What’s on your desk, Nathan Edwards?

Nathan Edwards has been at The Verge for about a year and a half as senior reviews editor, editing reviews and managing part of the reviews team. He also works on our buying guide program. He adds, “Aside from a couple of short freelancing stints, I spent most of my career before this at Maximum PC (RIP), a print magazine, and then at Wirecutter, where I worked for seven years. So it’s been reviews and buying guides and writing about consumer tech pretty much the whole time.”

He took some time to tell us about his workspace.

That’s a cozy-looking space. Where in your home is it?

Thanks! It’s a study near the front of the house. It gets some good natural light, partly shaded by a couple of oak trees outside. They are currently paving the yard with acorns. Really going nuts this year. 

I see two desks. Are both yours? They look like they are used for different purposes.

They are both mine. My wife also works from home most days, but she is in calls all day, and I like mechanical keyboards and not overhearing conference calls, so we prefer to work in separate spaces. The bigger, nicer desk is my work desk, and the other one is for everything else. Aspirationally, it’s for tinkering. Right now, I’m fixing my sister-in-law’s laptop on it; usually, it’s just covered in piles of papers. I used to have my PC on that desk, and if I start playing PC games again, I’ll probably move it back.

This Xdesk is the main work desk, with all the tech that a reviews editor wants at hand.

This hand-cranked Ikea desk is for projects, piles of paper, and other stuff.

Tell us about your desks and why you chose them. 

The big one is an Xdesk (formerly known as NextDesk) Terra. It was the Wirecutter standing desk pick when I bought it a decade ago. It’s held up fine. The white one is a hand-cranked Ikea Bekant we bought when we lived in the Netherlands because we left our desks in the US and needed desks. It is fine. Neither has any drawers, so I have a rolling cart next to one and an Ikea Alex next to the other.

The green one is a Steelcase Leap. It was also the Wirecutter pick when I got it a decade ago. It is a great chair. No regrets whatsoever. The other chair is some OfficeMax thing my wife bought sometime in the past two decades. It is a chair. 

There’s also an Ikea Frosta stool with an eye-searing orange seat. That one just makes me happy.

Desk chair

Ergonomic work chair with wheels.

Here comes the big one: tell us about the tech you’re using. There’s a lot of it here!

On my work desk, I have my work-issued 2020 M1 MacBook Air on a Rain Design stand and my self-built Windows 11 PC in a Sliger SM550 mini-ITX case. I love small form factor computers, but I made a tactical error with this one. When I built it in 2019, I reused my graphics card, an Nvidia GTX 1070. I assumed that midrange graphics cards would keep getting smaller and more power-efficient. Reader, they did not! In order to upgrade my GPU, I would need to get a more powerful power supply and a bigger case. Fortunately, I don’t need to upgrade. 

$40

Snazzy stand that raises your laptop or tablet 5.9 inches higher.

The PC has a ninth-gen i5 and 32GB of RAM; it’s plenty fast for what I actually do with it, and the 1070 still does alright with the little bit of PC gaming I can squeeze in. 

Both computers hook into a 32-inch BenQ 4K monitor with a built-in KVM switch and not quite enough USB ports. It has three USB-A ports in the back, and I have a three-port USB hub plugged into one of them. That gives me just enough ports to avoid having to use a Thunderbolt dock, but it’s a close one. Here’s what plugs into the monitor:

  • The Insta360 Link webcam a lot of Verge staffers use. 
  • A set of B&W MM-1 speakers I’ve had since the Maximum PC days.
  • A couple of USB-A-to-C cables for keyboards and peripherals.
  • The Stream Deck Mini, which I bought from Dan Seifert and mostly use to control the Elgato Key Light. 
Stream Deck MiniStream Deck Mini

$80

Assign your shortcuts to a single, illuminated button.

A light you can only control through 2.4GHz Wi-Fi? Whose idea was that? The Elgato Key Light mostly just keeps my ZZ plant happy. Most of the other lights in the office are Hue bulbs, which I control with a RunLessWire switch on the wall. 

