Web/Tech, Writing

The last piece in the writing office jigsaw

My office redesign is now done. I decided the ancient HP mini tower I dragged out of a cupboard didn’t quite cut it. Which probably says more about me than it. The old beast was a touch slow but I suspect mentally I felt a new office demanded a new computer.

I also wanted something a bit faster, smaller and quieter. And after much shopping around this is it.

lenovoIt’s called a Lenovo M92p Tiny. It’s very much an office machine, not a consumer one. And don’t get confused — the Lenovo M92p range has other models which aren’t tiny. But this one is, occupying just one litre of space apparently.


It’s a bit like a Windows version of a Mac mini I guess. You get the latest generation i5 processor, four USB 3 ports, 1 USB 2, Displayport and VGA, Ethernet and on my model wifi. There’s no DVD drive on this model but I can live with that. I’ve put in an SSD drive which makes it incredibly snappy. The whole thing’s here on the desk after setup. But very shortly it will go underneath and live and work there pretty much in silence. Though to be honest it’s so quiet I could easily leave it on the desk if I wanted.

These are not easy machines to find unfortunately. I had to hunt around and eventually uncovered some at a retailer called Ballicom. Being essentially business machines they don’t come with much in the way of bundled software, but you do get a three-year warranty.

As far as backup’s concerned… I now store my working manuscripts on Skydrive so there’s backup there. And I’ve hooked up a £50 one terabyte USB 3 hard drive off the back. Windows 8 has something called File History which is a bit like Apple’s Time Machine. It will keep copies of earlier versions of the manuscripts too (in addition to Skydrive’s last five versions).

By the end of today all these wires will be off the desk and my new writing office will be in place.

It’s been an interesting exercise reconfiguring everything for a new working year. I’m sure I haven’t got everything right, and as always my methods will change and adapt with time. But this system is simple, quiet, powerful and has plenty of failsafe factor. I’m pleased with it so far.

Which is just as well since I’ve just had a very flattering invitation to take part in something I wouldn’t want to miss. And, er, I haven’t a clue what to write…

3 thoughts on “The last piece in the writing office jigsaw

  1. Thank you for this series about your “office for writing”. It has inspired me to look at my own setup and see what I can do. I have taken the 1st and 2nd steps…

    1) move back from a standing desk (last 11 months) to a sitting desk…this may be a temporary move but I want to see if it helps the writing or not.

    2) I have downloaded and installed Scrivener for Windows and I am working through the tutorial – I have 9 days of the trial period to go. Will I purchase or deinstall? Its a thriller in the making.

    Now if I could only stop spending time watching episodes of the Killing III that I have been stacking up on the Sky box (in last couple of days I have seen eps 1 to 4, 5&6 on box waiting, 7&8 this weekend). These writing projects don’t write themselves…even with Scrivener…and then there is the day job….. onwards…..

  2. Martin Tolley

    It’s been a very interesting series. But no comments or thoughts about the “real interface” ‘twixt you and the machine – the keyboard? The mouse? The clunky, firm heavy key pressure, have to have your fingers sharply pointed to avoid hitting too many tightly crowded keys, types? The light and fluffy open weave formats where you can lose a pound of biscuits and a cheese sandwich before you know it, types? Wireless or tethered? Ergonomic or plain? Tilted on those wee leggy things or flat and sliding about?

  3. I just use Logitech’s solar keyboard. They have one for the Mac and one for Windows. Skinny key thing that never needs batteries. Oh and a Logitech Performance MX mouse. Never got on with trackpads and I like something big in the hand. But really those things are so much a matter of personal taste…

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