This is starting to get silly

It’s been a while since I made any LEGO office equipment. I had to fix that.

I found my desk getting cluttered with a few bits I always had hanging round:

  • Pens and pencils
  • Headphones
  • Short USB cables (for charging my phone etc)
  • Couple of small backup drives
  • USB memory sticks
  • USB adapters
  • Capo (I play a bit of guitar)
  • Plectrums. Should that be plectra?

All necessary, all needed at my fingertips, but messy to leave lying around. So I built a desk tidy.

My LEGO desk tidy

It’s got a place for everything, and everything in its place. Somewhere to put my plectrums/plectra.

Plectrum holder in my LEGO desk tidy

A pot on top for USB memory sticks and adapters, and any other small knick-knacks.

Small box of bits in my LEGO desk tidy

Cable hooks on each side. I decided against a more complicated system to store cables as … well, it’s not needed.

Cable hooks on my LEGO desk tidy

Round the back is a bracket for my capo. There are actually two brackets, not that I have two capo (capi?) but I needed the unit to be symmetrical.

Capo bracket on my LEGO desk tidy

And there are two caddies for storing the backup drives. I’ve also got an eraser in there, too.

Backup drive storage in my LEGO desk tidy

This was a fun little project to build! But I need to stop, as my wife is starting to think I’m strange. Or rather, stranger than she already thought I was.

More LEGO office equipment

Oops, I did it again.

The arrival of another laptop meant I had a requirement for another laptop stand. Yes, of course I made it out of LEGO!

LEGO laptop stand number 2

I decided on a simpler design this time, with no attempts at making it adjustable.

Side view of my LEGO laptop stand

I also made the cable tidy smaller and more integrated.

A laptop stand made of LEGO

And finished it off by adding a few mini figs, including Spiderman.

Some LEGO minifigs guarding my LEGO laptop stand

I have to say I really enjoyed this, and am trying to think of other office equipment I can make out of LEGO. Any ideas?

LEGO office equipment

In May 2020, as every year, I attended the wonderful All Day Hey conference. This year, due to The Pandemic Situation, the conference couldn’t be held in the wonderful Yorkshire city of Leeds, instead it was online. The attendees were encouraged to post pictures of where they were attending the conference from, and I was embarrassed by my lunchbox laptop stand.

My desk with my laptop sitting on a lunchbox, which I used as a makeshift stand

I could have ordered a proper stand online, but thought I could make one instead. Out of Lego. Because why not.

Everyone here loves Lego, right? Of course we all do. It’s perfect for building office equipment. Here’s the finished product, just visible underneath my laptop:

My desk, featuring my laptop stand made out of Lego

I have to be honest, I’m a massive Lego fan. I don’t get much chance to dabble these days, but when I do I remember just how much I enjoy it – Technical Lego especially. Here you can see how I constructed the stand to ensure it provides a stable base:

My laptop stand made out of Lego

And if we look a little closer at the back, you can see the stand has springs to help sit the laptop better. I did plan on making the height adjustable, but this is good enough for now.

Detail of the rear of my laptop stand made out of Lego

Of course I needed minifigs to guard my laptop! I chose Batman and the Terminator, because nobody would mess with them, right?

Mini Batman guarding my laptop stand made out of Lego

And I incorporated a simple cable tidy into the stand:

The cable tidy for my laptop stand made out of Lego

Overall I’m pretty pleased. As a beta product I think it works well, but I would like to investigate how difficult it would be to make the height and tilt angle adjustable. That will have to wait for another day, though.

Week One (and a bit)

It’s hard to describe what’s happened in the UK in the last week (and a bit). Although many of us had kept half an eye on developments in China and around the world, the speed and scale of changes to life in this country came as a massive shock.

Seems like those ‘tin foil hat’ people might be right about a few things.

I think it may be useful, at least to me, to write a record of my thoughts and feelings at this unprecedented – a word that is currently being blared from every screen – time. In years to come this will be a memory, a historical event that people will study and ask each other ‘do you remember?’ I want to remember, and as my memory is lousy it’s better to write it down.

Except… I can’t. In some ways life is pretty normal, it’s just that I’m working from home all the time and the child is not at school. But there’s an eerie quiet everywhere due to much lower levels of traffic. Being put in a queue to access the Morrisons online shopping site is weird.

We’re tuning in pretty regularly to the nightly government press conferences, but I expect at this point in time there won’t be much happening as serious measures – a pretty strict lockdown – have already been put in place. We’ll just hear of COVID-19 cases climbing steadily higher. We’ve also found some good (and local) online faith resources. Mark Umpleby from Batley is doing night prayers at 9PM each night on Facebook which is very calming at the end of each fraught day. People are pulling together, it seems.

Not all people. My young friend Josh who is a security guard at a small supermarket told me he was assaulted yesterday trying to enforce a “only 5 people in the shop at once” policy. Still, it feels many people are being patient and kind – and the stories of individual acts of compassion and downright bravery (especially in the NHS) are humbling.

There is hope, although as I write it seems like a long way off.

Year end

So, the end of 2019 looms. It’s been a good year in general for me, with continued employment (always a bonus) and important family events happening. I got to visit “our” village in France again for the first time in several years, this time entirely by train.

Looking back on this blog, however, I’m not so happy. I thought it was about this time last year I decided to (try) to go full IndieWeb, but was slightly shocked to see it was January 2018. Where have the last 2 years gone?

Likewise my decision last May to strip this site back to just HTML and ‘design in the open’ resulted in just one thing: someone contacting me to ask if the site was broken. You’ll see there’s a bit more colour and layout implemented now, but a long way to go. And my skills – or rather, lack of skill – as a designer is painfully obvious.

So here’s to 2020. May I find more time to spend on this site, blogging about the many things I’ve been learning. Because, I have to admit it, I really miss the old days when I would blog more.