The Verge feeds on news, and Jay Peters is one of the news writers who keeps it going – searching for the latest information on what’s happening in technology, entertainment and culture, and writing it up for the site. As with the rest of us, Jay has done most of the work from home in the last year – here he does it.
Tell me a bit about yourself. What is your background and what do you do about it The Verge?
I’m a news writer here The Verge, and I’m lucky to cover all kinds of things in technology, games, entertainment and more. Every day I can write about things like iPhone 1
I had a little roundabout to this job. Outside of college, I worked in PR technology, started writing about tech Techmeme, and joined The Verge in August 2019.
How did you decide where and how to set up your workspace?
Taking the layout to where it is now has taken years. I’ve experimented with different desktops, mice, keyboards, portable racks, monitor arms, and even at one point attached the Nintendo Switch dock to one of the legs of the desk using Velcro. And I always tile with my layout, so everything I have set up now can change along the way.
When it comes to where the desk is, it was a lucky coincidence that my current apartment has a corner that is the perfect size for this desk and dresser (which contains things like game controls and my notebook).
What adjustments have you had to make to work from home, and how do you deal with distractions?
My wife and I have been working from home since 2017, so our physical work environments have not changed much due to the pandemic. But because we live in a studio, we need to communicate every day about our schedules and meetings so that we can avoid being on the phone at the same time.
To keep distractions out, I usually just put AirPods Pro without sound. It’s often enough to block things so I can stay focused. But if I need some white noise, I’ll turn on this extended YouTube video which consists exclusively of ambient engine noise from USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s been my turn for years. And when I feel like working on some music, I’re too late to turn to lo-fi remixes of video game music.
Tell me a little about the desk itself, which I see is a sitting / standing desk. How did you choose it?
There’s a full Jarvis standing desk. I used a sitting / standing desk at my PR job and got used to being able to switch back and forth, and standing makes me feel less lazy about being parked in front of a computer all day. I also find that switching between sitting and standing relieves back pain and helps with a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in my wrists that first flared up a few years ago.
One of the best additions I got to the desk was the programmable memory device, which allows me to press a button to adjust the desktop to the preferred sitting and standing position. I also got the wheels (wheels) so I could roll it over to my and my wife’s armchairs, which are right behind the desk. I can bring the desk over, adjust the screen a little lower, and then use it to watch movies and play video games.
It seems that you have less space on the desk than most desktops we have seen from your colleagues.
The space has a premium in my studio, so a smaller desk works better for me right now. I’m also lucky that I can technically do all my work with just a laptop, so I do not need a larger desktop – although the keyboard, mouse and screen make it much easier!
It is a very interesting desk chair.
It’s Capisco Chair by HÅG, and I thought so too when I first saw it on Fully’s online store. I had no plans to buy it because of the price, which starts at $ 829. But I tried it at the Fully showroom in Portland, and it was my favorite chair there, so I ran for it. Every single day I’m glad I did, since I can comfortably sit in it for hours, and it helps a lot with my posture.
Okay, now it’s time to talk about your technology. Let’s start with your computer.
I have a new 13-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s custom M1 chip inside. It’s a wonderful machine. The only upgrade I added was 16GB of RAM. I did not add any storage space on board because most of my digital life is stored online.
The screen is an Asus VS228H-P with a 21.5-inch screen. My Amazon account tells me that I bought this way back in 2015, but even though it’s old, I’m still very happy with it. (I will admit that I thought this was a 24-inch screen for uh, years.)
It’s attached to a screen mount from Huanuo, and I bought it because it was the tallest I could find.
It’s a very interesting screen layout. How did you decide that? Does it work well for you?
I use a single screen because I get distracted too easily if I have more than one. I’d like to upgrade to something bigger or maybe even an ultra-wide one day, though (especially now that I know I have a 21.5-inch screen instead of a 24-inch).
The extremely high screen mount serves two purposes: it helps a lot with my posture and is very adjustable, which means I can bring it to a lower height when I sit in the chairs behind the desk.
Tell us a little about the mouse you have to the right of the keyboard.
It’s Contour Unimouse. My wrists can hurt if I use a “flat” mouse for two long ones, so I spent a lot of time and money trying different vertical mice to see which one worked best for me. I like Unimouse very much because of how high it angles – the company’s website says it’s 70 degrees.
The mouse pad is the VictSing Ergonomic Mouse Pad. I do not remember why I chose it over others, but it works well for me and it is cheap.
You’re the second person I’ve seen using a shared keyboard. Do you find it better than a traditional keyboard?
I do! It’s Kinesis Freestyle Pro with extra tent accessories and wrist pillows. I happily used Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboards for years, and also tried other ergonomic keyboards like Kinesis Advantage2 QD and ErgoDox EZ. But Freestyle Pro just feels best to me.
I also like that I can program specific keys for macros. On the left side of the keyboard you can see that I have roughly taped clippings of Post-It notes over some of the keys – these clippings are reminders of what I have programmed the keys to do, like Command + L to quickly mark the link in the URL line in my browser.
What about your other technology (headphones, speakers, etc.)?
During the work day, the AirPods Pro almost never leaves my ears – they are comfortable, sound good and work very well with my Mac and iPhone. I have only one criticism: unlike the original AirPods, the AirPods Pro tends to fall out when I talk on calls or eat. Hopefully, Apple will adapt the fit of the AirPods Pro a bit for the next model.
My webcam is the Logitech C920 HD Pro. It’s great and much better than the MacBook Air’s webcam.
My USB-C hub is the Totu 13-in-1. It’s honestly for my needs, but it works well. Sometimes, however, it emits a whistle from the dog which is very annoying. And the charging plate is a Choetech charging plate. It works well enough, even though it charges the iPhone very slowly and sometimes requires me to change my devices a bit until the charging indicators turn on.
To the left of my desktop are PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch. I’ve mostly only owned Nintendo consoles until recently, so I’ve spent a lot of my pandemic capturing older PlayStation and Xbox games on PS5 and Series X. (I’m currently tearing myself through 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.) They all sit on an IKEA Malm drawer with two drawers.
And all day long I sip water from my reliable Hydro Flask water bottle. I swapped the hood for a Klean Kanteen Sport hood, though, which I think leaks less than Hydro Flask’s sports hood.
When you submitted the photos, you apologized for the cat hair on some of your devices. Tell us about the cat!
Meet Gouda! He is an eight-year-old exotic short-haired man, and his tongue never goes completely into his mouth. But do not be fooled by his sweet, he is full of problems. He likes to knock small objects off the benches and wake my wife and me up thirty minutes before the alarm goes off. But we love him anyway.