Office Space, Three Years On

Last week, Diamond entered the fourth year of work-from-home.

I work out of the offices two or three days a week — it depends on the kind of work I’m doing and the projects I’m working on — and have, honestly, since the end of March 2020, but full time in the office, for most people, isn’t happening and isn’t going to happen.

This is the new normal.

I wanted to revisit, as we enter year four of the world COVID wrought, to revisit my home office set-up, which I wrote about here at the time, and see what’s changed about it.

This is how the office — which should be a spare bedroom but I use as a storage room — looked in 2020.

My home office, 2020.
Office 2020!

It’s wholly unremarkable. My computer. Some photos, some artwork, my diploma. A poster of “The Day of the Doctor.” A TARDIS bluetooth speaker in the window, and a TARDIS USB hub. Some coffee mugs.

Now, in 2023!

Office 2023!

It’s virtually the same! Almost all the same photos and artwork. The same coffee mugs. The same table lamp, though I was looking at new lamps at the store over the weekend. The TARDIS bluetooth speaker and USB hub are gone; the speaker was never great, and the hub developed a short and didn’t always function. The computer hardware, except for the subwoofer, are all new, and the subwoofer isn’t even connected to anything — it makes a buzzing sound half the time — but it makes a good monitor stand. There’s a fan; I need to unplug it and dust it outside now that spring’s here. Larger monitor, bigger tower, illuminated mouse, speakers, and keyboard.

My home office might as well be frozen in amber.

The desktop showing in 2020 is Linux Mint. At the time, I was trying to figure out how to get connected to the office network from Linux, something I would not succeed at doing for two and a half years. While this isn’t an actual screenshot from 2020 — I created it yesterday, using an old Mint live DVD — it’s what I would have seen and used at the time.

Linux Mint desktop, circa 2020, with Edward Sachse's painting of Baltimore, 1872, looking south from the Washington Monument, as the wallpaper

That’s Edward Sachse’s painting of Baltimore, 1872.

Compare that to today, which I talked about a few weeks ago.

Mint desktop, showing the Lewis Chessmen

Wait, do I not use Windows? Well, yes, I do. Most of the time, in fact. But there’s far less change there than you’d expect.

That’s 2020. Windows 7. Lots of icons. A Lord of the Rings: War in the North wallpaper of Rivendell. (War in the North was Warner Bros.’ 2011 video game for the Xbox 360 and PS3 about a mission in the north of Middle-earth during the War of the Ring.)

The only different today? I’m on Windows 10, and there are far fewer desktop icons because I’ve really gone for desktop minimalism. (At the office, I have more desktop icons than I would like, because they’re the icons I cannot get rid of due to insufficient permissions.) I use the same War in the North wallpaper. Three years ago, it was a nine-year-old wallpaper. Three years later, the wallpaper is three years older. 🙂

This spring, I’m going to see if I can get my living room clean enough to put a desk in there so I can work from the brighter and roomier living room. I started on it over the weekend, but the last few days my arthritis has been acting up and I’ve been in excruciating pain. I don’t know if I’m going to move my computer there, rehab a computer I pulled from the dumpster a few years ago as a secondary machine, buy something refurbed, or just use the living room with my laptop. I haven’t gotten so far along that I need to think about that yet, and there’s still a good ways to go.

Man, that Baltimore screenshot is making my salivate. It’s just so pretty.

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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