movie hard drive, but I swapped out for the larger one not long ago. The old one is a bit small, so I haven’t decided what to use it for yet.

The Mac Mini Server sort of fell into my lap. It’s a funny story, which I’d be happy to tell any of you if we ever meet at a WordCamp. For now, though, I use the Server to run a few background processes on my network. WordPress is always humming along on MAMP on the Server, for instance. I’ve found that certain constantly running applications can really weight down my work machine after a while, so using the Server to carry that load is pretty cool.

12. Modem and mic input

We might as well end on the least sexy items in the office, right? First is the modem, which is a pretty basic item to have here. Underneath the modem is the mic input for my Procaster, which is a two input M-Audio Mobile Pre that goes into my iMac via USB.


Well, that’s my workspace. I spend a lot of time with WordPress here, and now you’re about as familiar with it as anyone else is. I’d love to see where you work with WordPress, if you’d care to share as well. Would you like to share your WordPress Workspace?

17 thoughts on “WordPress Workspaces: Ryan Imel’s apartment office

  1. I love checking out other’s workspaces. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something intriguing about seeing how other people (especially other freelancers) set up their space.

    • I’m right there with you. I think, for me, it’s similar to the novelty I see behind video interviews. Actually seeing a person, in their own environment, who you are used to hearing from on Twitter or elsewhere on a near daily-basis, is pretty. neat.

  2. That desk is disturbingly clean.

    Where are the pens? The frantic sticky notes? The pile of clutter on the corner? the random crap other people in the household bring to you to look at? The balled up kleenexes?

  3. Seriously i inspired to see your workplace and i love to have this style. Still now i run my blog through my college canteen, library and stations but didn’t have stable place. Thanks to showing it.

  4. Thanks for the insight into your workspace! My setup is actually very similar to yours…27″ iMac, second monitor (though mine is running an old Dell pc that I had sitting around… I connect them using synergy so I can use the same keyboard and mouse…this way I ever have to run parallels and windows on my Mac, which I hate doing since it’s so slow).
    Not sure about anyone else, but I would love a set up tutorial on how to run mamp on the server…that sounds like something I should look into doing.
    I don’t have much experience running wordpress locally… When you do that, I’m assuming you can design the whole thing locally, including CSS changes, etc?

    • Well, right now it isn’t :). But even when it’s messy, it is so with purpose.

      I guess I should update the post with a few more realistic photos :).

  5. Nice desk. I’m currently looking for something similar and modular. The fact that I am in a third floor apartment is somewhat limiting. I may end up building it myself in a way that isn’t a major pain in the ass to move.

    Cheers

Comments are closed.