What’s on your desk, Sean Hollister?

Between stints at Engadget, Gizmodo, and CNET, Sean Hollister became part of the small group that helped found The edge back in 2011. He has worn many hats over the past decade: reviewing products, running the newsroom, training and editing new writers, putting spicy editorial articles on the page, appearing in a few videos, liveblogging and designing coverage where he can. He is currently a senior editor.

Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do The edge?

My favorite part of the job is blogging about gadgets! I try to do it every day, no matter what else The edge needs from me because I love them to death.

Where did you get your desk and where in your home did you place it?

It’s in the corner of my home office just below a mini-split air conditioner, so I can usually set a comfortable temperature even if my gaming PC pumps out a little too much heat. And yes, it has a double duty as my combat station – note the gaming mouse, Razer BlackWidow Elite keyboard and Xbox 360 controller hidden under the right screen! Outside the frame is a large display case where my wife and I store our Figma and Lego collections and her desk is across the room.

Three screens sit on top of a Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk.

Three screens sit on top of a Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk.

My desk is a Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, one that has proven to be quite popular among Rim staff, but that’s not why I bought it; my wife got one first and i’ve been jealous ever since. Originally, I had the relatively awful Ikea Bekant, a purchase I have regretted for years. Jarvis is so

Other brands make very, very similar desktops, some of them based on the same parts, but I’ve also had the two best customer support experiences of my life with Fully. However, if I did it again, I would buy the 60-inch version, so I would have a little more room for an add-on drawer.

Fully Jarvis bamboo standing desk

Fully Jarvis Bamboo standing desk

This popular standing desk adjusts quickly and quietly from a top height of 50 inches to a level low enough for you to sit on the floor.

Tell us about your chair.

It’s a 20-year-old Herman Miller Aeron still going strong, a hand-me-down. I’m at least the third owner, maybe the fourth? I told myself I would never buy an ugly Aeron and now of course I can not imagine using anything else. I actually tried a whole bunch of chairs, but the supportive pop-up of the Aeron seat pan cannot be beaten. I need to replace the tube one of these years: it’s sometimes worrying klunke when I sit down.

I did make a few upgrades though! I love a good headrest, and even though Herman Miller does not make one, the third-party Atlas Headrest is the best $ 160 I’ve spent in years. I can not vouch for their current models, but the old pillow version I have is incredibly easy to adjust and amazingly supportive whether I am standing upright or leaning back. I have also replaced the old lumbar cushion with the adjustable PostureFit lumbar set, which is… fine, I think. Modern Aerons have a stronger version that is built-in.

Okay, here’s the long one: Tell us about the technology you use.

You actually see a pretty clean version of my desktop! It’s usually sprinkled with the technology I’m testing, and you’ll probably notice that I have quite a few microSD cards that I’ve used for my ongoing Steam Deck review.

But even without the extra clutter, my triple-monitor array does not leave much space on a 48-inch desk. It’s a good thing that my custom desktop gaming PC only holds 12.7 liters: it’s an Ncase M1 with a Ryzen 5 5600X, a 240mm closed-loop cooler, a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE, 32 gigs of RAM, four SSDs and one slot-loading Blu-ray drive.

A NAS offers long-term storage.

A NAS offers long-term storage.

Small speakers provide great sound quality.

Small speakers provide great sound quality.

Besides that, I have a Synology DS920 Plus for long-term storage and streaming of my video collection to Plex – even though I only have it set to start on the weekends, as I do not really have access to it that often. The flanking PC and NAS are my cherry red Audioengine A2 Plus speakers, which I love because they are small, support USB and analog and Bluetooth and their sound quality far outweigh their size and weight – though the bass is a bit lacking, I suppose. I spend a lot of my day in headphones, but it’s refreshing to take them off and enjoy higher quality sound (and hopefully avoid missing out on Slack-pings).

on when it’s time to change batteries. Otherwise, it’s a great long range wireless headset and individual channels for gaming and chatting on PC, and I enjoy having its OLED-equipped base station on my desk. (Although I usually control the headset using its own built-in dial instead.) I hang the headset from the hook at the bottom of my microphone stand.

Oh, and when it’s time for some Duck games or SpeedRunners or Elden Ring, I always have my old Xbox 360 gamepad and wireless receiver for Windows at hand! I have written about the receiver before and the official Microsoft is worth gold.

You’ve managed to fit a lot of technology on that desktop, including some pretty big screens. How did you do it?

The trick is to keep the monitors away from the table. I tend to be a cheap skate – almost everything on my desk (and the desk itself) was hand-me-down or bought on sale. But my favorite bargain finds are my Doc Ock monitor arms – the Dell MSA14, which office liquidators used to sell for as low as $ 50 on Craigslist or eBay. The Dell U2412M monitors on top of them were also Craigslist finds, and they are now literally a decade old, but their 24-inch 16:10 monitors are perfect for throwing up TweetDeck and Slack and Evernote and occasional YouTube video, while I work or play.

