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What Home Office Software / Hardware Gems have you found?

Discussion in 'Careers, Employment and Professional Development' started by randomshenans, 13 Jul 2021.

  1. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    I have been using my work computer at home since this whole thing kicked off and during that time, often sat with my work macbook under the monitors of my main PC screens. One thing I wanted to be able to do was use both work and home computers with one mouse/keyboard but old KVMs are ugly and rubbish.
    Then I found Barrier. The software KVM you install on both and set one as a server and the others as clients. You can share clipboards, drag and drop etc. It's honestly saved me! I can switch seamlessly between machines now. Love it.

    For meetings and headset I tend to use my airpods with the macbook, which have been great to be fair.

    I have a really good and cheap desktop fan I bought the other day. Just keeps me cool next to all the screens. It's hot in there.

    Good chair is key too, I've found. I have the Mirra 2 I got a refurbed one, and it's good, but I don't think it's the best seat I've ever sat on. But hey, I probably sit in it over 12hrs a day and don't notice, so can't be that bad.

    I've just downloaded "Krisp" which is "AI noise reduction" for meetings - so supposed to cut out all background noise, like your kids going mental or dogs barking. I haven't tested it yet but will be doing so today.


    Anyone else found any total gems during this time or before? Barrier is defo my top find. I'll report back on krisp too.
     
  2. Semple

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 5 Mar 2010

    Posts: 8,721

    This sounds promising. I know from the first lockdown when schools were shut and you'd be on a call and would hear kids screaming/running around in the background.

    Can you not RDP/SSH rather than use a software KVM? I don't think a software KVM gives any particular advantage.
     
  3. beh

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 16 Oct 2003

    Posts: 2,181

    Krisp (along with RTX voice) was mentiond on BBC Click last year, it looked pretty impressive. Quite an entertaining review too.

    Barrier sounds similar to Logitech Flow, not something I've tried but seems to be supported by my M590. Just using the button to switch between paired devices has been handy.

    One of the first things I bought was a monitor arm. Obviously better ergonomics but also nice to free up some space on my desk. Just a ~£30 one from amazon, not sure whether the more expensive ones are noticeably better?

    Wish I'd got some better headphones sooner for listening to music and blocking out sound. Got pair of M50X second hand just before xmas, had been using a flimsy headset borrowed from work before that.

    Only just bought a thunderbolt dock (also second hand). Again, should probably have picked one up last year, slight reduction in faffing with cables is appreciated.
     
  4. peterwalkley

    Mobster

    Joined: 23 Feb 2009

    Posts: 4,022

    Location: South Wirral

    For audio conferencing I've found the Jabra 510 speakerphone to be really handy - much nicer than being chained to the laptop with headphones and cable. Downside is that it is a speakerphone, so noise will travel out of where you're working which is obviously a problem if you are in a shared space.

    You've got the other bases sorted, decent monitor(s), chair, keyboard.

    Work laptop and personal equipment are completely separated to match company rules. Not your problem as you're the boss iirc :)
     
  5. fatbatman

    Gangster

    Joined: 1 Feb 2020

    Posts: 211

    The barrier software sounds useful, something which I really need, but no chance of getting that software approved by enterprise security :(
     
  6. mattx2

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 21 Jul 2005

    Posts: 1,428

    Location: New York

    I've been using Mouse without borders to switch between personal/work laptops that was a game changer

    Thanks for the heads up on Krisp going to give that a try as I have a 6 month and 6 year old that like to randomly cry/scream/bash things during meetings
     
  7. mid_gen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 20 Dec 2004

    Posts: 11,844

    Mouse without borders is a good shout.

    Best thing I did, with a bigass workstation and my personal desktop, was getting a 49"Samsung CRG90 monitor. Swapping cables between the two with my old multi monitor setup was a pain in the butt. Now I just switch inputs and the USB cable over. Could get a USB switch or a proper KVM, but this does the job.

    The ultrawide is ace, can have both input simultaneously side by side, 2x2560x1440. On a single input, it's so much better than two monitors, you can have your main application front and centre, and ancillary stuff either side. FancyZones is great for it.

    I have a 'Yotto' brand amazon cheapo cardioid condenser mic mounted on an arm that peeks above the top of the monitor, much better than having it cluttering the desk.

    Steelcase Please V2 chair, best I've used by a long shot, lumbar support is much better than the Herman Millers, plus it's a lot smaller footprint wise so doesn't take over my home office.
     
