Silver linings with Stay at Home

Your mileage may vary significantly but two silver linings for me is that it is easier to get to inbox zero. And, although I’m getting a bit stir-crazy, I’m finding the less frenetic pace refreshing. I suspect that I’m going to take a hard look at my office schedule when things return to normal.


Being parked in front of my mac as much as I have been lately, I’ve found some background operations I can run while working, checking up on them at break time and in between daily tasks. I’m finally catching up on one that I’ve had on the backburner for years now: converting VHS tapes to digital - specifically my old (and degrading) seven season collection of home-recorded MST3000 episodes.

I use the Elgato VCR dongle to connect, and this low horsepower operation runs undistractingly in the background while I work on anything else. (No, I’m not taking the time to edit out the commercials… watching ads from the early 90’s is a hoot.) I was pleasantly surprised to find a recycling operation nearby that takes videocassettes, so I will finally be able to purge these boxes full of tapes.

First I cleaned out my folder clutter
Deleted anything that was not necessary
Did a clean install of Catalina (Helped immensely)
Completely changed my DEVONthink DB structure
I’m halfway through the Take Control of DEVONthink book
Set up a Mac mini server and a Mac mini for my wife

Still to do

Re-arrange office
Run Cat 6 cable
Clean garage
Redo HomeKit setup
Finish Lutron dimmer installs upstairs
Replace under cabinet kitchen lights

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For me, one silver lining has been actually using my Mac again. For work, I use a Windows laptop provided by my employer, but my personal machine is a 2015-era 15-inch MacBook Pro that lived in my downstairs home office. But my home office was a wreck – old boxes we never unpacked, junk mail strewn all over the desk, just not a pleasant place to be. Even when I did work from home (usually 1 day a week), I’d just use the Windows laptop in my living room or kitchen. For most non-work things, I’d just use my iPad rather than dig the Mac out from the desk mess.

After full-time WFH started, my spouse and I took a weekend and cleaned out my office and made it a really nice place to work (other than being a bit chilly in the mornings). And I discovered I could connect both my Mac and the Windows laptop to the same monitor and swap between them. So I bought a MX Keys keyboard that can also swap between machines, and a Magic Trackpad 2 just for the Mac (I have not attempted to connect that to the Windows laptop).

Now I’ve been rediscovering all kinds of things I had missed on the mac. I periodically take short breaks from work, swap to the mac, and work on personal projects in Scrivener. I also have some non-work programming projects I want to get back to, which are far easier to do on a Mac than on iOS.

I guess the this side-effect is really 2 — a new, comfortable home office space, and rediscovering my Mac.