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your home office setup?

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For those of you that have an office set up at your home, do you find a printer a necessity?

 

Trying to get a home office set up for the next 5 years of PhD...  I have a laptop, 2nd monitor, file cabinets, and bookshelf.  Anything else you would recommend?  Thanks in advance!

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I recently bought a refurbished brother laser printer, with scanner and copier for $90 at staples.  They often have brother laser printers for $50 up, depending on the features you want.  Brother printers are great at taking generic toner from meritline that cost around $13 for 1600 pages.  Thats what I would recommend.

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A printer is the kind of thing you can always buy if/when you find you need it. I do my printing at the office so while I have a printer at home, I almost never use it and I'd be just fine without it. I'd suggest starting without one and seeing if you need it after you've started school.

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I have an HP printer/scanner/copier that's served me well through the end of high school and all of undergrad. I'll definitely be keeping it in my home office, but depending on how printing is set up in my future lab, I'm not sure how much I'll use it. If it broke, I probably wouldn't replace it. Other essentials for me:

 

-Large dry erase calendar

-Bookstand (to keep hard copy texts upright and visible while I'm typing)

 

 

Any suggestions on where to buy a 2nd monitor? I hate working on small screens, but I don't want a bulky laptop...would it be excessive to have one monitor for home and one for the office?

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Like Fuzzy, I almost always print at the office... but I am glad I have a cheap old printer/scanner at home.  It allows me to finsh assignments at home and print there before class without stopping in the office, is a way for me to print in color without using computer lab credits, and comes in handy for things I wouldn't want to go to school for, like printing a boarding pass or map before a trip.

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I have a laptop, a netbook and a HP inkjet printer. I work as a teacher so having the printer at home has been really convenient. Now that the cartridges are our of ink I find it awkward to wait until I go to work to print. However, it's not the end of the world and thus I agree with Fuzzy: when moving in the fall I will wait until buying a printer. I cannot believe how cheap they are!!! Are laser printer+scanners fairly cheap to maintain?

 

As far as my computers, I have a dilemma. First of all, both of them are DELL, which has worked fine for me. I realise I may not be able to take both to the US. The thing is that I use the laptop to work and the netbook to carry around and work at cafés or at meetings. Since this one is newer (2 yrs) I'll probably take this one but I don't like working on such a small screen.The laptop is an excellent machine but it's quite heavy (I am one of those people that goes everywhere with her computer) an quite old. So I would like to take both, but can't. It's ridiculous since in the US I can get really good laptops for less money than here. actually, I have thinking of buying myself a macbook as a present.... :D what do you think?    

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I have a laptop, a netbook and a HP inkjet printer. I work as a teacher so having the printer at home has been really convenient. Now that the cartridges are our of ink I find it awkward to wait until I go to work to print. However, it's not the end of the world and thus I agree with Fuzzy: when moving in the fall I will wait until buying a printer. I cannot believe how cheap they are!!! Are laser printer+scanners fairly cheap to maintain?

 

As far as my computers, I have a dilemma. First of all, both of them are DELL, which has worked fine for me. I realise I may not be able to take both to the US. The thing is that I use the laptop to work and the netbook to carry around and work at cafés or at meetings. Since this one is newer (2 yrs) I'll probably take this one but I don't like working on such a small screen.The laptop is an excellent machine but it's quite heavy (I am one of those people that goes everywhere with her computer) an quite old. So I would like to take both, but can't. It's ridiculous since in the US I can get really good laptops for less money than here. actually, I have thinking of buying myself a macbook as a present.... :D what do you think?    

They are VERY cheap if you get one that will take generic brand toner and drum.  A $13 toner will print 1600ish pages.  I had a color laser printer in my classroom and printed a lot, and had to replace each color and the black about once/year.  The drum lasted for 3 years.  Just watch out for a good deal.  I figure if I need color I will print at work or pay.  I rarely need color though.

 

I did buy a macbook last week and love it.  I don't need crazy high performance, but I do need reliability and longevity.  Plus I prefer the OS operating system over windows.  And most school districts and the university program I applied to use mac, so it's a better choice for me.  Anyways.  For $1000 I'm set with printer and computer.