  8. HangTime

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 29,400

    Location: Hampshire

    Yeah, as soon as I read "shared clipboard" I knew that would be off the table.
    I tend to use two separate mice and occasionally get confused as to why the cursor isn't moving :)

    Regarding Krisp, I believe this is used by Discord for noise reduction.
    I used to use RTX Voice (for gaming, not work) and found it to be excellent 90% of the time, but occasionally it would go a bit haywire and massively distort my voice. What I liked was it handles both incoming and outgoing so not only can I relax about mashing a mech keyboard, I don't have to worry about other people flooding my audio with theirs either.

    Personally, I haven't really discovered any gems. Basically all I've done is take my work laptop and plug in my own mouse, headset and monitor (shared with my personal desktop PC). One issue I've got is the refresh rate, my PC over display port does 144hz but the laptop over HDMI I only get 70hz. Not sure if it's an issue with the cable or what, I guess I could try the same cable on my desktop for comparison.
     
  9. malachi

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jun 2006

    Posts: 10,869

    Location: Not here

    32" ultrawide monitor. Don't have the space for two screens but this has been great, helps with my studying having two windows side by side for coding.
     
  10. Josh

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Oct 2013

    Posts: 10,484

    Location: Surrey

    I found a little bit of free software that changes the input on my monitor and assigned it to a macro, so when switching between Outlook and my own PC and back it's a keypress not a blind reach around.

    Only a little thing but saved me so much time faffing around.
     
  11. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Ooo that's also sweet, what's it called?
     
  12. Quartz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Apr 2014

    Posts: 13,932

    Location: Aberdeen

    Try stacking one above the other.
     
  13. malachi

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jun 2006

    Posts: 10,869

    Location: Not here

    Ceiling is too low
     
  14. Josh

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Oct 2013

    Posts: 10,484

    Location: Surrey

    Dope, knew I forgot something. View and modify the settings of your monitor (VCP Features) (nirsoft.net) - find the code for your inputs, create a batch file to switch the input, create another batch file to switch back - test it and then assign the running of the batch file to a keypress.

    I have my work laptop (HDMI) and my PC (DP) both hooked into a 32" monitor, macro set via my KB G keys - from press to display input switch is around 2-3 seconds.
     
  15. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 12,774

    Location: France, Alsace

    Niiiice. That combined with barrier will be great as sometimes I just need more real estate on the work computer than the macbook but can't be chewed changing inputs!
     
  16. #Chri5#

    Soldato

    Joined: 27 Feb 2003

    Posts: 7,054

    Location: Shropshire

    Mouse without Borders has been great for me as well. Work laptop on the left end on the desk, than on a stand I have two monitors. The left one is connected to the laptop, the right is driven from my own PC. Seamless single mouse/keyboard is excellent and also means that if I want to quickly Google something during a Teams/Zoom call, I can do it on my own PC and know there's no chance of it being visible if I'm screen sharing.
     
  17. Josh

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Oct 2013

    Posts: 10,484

    Location: Surrey

    Yeah barrier sounds good, I bought a Logitech G925 and use that for switching between my LT and PC one via Wifi, one via BT, can also do the same with my MX Master3 but Logi put the switch...on the bottom of the device and made no way to remap it - also tried the Logi Flow software but found it very hit and miss.

    Will look into barrier, sounds like it could be the solution to my x2 wireless mouse issue.
     
  18. 413x

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2010

    Posts: 23,195

    Location: Llaneirwg

    Took me a long time to set up my WFH stuff.

    Main issue was 3 Way 4k kvm.

    Well I found one.

    I have a little 4 way push button thing that switchs
    -work laptop
    -personal laptop
    -desktop

    They share
    USB keyboard
    USB mouse
    USB amplifier

    The amp switches from headphones to speakers
    And from Bluetooth to usb

    Microphone is on a splitter cable and isn't USB. It's the old analogue cable.

    The desktop bypasses the kvm monitor as I wanted a direct cable to the monitor

    The monitor has a one button 'switch' but defaults to desktop

    Is absolutely the best thing I have.


    My g502 lightspeed is the shared mouse
    I also have a rollerball for just work. Just to help with wrist issues I had a few months ago



    I looked at software kvm. But decided against it as I didn't want to have to run both machines to run one.

    Kvm button pad
    [​IMG]


    Kvm:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2021
  19. Mr^B

    Mobster

    Joined: 25 Nov 2002

    Posts: 3,442

    I needed something to switch between mouse/keyboard and dual monitor setup for my home PC and work Laptop.

    Laptop was supplied with a dual Display port adapter to Lightning adapter...

    It's OK, but the K/M USB ports did not work with my Corsair keyboard and mouse, but that was ok, as I just bought a 4-port USB HUB, which actually makes the cabling a bit tidier too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]