It’s hard enough being a writer, reviewer, and tech enthusiast The edge under normal circumstances. It’s even more difficult when you’re working in a shared studio during a pandemic. Cameron Faulkner, who not only edits our deals pages but also writes on a variety of topics, somehow made it through.
We asked him to explain how.
Tell me something about you. What is your background and what are you doing? The edge?
Hello! Tech has always been my passion, and I’ve enjoyed writing about tech professionally for about seven years, almost three of them at The edge. Before working on site, I was employed at KFC, in a fulfillment center for school supplies, as a pharmacy technician and as a cashier. I’m always strangely proud to share my strange work experience with anyone who listens. I grew up in the Midwest in Mansfield, Ohio, but have lived in Brooklyn, New York since 2013.
My main focus on The edge is on Verge Deals, including daily deal summaries that my colleague Taylor Lyles and I hand select each day. This also includes helping to write content for the Verge Deals Twitter account, as well as publishing a weekly newsletter. ((Here you can sign up!) Aside from that, I write about gaming peripherals, write reviews and how-tos, and help the news team share urgent stories.
How did you decide where and how you would like to set up your workspace?
Organizing different zones in a studio apartment is a challenge that I have not yet mastered. All of these zones bleed into one another, and without actual walled rooms to hold pots in the kitchen or other distractions, it can be incredibly difficult to stay focused. Although our newest arrangement may be the best we will ever make in this area.
My wife and I have turned our desks in opposite directions. Outside of the frame I am sitting behind is her desk. We’ve been forced to be very efficient with these space constraints and it’s miles ahead of where we used to be. We shared this one desk, shown here, with my one monitor, my keyboard and my mouse on the right and your setup on the left. The pandemic has made us rethink this strategy. Suffice it to say that my current setup is a huge improvement.
Tell me about the desk.
First off, I’d advise people to resist the temptation to buy a glass desk, as good as they look. It will show dust after just a few days – even faster if you have cats that like to climb on it and cuddle in the corners of your monitors. That said, I’ve had this product since 2008 so it’s clearly a good product (or I’m just a good owner).
Second, my desk is never as clean as the picture above shows. I usually have a cup or two left on it and some faulty review products are scattered around. Still, I prefer a minimalist look (difficult to maintain). No disrespect to my peers featured on this series, but I don’t have a lot of tchotchkes to report anytime.
How about your desk chair?
The desk chair I use is that Herman Miller Sayl, which usually sells for around $ 600 – believe it or not, the low end of this company’s lineup. I almost bought this chair in mid-2020 when the chair I had was really causing me physical agony, but Vox Media allowed me to borrow it from our NYC office. So I immediately drove there, stuffed it in my car, and took it home. My cats and I really like it.
Okay, now it’s time to talk about your technology. Let’s start with your computer.
I built this PC and it is filled with parts that range from 2014 to recently. The case is that SilverStone Temjin, built for small microATX motherboards. You may be able to see in the photos that it is a little scratched and beaten up. I love that this case size is small enough to fit on a monitor stand so that I can mount my vacuum cleaner head underneath.
Inside the case there is an Intel Core i5-9600K processor, the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card from EVGA, 16 GB RAM and a 1 GB NVMe SSD. My cable management isn’t particularly good, but the case closes and the wires aren’t in danger so I’m happy with that. My goal is to keep the system fast enough to run every game close to its highest graphics settings, but I don’t usually buy the latest components right out of the box.
I see you have two ads. How do you use them
I want to keep my static stack of Google Chrome tabs open on the left screen (apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Asana Task Manager, etc), along with all of the articles I’m writing right now. On the right side, I keep Slack as well as more temporary tabs.
Outside of work, I play on the left monitor (a 27-inch Acer Nitro XV272U), because it is a QHD IPS panel with a fast refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. Having a two monitor setup was something I got used to in our work office, so I bought a second one (a 27 inch setup) LG 27GL650F-B) for me a few months after the pandemic.
How about your other technology (headphones, speakers, etc)?
Some devices that always have a place on my desk are a mouse (depending on which one I’m testing) and a Microsoft sculpt keyboardalong with mine JBL Pebble desktop speakers. JBL no longer makes these USB speakers, so they currently cost more than originally sold (and are worth it), but I really enjoy their simplicity and sound.
I keep my company MacBook Pro laptop and Sony WH-1000XM3 Headset (hangs on a Master & Dynamic Stand) on top of my desk when I need to attend a meeting at short notice. There is also my phone, a Google Pixel 3, sitting on a Metal Lamicall Stand. I have one under my desk Brainwavz BigT headphone holder to keep an extra pair handy. I also like to hang a long USB-C cable on it, which is used to connect to my cable Oculus Quest 2 headset.
It’s a really interesting keyboard. I’ve seen split keyboards like this but never met anyone who uses one.
I didn’t think I would be someone to use any of these, but about a month after the pandemic started, I ended up with sore wrists and forearms every day. There were plenty of more expensive ergonomic keyboards out there, especially those with mechanical keys, but Microsoft Sculpt seemed a good fit because it’s wireless and relatively affordable. It helps align my wrists more naturally as I type, and it makes a huge difference to me. The material used in the palm rest actually does get a little dirty after a few weeks, but dampening it with soap and water works well enough to restore it to its original appearance.
I see that, like others here, you sometimes need an old-fashioned notebook.
Yes! I used one in the office and I like to have one here with me at my desk. It’s all too easy to bury yourself in Chrome tabs or forget an upcoming due date for an important task. It’s just the best way I can stay at work.
Does your Dreamcast mug mean something special?
I’m a huge fan of the Sega Dreamcast console, but the mug itself is significant because I bought it from Super Potato, a popular video game store in Tokyo’s Akihabara area. I’m not great at getting souvenirs from places, but I knew I had to bring this one back to the US. I don’t even drink it. (I’m too scared to break it.) I only keep small things in it, like pens, portable hard drives, etc.
Photography by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge