Now the small one: my new company laptop finally arrived. Unfortunately, to activate it, you have to have it plugged in through a wired connection inside the company firewall. My nominal office is in Fremont, and there are piles of reasons (starting with COVID-19 and continuing with not wanting to drive 600 miles for half an hour of work) not to go there. So I made arrangements to visit the XPO LTL (formerly Con-Way LTL) terminal in Sparks today. This is my third trip there, and all three of them have been for the purpose of activating a corporate machine. It will presumably be the last time I will be able to do this, because by the time I get a new machine again, it will be a completely separate company than the one for which I work, rather than being a separate subsidiary of a parent corporation.
This is the first time I've been in any XPO facility since the pandemic hit. Everyone was wearing masks, distancing was obvious, and I had to declare various things at the front desk like not running a fever, having traveled internationally or been exposed to someone who has had C-19. In my case, I was tested about a month ago and was clean then and I've been trying very hard to minimize any further exposure. This also was the first time I've had to wear my employee badge in over a year! The folks in Sparks were very nice and I used their conference room, plugged into their network, fired up the new laptop, signed in, made sure I could access my corporate applications and that the computer recognized me, and shut down. Total time in the room was about 30 minutes, but that was partially because it's the first time I'd connected all of the pieces of the laptop and I had to figure out where some things connected; also, the only Ethernet port in the conference room was behind a cabinet, which meant a bit of shuffling stuff.
Lisa had come with me to Sparks, even though she just sat in the Astro with Kuma Bear reading a book, just to get away from the house for a little while. We headed straight home after I got the computer working. This evening, she helped me as I pulled part my work area (for the second time in a month) and rearranged things again.
Here's the new layout. From left to right are the two monitors plugged into the new XPO laptop, which is sitting under the second monitor. The "super-hub" to the right of the new laptop has a remote-power-on button, as the HP laptop supports it. (Unlike my new Dell D7, which doesn't have the BIOS support for remote-power-on, and that's a shame.) At the right is the monitor for my new personal machine (which is under the stand). Unfortunately, because there's no remote-power-on, if I ever turn that computer off, I have to pull it out from under the stand to turn the power back on, then close the lid and shove it away again.
Also just barely visible under the monitor on the left is the Dell D600, which, as it only has WinXP on it, isn't connected to the internet and will shortly be turned off and sent back upstairs, as it's normally only something I use for printing Match Game SF questions on my old HP LaserJet 4 printer, it being the only thing left that will connect to it.
We even managed to find the necessary adapter cables to get DisplayPort (from the HP super-hub) to DVI (our monitors only have VGA and DVI connections) working. And there's still a little bit of space to the left where I can use yet another laptop issued to us by our customer, which for "security" reasons won't let us access their system except with their specially-configured Chromebooks.
Someday I really hope we can figure out a way to get the upstairs office habitable. We know what to do, but there's a huge amount of money necessary to do it. I have the desk space up there to spread out quite nicely there. Right now I have a six-foot-long desk and it feels very crowded.