Working from Home, week 5

Some quick notes on the past four weeks, including three under the mandatory circuit breaker controls.

WFH environment

Water bottle at the desk ended up helping with hydration, since it’s much lower activation energy to drinking from it, than having to go and wash my coffee mug and get fresh tap water. I vaguely miss the office cold water dispenser, but I’ll live…

I brought my work monitor home, and that helped with the stupid PRISM+ monitor input switching problems by removing all the input switching and HDMI cable shuffling! Having a second monitor arm ready for this monitor was great, I just had to remove the laptop tray from the mount and it was ready to go.

Bringing back my cheapo office mouse means I now have two mice on my desk to share between three laptops – the MX Anywhere 2 I use at home is still a lot nicer especially in the scroll wheel than the M585 (which I’m only using because the MX Master 2S broke not too long after the 1-year warranty), but it gets the job done. I would get a replacement mouse to use at the office but the MX Master 3 doesn’t seem to have showed up yet, so it’s down to the MX Anywhere 2S or the M720 Triathlon.

Revisiting the USB-C dongle life

I tried to be clever and switch back to my “ORICO RCH3A” USB-C to multiple USB-A 3.1 ports, HDMI and PD passthrough adapter. That reduced the cables going into my MacBook Pro from 3 to 2, but brought back all the old issues:

  • PD passthrough doesn’t work reliably when power is connected to the adapter before the MBP. That’s basically the normal use case for a desk-bound adapter, and it fails at that.
  • The HDMI output goes haywire when the adapter gets warm after an extended period of use (on the order of several hours). The MBP will think a display is connected and working, but the display will complain of no input, or intermittently cycle between a blank attempting-to-sync screen and brief glimpses of digital ‘static’ like a snowstorm.
  • One of the three USB-A ports stopped working during the first 6 months but I didn’t really want to deal with some random Lazada seller.

I had clearly entirely forgotten why I’d stopped using it, and switched to a direct USB-C to DisplayPort cable at my office desk, while keeping this adapter for short presentation mode usage. I think that uses Alt Mode so there’s no active conversion going on, so it just works.

The fix will probably be to rollback to having three cables (power, mini-USB for keyboard, and DisplayPort for monitor), until I give in and buy a replacement USB-C hub-adapter or dock. I should see if things have improved in the last 2-3 years.