530: Working From Home


I love the Interrupting Cow!


I smiled when I read the “combined decade of experience” thing. “Oh, really?” I said to myself. “A whole combined decade, huh? Is that a lot?”

I’ve been working mostly from home for the past 28 years. :slight_smile:

However, it was as good episode and I enjoy it.

These days I love MPU even more as a means of taking a break from the grim headlines, and this episode met that standard. Two thumbs up!


Very timely episode — can’t wait to listen as I’ve found myself in this situation!

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Can I just give a shout out to the turn based card game Exploding Kittens.

They have a terrific app for iPhone and iPad and other devices as well. It’s a hilarious card game and I’m loving it.

Playing it simultaneously with friends every night

We should randomly seed 16 name ideas for the Mac Cave and have the Internet vote them through a tournament bracket.

I nominate the Hack Shack.

That would be Clarus the Dogcow. History of Clarus the Dogcow.

Here’s a thought and question, around Zoom and headphones/AirPods.

Couldn’t agree more that headphones are critical, to cut out the feedback from computer speakers. My headphones of choice are of course AirPods Pro.

But I have found in all the Zoom mtgs I have been in that people using AirPods as their microphones sound terrible compared to the built in mics of their MacBooks. Yes, the built in mics sound farther away, and have more ambient room noise, but the compression on the bluetooth AirPods sounds like an old-school phone call, while everyone else sounds much better.

Has anyone else noticed this?

My workaround is to change my audio setting in zoom. I’m using my AirPods as the Speaker, but the built in mics as the Mic option. People seem to appreciate it!


That is a nice one. My first thought was Relay.HQ, but then I remembered that Myke Hurley is half of that, so instead of headquarters, maybe Stephen’s office is Relay Waistquarters? (Insert groan and rolling of eyes by my children here)

Or since he is a PODcaster, maybe we call it The Pod.

I appreciate the episode. My experience is different on a few points

Less Meetings - My time in meetings went way up. My employer has switched all the meetings from voice bridges to video calls , and you never know which of the four or five video meeting platforms we use it will be on.

And we have weekly all hands meetings instead of monthly ones, and we have breakfast, lunch, and coffee break meeting now. The idea is to try and simulate the face to face experience that we had in the office.

More Freedom
Nope, less freedom. They’s afraid of changing any software or hardware in production during covid-19 , so several layers and red tape have been added to get changes approved , and some changes are just outright not allowed until quarantine is lifted.

Tasks that I could complete within minutes now take a week while I wait to get approval.

Btw. I’m not saying that I disagree with these changes , these are wise moves even I’d rather just get things done instead of waiting for several layers of review and approval for my intended work.

For video conferencing , I use a Macbook Pro in clamshell mode as I have a external displays , speakers, and other peripherals . So, I use an external video camera . My CPU usage for whichever video calling app I’m
using exceeds 100% and my fans go into turbo mode as well.

Is there a fix for that? whether it it’s 4 or 15 people in the call, the behavior is the same. I’m using a logitech c920s webcam. if that helps.

For working from home, its good to have a physical space set aside to put you into the mental state that you are at work.

For video calls, if you don’t have a spare room to use, get a portable backdrop. This can help you and your viewers focus on the call and not distractions on the background. It’s also good as there may be complete strangers on the call, and you don’t want to letting people you don’t know case you place.

Maybe you have valuables or even a credit card visible that someone could take a screenshot of and use to make fraudulent purposes.

Caution is the rule of the day!

You have me beat! Only 16 years here working from home. And agree, thought it was a great episode.

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I have not noticed that but I’m beginning to be concerned that I’m destroying the battery on my two year old AirPods as I’m using them all the time and they seem to lasting less and less

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I’ve been doing it for a few weeks straight now and I definitely agree with what the show said about routine and choosing dedicated spaces in your home for work and leisure!

I recorded a simultaneous 2017 MBP/AirPods Pro audio test. There’s a difference, but it doesn’t sound problematic to me.

AirPods Pro clip

MBP Clip

Sampled pickup comparison (4000px wide image, so expand to see the detail.)

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I am blessed to have a wonderful place to work at home.


Can I move in with you?


Regarding the importance of routines: Until February I was a remote employee and I kept something resembling standard business hours. Since then I’ve been self-employed, and lately I’ve been adapting my schedule to suit my own needs.

Depends on how good looking you are!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. :laughing:


I’m very ghastly so I guess I’ll just stay where I am.


Sounds like a suboptimal experience for working remotely. Sorry to hear that.

Maybe not directly applicable to this, but one of the worst ideas is that face to face breeds collaboration. In some senses that’s true. People in a room, if the meeting is handled appropriately, will generate better ideas than individuals on their own. However, when you flood schedules with too many meetings as is often the case for newly remote companies, you get lots of “collaboration” but at the cost of output. Everyone feels busy but everyone is also less productive.


Unfortunately, instead of more productivity, there are more meetings. Instead of more freedom/flexibility, there are detailed timesheets and surveillance software installations.

Instead of companies evaluating their culture and adjusting to the given circumstance, they are applying the same values that make corporate work unbearable for some to a remote context, which amplifies all the good and bad at once.

I really hope we don’t see a large swath of companies reject remote work as a result of this forced experiment because it’s really quite beneficial for many people. I’ve been a remote worker for the last decade and I wouldn’t have it any other way now, but that’s because where I’ve worked has valued and respected people well.

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