Portable Computing Setup

TODO Organize content, crop pictures

My portable computing setup grew out of wanting to program but to actually be outside, have more accidental social encounters, but to also program.

My computing setup in the back of my car in a park off a pretty freewayHard to get THAT view with a desk, especially with any normal amount of money/resources

It was honestly a pretty simple setup I iterated on a couple times.

It was a reclining floor chair, 2 gooseneck tablet holders (one from the top, one from the side, for stability from typing and movement vibrations), some routing/pipe clamps, and a wireless keyboard, trackpad combo.

The whole thing was comfortable enough for long programming sessions. I liked being able to adjust the chair inclination. Being top heavy it was a bit harder to get in and out of. The wireless keyboard worked well but eventually tired out my wrists as I tended to program in a "T-Rex"-like position. It was surprisingly stable, moreso than a later attempt with metal1. I tried iterating on this and bought a split keyboard as well as a USB touchpad (TODO: Not pictured)

A very messy picture of me opening the split USB keyboardThis split keyboard would sit to the left and right of the floor chair. My hands would rest on either side on top of the keyboard

Unfortunately this position was also tiring but for my arms while laying down, as my hands would then sit very close to the floor (TODO: Reconfirm this, I cant recall exactly why I didnt like this but it was a ergo/comfort thing). It was also a pain to learn to use these and while I got passable at using them, I usually preferred the wireless keyboard, touchpad combo.

But it got some good use. It was my primary programming setup for the first three days when I originally had it. And it also was nice to take it 4 hours to a friends house where we did a bit of a game jam sort of session but for an app idea. I'm happy with how it performed, but it needs more work

A picture of the portable computing setup facing my carQuite cozy, but I liked it cozy

TODO: Do I have any more specific directions I wanted to take this? I should write those done when I revisit publishing this I remember:

  • Dual monitors
  • Input was hard. The best was still that wireless keyboard on my lap in the T-Rex position. But I needed something better for hand/wrist endurance in general. I remember going down a massive rabbit hole. From chording keyboards to Facebook purchasing that AI keyboard company (CTRL-Labs and their "Neural Finger Tracking"). I have notes on this somewhere... I also remember once I got the standalone USB trackpad and split keyboard, it became a lot harder to find the home position when going back and forth from keyboard to trackpad/mouse. I honestly needed a completely keyboard driven experience. This was okay when I was just in my editor, but when I wanted to google something or do literally anything else it was a problem. This felt more like a software issue, although I did buy some small mirrors to try to setup but they were another thing to position and I have no good mount for them, and they felt like a crutch. It was better than arching my neck up to look, that was not fun, ergo-wise.
  • More integrated/quicker setup/teardown as it was kind of a pain to do every time
  • Was too easy to stop on if I left it unattended and didnt want to put it away properly
  • Wanted to be able to switch between it and my desk easier but it was always an ordeal
  • I found it annoying when my cat would want to sit on me because I couldn't type, but he also liked to just chill next to the entire thing which was nice, because I could move without disturbing him

[1]: I did try an attempt at making a metal bracket to hold up a portable monitor (ASUS ZenScreen) because I wanted dual screens. It had a lot of issues, but the biggest was that it just swayed way too much. At the time, I did not have the skills or the tools to fabricate anything more complex.

TODO: Tapstrap, vuforia, any other things I bought to augment this setup