What’s on your desk, Adi Robertson?

When you tend to collect items, it’s hard to create a litter-free space in which to work. It’s even more difficult when you have to do it on the fly because suddenly you are working at home rather than in the office. Adi Robertson, senior reporter for The edge, has indeed succeeded in doing so, and in this chapter of “What’s on Your Desk”, she explains how she has organized a place in which she can concentrate and do her fabulous reporting without distraction.

Tell me about yourself. What is your background and what are you doing at The edge?

I joined The edge a few weeks after launching as a news editor; it was my first post as a professional journalist (or writing in general) after a few discreet blogs and writing the cocktail column in my school newspaper. The good thing about my job is that I can work in many areas – I have covered film festivals, virtual reality material, net neutrality and copyright, moderation of speech, outdated technology and too many random gadgets to count.

I think this is absolutely the neatest workspace I have ever seen. Is this new?

Extremely new. I spent the pandemic working at my dining room table until I cleared a dedicated room – which I’m incredibly lucky to have in a Brooklyn apartment – for a long home office. term.

To put it mildly, this is nothing like the rest of my house. I try to commit to having a clean space that I can feel good about working in, and then… well, everything in between. Which means I occasionally bring things (knitting, my mic stand) into the office and then drag them into the next room (let’s be honest, the dining room table, it’s not like I ‘was having dinners) when I’m done with them.

A corner of the room that works best for Zoom.

Tell me about your office. Where is it in the room and where did you get it?

I put my desk in the corner of the room that gives me the least amount of trouble in front of the camera for Zoom meetings and interviews. It’s against a wall that faces a window, across from the only wall with no window or door, and far enough from my old heater that I don’t get burned in the winter.

The desk is a Kardiel Urbane in walnut – minimalist so I won’t be tempted to fill it with stuff, but with a little drawer that is perfect for spare cables, USB sticks and the recorder and earpiece microphone which I use to capture interviews for transcription.

Tell me about your chair.

The chair is from Joss & Main, although like all furniture brands I mention here, I had to ask my husband where he bought it. On my own, I’m unable to find any household items anywhere other than Ikea or the first random neighborhood store I walk into, so I acquire while vaguely describing what I want and I always end up with something better than I ever could have gotten. for myself.

Can you tell us about the technology you use?

I spend the working day in front of my Vox laptop, a 2017 MacBook Pro, with a few accessories: the Satechi USB-C hub recommended by my colleague Chaim Gartenberg, a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones that my other colleague Chris Welch reviewed, an Anker wireless charger for my Samsung Galaxy S10E and a Razer DeathAdder Elite packaged for the rare times I need an external mouse.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony’s 1000XM4 headphones improve on their popular predecessors with new features like multipoint pairing and automatic speech detection. They maintain the same excellent comfort and the same premium sound quality.

Sadly, I had the MacBook during the bad Apple keyboard years, and I guess it couldn’t handle my volume and typing intensity. I broke so many keys on butterfly keyboards that I gave up on having them fixed and stacked a bluetooth keyboard on my laptop with a cardboard divider.

Outside of work, I bought a Samsung Chromebook 4 that I hoped I could turn into a GalliumOS Linux machine, only to learn that most newer Chromebooks don’t support full Linux installations. Turns out Chrome OS is almost incredibly handy, but I still want real control over my hardware. it really bothers me! I miss netbooks!

There’s also an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset hidden by the desk legs. Like the Google Chromebook, there are some real privacy concerns here, but it’s such a well-designed product and Meta-Facebook-Oculus is very good at nabbing gaming exclusives.

Oculus Quest 2 (128 GB)

An autonomous virtual reality headset and successor to the Oculus Quest. It features a refined design, higher resolution screens and a faster processor than its predecessor. The latest iteration offers double the amount of storage for the same price of $ 299.

I love your lamp. Where did you get it? And is it a duck or a goose?

It’s a West Elm mallard – another thing I would never have bought and now find it nice to have.

I see you are using a notebook.

I usually accidentally write in two or three different notebooks over a period of time, but I keep a Muji B6 at my desk for taking interview notes and doing non-work writing and design. games. (I also love Muji pens, but I bought a Lamy Safari fountain pen because I was constantly using disposable ballpoint pens.)

The B6 is a sturdy all-rounder that fits great in a purse, feels respectable without being overpriced, and as a left-handed, a spiral-bound notebook means there’s less paper to get in my way. . when I write.

Work tools include technology and a laptop computer.

Work tools include technology and a laptop computer.

The desk is guarded by a Mallard Duck lamp.

The desk is guarded by a mallard lamp.

A Bluetooth keyboard was needed to replace a broken MacBook keyboard.

A Bluetooth keyboard was needed to replace a broken MacBook keyboard.
Photo by Adi Robertson / The Verge

And of course you have to tell us about the typewriter!

I spend a lot of my time outside of work writing games and fiction for fun, and I love to experiment with how different tools influence the flow, although I usually end up using my laptop or computer. notepad. (There is a Freewrite electronic typewriter and a Psion Series 5 personal digital assistant on the shelf behind me.) Some don’t, some make it harder or easier to see what you’ve already written, some are physically faster or slower to write than others, etc.

The typewriter is a manual Olympia that I bought a decade ago from Craigslist and developed while visiting a typewriter repair technician in an unmarked office at the top of an elevator wanking in Manhattan, because I had just moved to NYC and was amazed that this was the kind of thing you could just do. It still has a few crooked keys, but overall it works pretty well.

Having said that, trying to use a typewriter always impresses me that someone wrote anything in their day. There is such a precise rhythm to hit the keys hard enough that they are readable but not so fast that they lock against each other. And you are so exposed! Anyone can walk around and see exactly what you are writing! Someday I’ll be confident enough to finish a story on a typewriter. Today is not that day.

The Olympia manual typewriter still performs quite well.

The Olympia manual typewriter still performs quite well.

Are you planning to decorate your space more or are you going to keep it minimalist?

I knew early Edge member of the video team who kept a cork board where he pinned all of his event cover badges, like a trophy / memory board, and I always thought it was a good idea but didn’t never had the space to put one. So I have a decade of film festival and tech talk badges collected at random from a box in my room, and I finally want to put them on a wall.

Otherwise, I’m currently getting a cutout collage by Michael Tunk based on Solid metal gear framed, and hopefully put together a Edge 10th anniversary poster as well. But my overall goal is to bring as little as possible into the room. Like a fortified redoubt against the clutter of my apartment. We’ll see if I can continue like this.

Is there anything else about your workspace that we haven’t covered?

I have a minor update on the dried leaf at the edge of one of my photos. My cat Trico saw her moving out the window the morning I took the photos, and she was so excited we brought her inside for her to play with. It’s on the floor now.

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