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I'm settling in a new office and except the obvious (PC, screen, mouse, keyboard) and the can't-work-without earphones, tissue box, Philips screwdriver and stack (overflow?) of papers my table looks poor, empty and not functional.

Which tools of the trade do you keep in your desk? What proves useful to keep within an arm's reach?

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Voting to close as cruft. –  Adam Davis May 8 '09 at 22:33
Why close? Sounds like fun, and useful for those who might be new to the trade. –  tomjedrz May 8 '09 at 23:25
actually as long as the recommendations for "desk stuff" are sysadmin / IT related I have no problem with this Q.. and many of the responses are! upvoting all the good ones.. –  Jeff Atwood May 9 '09 at 2:07
Close this, please. –  Kazimieras Aliulis May 9 '09 at 9:12

10 Answers 10

An external hard drive dock always comes along handy. Such as this one.

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I read your question perhaps 5 times each time I came back to this question, and only now do I understand you said DOCK not CLOCK: google.com/search?q=hard%20drive%20clock - Because external hard drive clocks are the bomb. –  Adam Davis May 8 '09 at 23:20
Haha, I think I might add a hard drive clock to my desk also. They look pretty awesome :P –  Adam Gibbins May 9 '09 at 8:50

I always keep one of my own business cards on my desk because I can never seem to remember my own work phone number when I'm on the phone with someone who needs it.


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Yep or the company main line or fax number either –  Brettski May 9 '09 at 4:05
  • My coffee mug
  • My laptop on a stand with 2nd monitor
  • Baseline desktop machine for testing
  • Half a library of IT & programming language reference books
  • My coffee mug
  • Power strip so I don't have to crawl under my desk to plug all my crap in
  • Jug o' Purell hand-sanitizer for fighting off the crud from all of the keyboards in our building that have not been cleaned for a decade
  • My coffee mug
  • Compressed air. Never know when you need to blow out a machine or play ping-pong ball hockey
  • A small whiteboard with those awesome smelling markers
  • Awesome smelling whiteboard cleaner
  • My coffee mug
  • Screen wipes for those SCHMOES that can't keep their stinkin' fingers off of my monitor when they're showing me something
  • Dust bunnies that would choke a cat (in stark contrast to the jug o' Purell)
  • Dilbert books
  • My coffee mug
  • Calvin and Hobbes books
  • Fox Trot books
  • A Bible
  • Oh yeah, and lots and lots of pictures of my wife and kids

And my coffee mug

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I have the cables necessary to setup and work on a second PC ... monitor, keyboard and mouse, power cable plugged in, ethernet cable plugged in. That way, when I am in a hurry to fix a problem I can plug the PC and go.

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One sixth of my 3'x8' desk surface is occupied by a folded blanket that is usually occupied by a big, fat, white cat. There's something incredibly calming about this animal who has no cares except eating and getting his ears scratched. Very calming.

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As long as the hairballs stay off your desk, your golden –  Brettski May 9 '09 at 4:05

Books like the below. Aside from my computer I find that nothing is as helpful has having books to be able grab and open. My books of course have lots of the Post-It Flags marking important sections. When the network is down, firing up Google or Safari isn't an option, and I am not able to remember everything.

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I'd say the networking books WOULD be important when the network is down <G>. Then again it's also a good reason to have a cellular modem –  Brad Bruce May 21 '09 at 22:14

Those things should be easely reache :

  • USB Port by an extension cable laying on the desk
  • ESata Port by an extension once again, this is more and more current these days
  • A good mouse pad with wrist rest padded
  • Monitor stand (allsop make a good one) to elevate the monitor so you neck is straight
  • A coffe cup and a coffee brewer can also be a good ideas!
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Power to the coffee cup –  squillman May 9 '09 at 4:38

I also have:

  • mousepad
  • pen
  • PostITs
  • Thermoisolated tea cup
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moleskine notebook

Ball of whacks

pencils, keyboard and mouse

...and sometimes m&ms.

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Pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whichever, must have the the 1500 hour snack on hand to keep my head from diving into my keyboard

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Didn't you know? "Typing with your face" is the new "in thing" –  Brad Bruce May 21 '09 at 22:16

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