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I am looking at the Epsom Workforce 3540. It's wireless, prints 2-sided, etc, etc.  But Fuzzy makes a good point.  I may have all the printing I need within the department.  I think I'll wait to see what available.

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They are VERY cheap if you get one that will take generic brand toner and drum.  A $13 toner will print 1600ish pages.  I had a color laser printer in my classroom and printed a lot, and had to replace each color and the black about once/year.  The drum lasted for 3 years.  Just watch out for a good deal.  I figure if I need color I will print at work or pay.  I rarely need color though.

 

I did buy a macbook last week and love it.  I don't need crazy high performance, but I do need reliability and longevity.  Plus I prefer the OS operating system over windows.  And most school districts and the university program I applied to use mac, so it's a better choice for me.  Anyways.  For $1000 I'm set with printer and computer.

 

thank you kira!

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I have an all in one Canon printer, and I think it's an absolute necessity. It's great to be able to scan a hard copy of something to fax/send an email to someone in a hurry. I also think it's great to be able to scan in loose papers and turn them into a document that I can store on my kindle for reading.

 

As far as something else I recommend, I love those huge wall calendars with spaces to write. It helps to post them in a visible place, for example I have mine on the back of my door, to get a quick reference of important dates coming up so that I don't forget. I write things down in a planner, but seeing them day to day when I am working helps me stay on top of things. As someone else suggested, a large dry erase calendar works too. I like those better, but I have yet to find one that is big enough, and I am worried about taking the paint off the wall, which I did last time with double sided tape.

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The one thing you want to think about in getting a printer is the cost of printing in the office. Not everyone will have free printing or they'll have a super small printing allowance so that's something to consider.

 

Otherwise, I definitely recommend waiting until you get out there. There are always sales on printers around back-to-school time and that way, it's one less thing for you to move!

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I bought a multi-function HP printer/scanner, with legal size capability.  Sunk quite a bit of money into it, but it's cheaper to print from it than from the office. (It will pay for itself). Plus, it means I can print stuff at 3 in the morning if I need to.  You're in sciences so I don't know what type of documents you print, but I cannot read stuff off my computer screen, so all the articles I read are printed.

 

Duplex is usually a great feature on a printer too, saves paper and usually doesn't cost too much extra these days. 

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The one thing you want to think about in getting a printer is the cost of printing in the office. Not everyone will have free printing or they'll have a super small printing allowance so that's something to consider.

 

Otherwise, I definitely recommend waiting until you get out there. There are always sales on printers around back-to-school time and that way, it's one less thing for you to move!

 

Why move a printer? Just find the one you want on Amazon, sign up for the free Amazon Prime student membership, and have it shipped to you for $3.99 overnight (or less for two-day). I personally use a Samsung ML3312ND black-and-white laser printer with duplexer and Ethernet...usually runs about $100-$125.

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I recently bought a new wireless Brother laser printer that duplexes automatically and has a scanner and copier for $100. It was on sale from I think Office Depot. My department only lets graduate students print 200 pages a semester, which you can go through pretty quickly if you need journal articles or readings for class. I find it super convenient to just be able to print what I want whenever I want.

 

The rest of my home office setup: desk, external monitor, ultrabook, wireless keyboard and mouse, portable external HD (these are all on the desk), two bookshelves, one super comfortable desk chair, one papasan chair, and the aforementioned printer. Elsewhere I also have a netbook, Kindle, and Kindle Fire.

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I usually do as little printing at home as possible. I often printed out things on campus the last time I was in grad school and for the last eight years or so I was able to do that at work instead. That being said I don't know what it will be like when I am back in school in the fall and I have a little ink jetter as a just-in-case that came free with my last laptop. I also have a printer/scanner with a broken printer part, but I'm debating getting rid of that for space.

 

So my current setup is that I have three computers. I recently replaced my perpetually failing laptop with a windows tablet, I have a computer hooked up to my TV so I can just watch streaming shows instead of paying for cable and internet, and a desktop with two monitors. If that second monitor is for a separate computer (not sure if that's what you meant) then I'd make sure you have a home network set up, I find being able to transfer files between computers via my router makes things SOOOO much easier.

