Amazing retro-innovation draws adulation [Setups]

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A MacBook Pro and widescreen display setup has a secret weapon: a desktop whiteboard.
A MacBook Pro and widescreen display setup has a secret weapon: a desktop whiteboard.
Photo: TheCrunks@Reddit

If you look at enough computer setups, you get used to seeing the amazing technology that impresses people on social media sites. But then, sometimes the cool innovation, or let’s say killer retro-innovation, is just an unfamiliar form of whiteboard with dry-erase notes scribbled on it.

Redditor TheCrunks has an admirably capable but compact setup with plenty of tech to like.

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The setup features a MacBook Pro tethered to a 38-inch LG curved IPS monitor, with a modified Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard and a Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse. There’s also a 1080p webcam and a condenser microphone on a boom arm.

Retro-innovation: It’s nifty, but it’s still just a whiteboard

But what many of the commenters made special note of is something called a Quartet Glass Desktop Computer Pad, aka a small whiteboard that sits on the desk.

TheCrunks, who uses it to jot down ideas while on Zoom calls with creative collaborators, positions it just behind the keyboard. It features a tilted, dry erase surface with a groove at the top for pens, plus a tray underneath.

“Basically the whiteboard is awesome because when you have an idea you can quickly get it down with minimal friction,” TheCrunks wrote in reply to an admiring comment. “And for me the ability to just get an idea down the moment the idea presents itself is important to what I do.”

And with your own little desktop whiteboard, you jottings don’t get lost too easily.

“Because of the position of the whiteboard on the desk, whatever I jot don’t is always sorta at the front of my mind, if that makes sense,” TheCrunks added.

But won’t a pad and pen suffice?

But not everyone loves the idea. It may come down to how prolific a note-taker you are. There are “sticky note” people and there are scrupulous scriveners.

“I had one of these,” one commenter noted. “I kind of liked it but I found that it was just too easy to pick it up and go to write something, but then require more space.”

For that person, a pad and pen or pencil does the trick.

“I find it easier to just have some kind of journal on deck, just for anyone looking to buy,” they said. “I’d say if you’re the type of person to use sticky notes a lot, it’s a good buy, if you’re more of a note taker, it won’t suit you much.”

In this setup, a 38-inch LG curved IPS monitor replaced two 27-inch 4K monitors.
In this setup, a 38-inch LG curved IPS monitor replaced two 27-inch 4K monitors.
Photo: TheCrunks@Reddit

From two smaller 4K monitors to one big 38

Another commenter admired TheCrunks 38-inch curved LG display, but wished it had the pixel resolution of a 27-inch 4k monitor.

TheCrunks assured the commenter it’s not a difficult adjustment to make. They used to use two 27-inch 4K displays before they switched to a big, curved one.

“I came from dual LG 27-inch full 4k monitors and honestly it took me half a day to adjust to the drop in resolution and I wouldn’t dream of going back. The adjustment didn’t come close to being as bad as I expected,” they said.

Modified mechanical keyboard

TheCrunks uses a wireless Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard with a mix of stock keycaps and a bunch of HK Chalk gaming keycaps purchased from Amazon.

The keycap customization changes both the look and feel of the keyboard.

Easy cable management

TheCrunks’ setup has a clean look, which made folks wonder where the cable clutter went.

“There’s really not that many cables to manage,” TheCrunks said. “ Laptop is powered by the single Thunderbolt cable that runs to the back of monitor.

Webcam plugs into USB on back of monitor. Then mic cable clips onto the extension arm then I run along back side of desk and plug into second USB-C port on the laptop.”

That said, cable management never really ends, you just keep working on it.

“I have seen these little cable management clips that stick to your desk and pinch the cables in place,” TheCrunks noted. “I might get one to hold the mic cable wire in place by where it connects into the laptop.”

And then there’s the $2 laptop stand

The little whiteboard was not the setup’s only old-school element.

A commenter hoped to find out what laptop stand TheCrunks had supporting a MacBook Pro.

“It’s just an acrylic picture frame stand that I found in my parents garage, probably worth $2,” TheCrunks replied. “It’s funny because I can justify spending on the monitor and the chair but can’t justify spending $30-50 on a laptop stand.”

Shop these items now:

Computer and peripherals:

MacBook Pro

LG 38UC99-W 38-inch Curved IPS Monitor

Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard

HK Chalk Keycaps for mechanical keyboard

Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse

Kindle Paperwhite

Audio and video:

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Headphones

Campark HD 1080p Webcam

Fifine USB Podcast Microphone

Microphone arm stand

Furniture and accessories:

Quartet Glass Desktop Computer Pad (whiteboard)

Lorell Mid-Century Office Desk

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.