Must-Have Tools for Laptop Blogging, Sofa Workstations, and Home Offices
One day, while you're putting the final touches on a big project and sipping your coffee—black, unsweetened, like nature intended it to be consumed—it dawns on you: you're working from home for a living, and you’re actually living. You've made it. Congrats! Now it's time to flesh out that dream and put the pieces in place to build the ultimate home workspace you never thought was possible.
An average day at the home office usually goes one of three ways: you work at your desk; you watch TV and say that you’re working from the couch; or you do some combination of both. Whichever way you choose to get things done, you'll need some accessories to make yourself comfortable and productive.
If you're blogging on or around the sofa, the CAAZORII Lapdesk (available in White or Black) is a well-thought-out solution to keep your laptop off your lap, and higher up where it's more usable. The Lapdesk is easily assembled and disassembled, and the adjustable surface lets you work on the computer or with pen and paper, at whatever angle best suits you.
Should you prefer to work at your desk, though, there are other laptop-stand options that will help make sure you're getting an ergonomically correct experience. If you use a MacBook Pro, you'll definitely want to take a look at the Twelve South BookArc Desktop Stand. Since Twelve South has Mac-only compatibility, you can rest assured that the BookArc is specially crafted to fit your Apple notebook. Sit your MacBook in the BookArc, plug it into an external display, and watch your productivity soar, thanks to the extra video card memory that's freed up.
Stick a Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD next to that BookArc, and you can turn your desk into Productivity Central. Belkin's dock sports two Thunderbolt 2 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, as well as gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, an audio output, and an audio input. It will turn a notebook into a virtual tower with tons of connectivity, input, and output options. Since it can handle 4K video as well, Belkin's dock can even turn your notebook into an entertainment center when your work is done and it's time to play.
Remote Office (Coffee Shop) Accessories
Not everything can be accomplished from the comfort of home, so it's advisable to have some gear for when it's time to take your show on the road. Whether you're setting up in a library, coffee shop, pub, or park, there are a few essentials that will make sure you can get things done when you’re out and about.
Your laptop may have a good deal of onboard storage, but you can never have too much space. The WD My Passport Ultra Portable Hard Drive will give you an extra two terabytes of storage capacity for movies, games, pictures, music, work files, or whatever else you want to keep but don't want to carry on your internal drive. You can take it on the road and have a fast storage option that you can plug into anything with a USB port, or you can leave it at home and have all of your non-essential media at your disposal.
If you're looking to take a ton of media on the road without adding too much heft to your load, snap up a 32GB Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive from SanDisk. It slips easily into a pocket, comes with free cloud storage and password protection, and has a lightning-quick 190MB/s read speed. Add in the lifetime warranty, and SanDisk’s flash drive becomes a perfect solution for transferring those files that are too big to attach to an email.
Sometimes, setting up at a cafe, pub, or whichever establishment best cures your writer's block isn't so easy—thanks to somebody else hogging the power outlet. That's why you'll want to keep something like the Watson 10-foot AC Power Cord on hand, in case you need some juice and the guy with the massive laptop is hogging all of the space next to the outlets. It's got a water-resistant thermoplastic jacket, as well, so you're safe if and when "Massive Laptop Guy" spills that triple mocha latte on your power cord.
To clean up after that spill, you'll want to have a few Falcon Anti-Static Monitor Wipes on hand. They're soft and thick, and they'll sop up dirt, lint, and whatever splash-back managed to make it to your screen. Falcon monitor wipes are specially designed to be suitable for use on sensitive laptop monitor screens, so you can wipe away with no concerns that you’ll be scratching your gear.
You'll also need something to cart all of this around. The Ruggard Convertible Laptop Bag has not only a ton of storage, but multiple carrying configurations, as well. You can wear it as a backpack, tote it as a shoulder bag, carry it as a briefcase, or tow it along, strapped to your luggage. On top of all that, it comes with enough space to fit a notebook, spare hard drive, lap shield, extension cord, and even the tablet that you bring along and promise yourself you'll only use as a second productivity screen.
The Computer Itself
Let's be honest: you spend more time with your laptop than you do with most of your family and friends, so it's understandable that you'd want your ever-present digital hub to be as sleek and stylish as it is powerful. It doesn't matter if you're in your breakfast nook or at a sports bar; you've got to look at it all day, after all.
When it comes to style plus power, there's simply no surpassing the Apple Retina MacBook Pro. Apple wrote the book on good-looking computers, and most manufacturers are still trying to catch up. It will be hard to take your eyes off this baby's gorgeous Retina display, with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, high enough that you can keep your writing and research on the same screen, with room to spare for a few of the inevitable distractions.
On the power end, the MacBook Pro's 2.6GHz Intel® Core™ i5 processor and 8GB of RAM will blaze through anything you can throw at it, and OS X is built to make sure it does so while leaving you enough battery power to get through a full day's use.
On the Windows end of things, you can't go wrong with the Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga. Lenovo pioneered the convertible computer, and the ThinkPad S1 refines that concept to the point of high art. The ThinkPad S1 lets you get your content creation done in laptop mode, but it can flip into tablet mode in seconds, letting you play games, watch movies, and perhaps even work on its Full HD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen display. If you get tired of pecking away at the keyboard, you can also use the included stylus to draw and jot down notes with the accuracy and responsiveness of pen on paper.
Inside, the S1 packs a 2.1GHz Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, meaning it's got the power to back up its looks and flexibility. The battery-saving design of the Haswell processor also means that your ThinkPad will keep going just as long as you do.
And there you have it, the undeniable essentials for those of us fortunate enough to make a living from our humble abodes. Now you've got the computer, accessories, storage, and mobile gear. All you’ve got to do is keep your productivity up—whether you're at the desk or sprawled out on the chaise longue.