 

Something else to consider, furniture. I built a BIG desk for myself a few years ago because I tend to spread out pretty wildly, but more broadly having a good, comfortable chair is very important for a home office in my opinion. It's a place where you could potentially spend a lot of time and it's easy to get distracted when you aren't comfortable.

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I did 2 years of masters and never *needed* to print at home. I always printed in the lab/office or if I really had to, just paid for it. You'll have to plan ahead if you have assignments or something like that, but nothing major.

 

I agree with the above posts. See how you fare without one and if you find you need it, then you can buy it.

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I very rarely need to print at home.  I read all of my articles electronically, though, either on my computer or on my iPad (I can't stand having tons of paper just lying around, and I don't have the resources to file it even if I wanted to).  I don't print drafts of my papers - the other authors and I (or my advisor) review them all electronically.  I review papers much better electronically anyway, with track changes in Word.

 

Ironically, I could've used a printer in the beginning of my program, when I was least able to afford it.  I read all of my articles for class in hard copy and I had files and files of stuff from classes.  I also had to turn in hard copies of papers, which often resulted in mad dashes to the printing facilities a half hour before class praying that the lab wasn't busy.  (I came straight from undergrad, so I didn't master not procrastinating on papers until later.)  Now that I am not in classes and I only work on papers of my own volition other than my own dissertation, I don't need the printer as much - but ironically, I have one now.  It's handy to have around for the occasional print job, but strictly speaking it's more of a luxury than a need.

 

I have an Epson WF-2540.  It's wireless and supports Google Air Print, which means that I can print from anywhere over the Internet.  I can also print from my iPad which is useful because I read many articles that way.  I mostly use it for personal documents - like my tax returns, a cover letter, a recommendation letter here or there, etc.

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I've gotten an MA and been a TA and an adjunct in English. I did use my printer on occasion, though I printed at school whenever possible (cheaper). I used the scanner and fax machine function enough times to warrant having one. I use OneNote instead of paper notes these days, and some stuff is better scanned ino the notes than typed in. I'll be toting it along with me when I start my PhD program in the fall. That's personal experience, tho', so...yeah.

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I couldn't live without a printer.  It's one of the top priorities for me. 

 

In our first year PhD program we had to read about 10-15 articles a week, plus more for research. 

 

I hate reading electronic PDFs. I like to make manual notes and highlight.  So I print a lot.

 

I have purchased two HP B&W laser printers on eBay for around $30 each.  I have one at home, and one in my office at school. Even though we are on a networked department printer/scanner - I am so glad I have my own printer in my office.

 

Often the printer at school is down (it's a Kyocera that is always having trouble) and it's slow with printing PDFs. The faculty grumble when a student is delaying their copying because we are printing off our papers. So during prime time - I print in my office.

 

Amazon has refurbished toner cartridges for less than $15. It's worth the cost.

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Any suggestions on where to buy a 2nd monitor? I hate working on small screens, but I don't want a bulky laptop...would it be excessive to have one monitor for home and one for the office?

When I was working on my Master's I had two items in my tiny office  at school (seriously, it was a small cubicle sized office, but it was all mine, so I loved it) I couldn't live without: a printer and a monitor.  I used a 10" netbook at school, but the tiny screen (and hunching over to see it) was not healthy, so I got in the habit of using an external monitor positioned at eye level, both at home and my office.  Well, at home I just used my large TV as a monitor and used my Asus monitor for my office.  It was the best idea ever.  It saved my eyes, my neck and back, as well as provided a reasonably comfortable space to work on campus where I spent more time because I'd procrastinate at home.  The other item was a $25 printer (I think it was an HP) I used to print lesson plans, last minute handouts, etc. for teaching and also when I'd finish a paper for my own seminars, I'd print it out there instead of at home (where I also had another cheap but invaluable printer).  

So, to sum up my verbose answer: no, having two monitors (one at home and one at the office) is not excessive.  It might be just what you need.

One last suggestion - my office had those horrible fluorescent lights on the ceiling of each office (no windows in my office), and I noticed that once I chose to use a standing lamp with a regular daylight bulb in it, my eyes would be less strained by the end of the day.  It wasn't as bright, but it provided enough light and was perhaps just right for me.  

Edited by tigereye

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