My main screen is an Asus VG27AQ. One of the biggest reasons I bought it was its small, square stand. That way, it can sit on top of my NAS at the perfect head height with just enough space for my mini-desk and water bottle underneath. Too many modern monitors have large V-shaped racks that make them hard to back up, I’m afraid.

Sometimes you want to replace the speakers with a pair of headphones.

A drawer holds screwdrivers, USB-C gear and other gadgets.

A drawer holds screwdrivers, USB-C equipment and other gadgets.

What do you have in each drawer? (I assume that altoids are an important part of your work tool …)

I have not eaten an Altoid for years! Too many stomach problems … but I’ve done a lot with the cans. This one holds the small square microfiber sheets that come with new gadgets so I always have a soft cleaning cloth on hand.

The drawer is also where I store a couple of screwdrivers (this Amazon Basics cutout of the amazing Megapro ratchet driver and the new precision Megapro) and a handful of USB-C equipment, including some old wired Pixel Buds that I use for to record calls once I get an interviewer’s permission.

The drawer does not come with the desktop, and in fact it is from a competing brand: it’s the Uplift Bamboo Desk Drawer, a recent addition, and I’m not sure I’ll keep it. Maybe if I brush the corner off where I keep bumping my knee and find a way to make it open evenly …

Most boom arms I’ve seen on desks hold microphones – but yours has a smartphone …?

Yes, I completely stole inspiration from Taylor Lyles’ What’s on your Desk by buying the same Tonor microphone stand and a good friend who used to work for Polygon recommended the wonderful Blue Spark XLR microphone and Blue Icicle XLR-to-USB adapter that typically hangs from it. But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more about fast-paced videos than podcasts or voiceovers, and the boom seemed like a good hands-free way to film a few things. We will see!

I can see that you have really thought about the organization of your wiring and the other technical necessities that lie beneath your desk.

Thanks! I’ve had a rotten one under my desk for ages, and I’ve tried a number of cord holders and covers before … but this year I stumbled across these privacy panels with built-in pockets for cables. They are not perfect – this one is dependent on velcro strips which I am pretty sure will give over time, but it lets me hide a lot of clutter and also houses my ethernet switch and an Intel NUC where I run Home Assistant . The screen arms also have some built-in cable management, which helps, and so do the tulle on the desk, and I like to have a power rail with rotating outlets (this is mine) so you can point them out of the way.

These privacy panels have built-in pockets for cables.

These privacy panels have built-in pockets for cables.

A look down from the desk shows the hidden storage.

A look down from the desk shows the hidden storage.

Incidentally, the entire power rail is connected directly to a Tripp Lite uninterruptible power supply – a hand-me-down from a friend with too much equipment on his hands. It only has enough power to run everything for a few minutes during an outage, but it’s been long enough to save my work (or game) and shut things down.

I understand that the coaster your drink is on has a story – tell it!

I ironed it from someone else’s desk Rim co-founder Joanna Stern the week she left – ten years ago now? – of course with her blessing. It’s just a nice silicone coaster that reminds me of when The edge were only 16 or so people with big ideas in a single room. And the song Wonderwallfor reasons only a few of us know.

My go-to water bottle is this Contigo because it is so easy to use with one hand without worrying about leaks near my PC. Just press the button and nip.

Is it a desk cleaner you keep?

Yes! Modeled after the Japanese Shinkansen ball train, which I have had the pleasure of riding a few times. It has a small foam broom that sweeps up small crumbs with a reciprocating action as you roll it along a surface. I eat more meals at my desk than I should, so it gets used; it is not a fidget toy.

I bought this from Daiso for a few bucks; my father has got a much nicer model of the world record MLX01 maglev train, which I also got to try when I studied abroad. Its successor is now the fastest train in the world, but it may be many years before the first real passengers board.

This stationary cleaning machine is modeled after a Japanese shinkansen ball train.

This desk cleaner is modeled after a Japanese Shinkansen gun train.

Microsoft's wireless receiver for Windows is still handy for gaming.

Microsoft’s wireless receiver for Windows is still handy for gaming.

I love the pictures of rocket ships. Who drew them?

Mostly my daughter June! She was three, I think, and I helped. Now she’s five and draws much more advanced things all by herself.

Is there anything else about your work area that we have not covered?

My webcam is just a regular workhorse Logitech C920 – no fancy Opal or DSLR webcam for me. I subscribe to the Allison Johnson School, where I refuse to worry about webcam quality; there is a lot more for me to tinker with, especially considering how expensive a better camera would be.