Jun 22, 2012

Maine - Goodbye For Now...

The time has come, folks.  My little sister is moving home from Maine.  Her new bundle of joy is due mid July and shortly after they will pack up their cars and work their way across the country back to home sweet home Chicago.

With all these big changes coming about I decided to fly out one last time (maybe two lasts times if I go back in July to help them move) to host a virtual baby shower.  "What exactly does a virtual baby shower entail?" one might ask...stay tuned for the deets including the menu, virtualness (totally a word), and the return of...

Wait for it...

The Quest For The Perfect Lobster Roll!!!

I mean, I might as well take advantage of my 4.5 hour drive from the airport to her house in Maine!  This time I am going solo so there will be no mom to back me up on the driving portion nor question the feasibility of a restaurant serving a lobsta roll WITHOUT BUTTERING THE BREAD!

Mom trying to be discreet while poo poo'ing her non buttered roll


Stay tuned for next weeks installment of The Maine Move...

Jun 20, 2012

Mounting Your Computer Monitor To the Wall

Morphing Your Laptop into a Desktop Computer Part 2...

Yesterday we spoke about turning your laptop computer into a desktop with the use of an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor.  Today we are jumping into the 21st century by mounting the monitor to the wall...oh yes, it is all happening.

We will go from this (with stand):

To this (without stand):  
Please ignore the wires as they will eventually be hidden!

All in a few simple steps.

You may remember that my office is a crazy shape - 8.5ft wide by 11.5ft long with one angled wall and doors on both sides (essentially it is a walk through room from the kitchen to the other bedrooms).  In order to make the most of the space I had to make sure the desk was narrower than most in order to fit the daybed + desk and still have to walk between the two.  The desk measures in at 20.5 inches deep and 78 inches long.  According to OSHA your monitor should be a minimum of 20 inches from your eyes.  With a 20.5 depth that does not leave much room to spare.  More info on that HERE but see the diagram below for a quick glimpse:

With the stand my computer sat 7 inches from the wall which left only 13.5 inches to the end of the desk and about 17.5 inches to my eyes.

I decided that mounting the computer on the wall would help to alleviate this problem as well as making the whole look more stream lined...especially when I eventually get the cords hidden.

To mount your monitor you will need to buy a wall mount bracket.  I bought the following off of amazon.  It is cheap, stable, and easy to use...did I mention cheap??

Here is the process in 3 easy steps - make sure to clear the area you will be working in!

1.  Move the computer away from the wall and locate your studs.  Drill two pilot holes then go for the gold and screw the mount to the wall...make it level, folks!

The tape marks the outline of my studs

Thankfully my studs were exactly where I needed them as the directions insist not to use mollies for this ordeal.  I had to flip the mount upside down to use it on the right stud but either way it works the same - the logo is the only thing that changed as it is also upside down.

2.  Take your monitor off its stand.  Dell monitors have a simple button you push and the stand pops right off.  Some have screws.  Regardless of how it gets off get it off!  I suggest laying a towel down on a flat surface and your monitor screen side down on top so you can work easily.  Did I do this?  Not so much...Once the stand is removed you may or may not have to take the four corner screws off the back of the monitor where the wall mount will be.  Do that now:

3.  Screw the wall mount to the back of the monitor.  **You may need two people for this as you have to hold the monitor at the same time as screwing it into the wall mount.**  Screw the 4 corners to the back of your monitor and you are done!  I have no pics of this step as I was doing it by myself!

Again - don't mind the wires (nor the dark photos...rainy days!) as I will eventually hide them and keep you posted when I do!  In the meantime - I love the look with out the base.  Oh - and the fact that it now sits only 4 inches from the wall makes the monitor clock in at 20.5 inches away from my eyes...major improvement!

But the VERY VERY BEST thing about this little upgrade is that, with the help of HULU, I can now use my computer as a TV from the daybed.  The large monitor is the size of a TV and the new mount moves away from the wall and tilts up and down for maximum viewing pleasure!  

All my favorite housewives from the comfort of my office!  :)

For more information on computer ergonomics check out THIS post at Squidoo!

Stay tunes to my Computer Morphing series when I attempt to go wireless.  In the meantime I will be working in my garden this week.  The veggies are in full bloom...as are the weeds!  Ill pop back in tomorrow with the latest pics from our garden.

Jun 19, 2012

Morph Your Laptop into a Desktop Style Computer - Part 1

My office has been through a multitude of changes since we first started working on it February of  last year. There have been paint changes, layout changes, and overall concept changes.  E is pretty much over the shape-shifter which I call my office but I am more than willing to accept the changes as they come.  After all, I am a woman and it is my prerogative to change my mind!  Uh...but that being said, I too am ready to zone in on the perfect space so I can move on to one of the many other projects getting backlogged at LBR.  Today I would love to share with you my latest point of perfection:

Morphing my laptop into a desktop computer...oh, yes, with a few wires it can be done!

Last year I spoke about my chronic back and shoulder pain which I contributed to the amount of time spent hunched over my laptop for work.  After trying a new chair, new desk, and a few simple fixes we came up with this:

We opened the laptop as wide as it could go and propped it up (more on that HERE) so the monitor was at eye level.  We then added an external keyboard and mouse to make it user friendly...without it you could see typing would be quite awkward!  You can buy a stand for this but, being ever so frugal, this works just as well without the hassle and cost of another piece of equipment.  Plus, this contraption was only used for a short time before we mixed things up again which would make the new stand utterly useless in the future...

The laptop propped up worked wonders for my back and shoulder instantly but eventually we aimed to make a more permanent solution by adding a separate monitor to the mix.  This was easily done by connecting a VGA cable (less than $5 on Amazon) from your laptop to the new monitor like so:

Plug one side into the monitor...
Plug the other end into the laptop.

And there you have it!  With the external keyboard, mouse, and monitor you have yourself a new desktop!   As many of you  know, E is a computer hoarder and insists on keeping old computers, laptops, and all sorts of outdated computer related paraphernalia in the event we might eventually need it.  In this case it all worked out for me as this entire upgrade cost me NOTHING!  A freebie worthy of an ice cream sundae.  For those of you without computer geek husbands, the cost of such a project is less than $115 but the savings to your back is priceless.  Here is a breakdown for the Average Joe::

VGA Cable - $3.88
Mouse - $6.43
Keyboard - $6.88
New Acer Monitor - $93.88 - Make sure it has the capability to be mounted on the wall if you are interested in future tweaks!

GRAND TOTAL:  $111.07 plus tax

Or you can go wireless with the keyboard and mouse for as low as $18.95!  I fully intend to do this in the near future...

**Don't forget to check garage sales and friends basements for extra parts...if your neighbors are anything like ours your project could be super cheap or even free!**

You will now have a laptop connected by a couple of wires to your "new" faux desktop computer.  For a while I hid the laptop in my closet which is right next to the desk but today I got busy with a new solution which I will share with you later in the week...

Stay tuned for the next computer update:  Mount your monitor to the wall in 2 simple steps.  

Anyone else updating your office space or have any tips/tricks to share?  Feel free to leave a comment below!

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