The headphones are Sony’s WH-1000XM4.

The mouse is a first-gen Logitech MX Master. I keep having to open it up to fix the scroll wheel, but it’s hanging in there. It’s on a mousepad one of my kids made in preschool. 

The other desk has an eight-year-old Dell UltraSharp monitor, Blue Yeti mic, and 10-year-old Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop I’m going to put Linux on. I bought a lot of Wirecutter picks, turns out. It also has a Ploopy trackball, which I love but which does not have the MX Master’s scroll wheel. My iFixit toolkit is there — yet another thing I’ve had for a long time because it’s fit for purpose.

I have a lot of Field Notes notebooks hanging around.

I see you’re a keyboard enthusiast — at least, I see a lot of keyboards, including a really fantastic old typewriter!

For a long time, I had one mechanical keyboard, and I was happy with it. Then, in 2016, I bought a smaller one with different switches and some pretty keycaps to go with it, and I fell into the rabbit hole. I have three or four I use regularly and several more that I should probably sell. 

The keyboard on my desk in the photos is a Leopold FC660C with Topre switches. Over the past six years, I’ve swapped the controller board for one with USB-C and VIA compatibility, added silencing rings, re-lubed the stabilizers, swapped the keycaps, and put a couple of MX sliders on it. And because someone will ask: the domes are stock.

A modded and cut-down 1993 IBM Model M keyboard alongside a 1950s typewriter.

A MurphPad number pad that has Bluetooth added.

Front to back: Grid 650, HHKB Studio, and KBDcraft Adam.

The number pad is a MurphPad that I built with a nice!nano so it has Bluetooth. I also put MillMax sockets in the PCB so I can swap out the switches. The keycaps are mostly SA Dasher.

Aside from the Leopold, the one I use most often is a Grid 650 with the Array module. Right now, it has Kailh Deep Sea Islet silent linear switches — which are fairly close to the excellent switches in the HHKB Studio — and CRP Tulip keycaps.

The brown one near the typewriter is a modded and cut-down 1993 IBM Model M keyboard from my brother. It has a Yacobo controller he designed.  

The typewriter is a 1950s AZERTY-layout Hermes 3000 my wife inherited from her grandparents. It needs a new ribbon and a good clean, but it’s functional.

The art on the table with the typewriter is great as well.

Thank you! The painting is by my sister Naomi, and the postcards are from my friend Steve Schaberg. He will send you a screenprinted postcard for five bucks every month

You have a huge number of other fascinating tchotchkes in your office. Are there any others that you’d like to call out? (The timer, for example?)

The timer is for pomodoros when I remember to do them. I have a Flipper Zero and a Beepy because my self-conception is of a person with a lot more time and computer engineering knowledge than I actually have. Ditto the Raspberry Pi tucked away somewhere. And the “intro to electronics” kit in a drawer. 

I have a Home Assistant Green here that I need to set up. I keep running into things I’d like my smart home to be able to do, and invariably, the way to do it seems to be Home Assistant. Or just go back to a dumb home, which is equally tempting. 

Author John Joseph Mathews wrote nonfiction and fiction about Osage history and culture.

You know that you’re the reason I spent 20 minutes of company time looking up author John Joseph Mathews, right?

He was a fascinating and complicated dude, and he was my great-grandfather. I grew up hearing stories about him from my mom and her sisters, though I hadn’t read many of his books until relatively recently. Still working on the big one. I also have some language and cultural resources on that shelf; I’m taking a (very) beginner Osage language class and learning a ton. That shelf also contains a Strandbeest, which is unrelated.

My nemesis, the HP OfficeJet printer, lurks in the corner. Also, I moved a lot of boxes and piles of papers into the hallway to take these photos, and the cabinets and drawers are absolutely jammed full of cables and dongles and old hard drives and miscellany. Please do not imagine that my office usually looks this tidy. Although now that it is tidy, I am making an effort to keep it that way.

Photography by Nathan Edwards / The Verge

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