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Talking Time's Top 50 Office Supplies

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#14
USB thumb drive

Score: 116 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 7th (Kirin)​

Bulgakov said:
I try to keep them at minimum 16 GB, but no greater than 32 GB, because people are always asking to borrow the files.

JBear said:
Sometimes you need to move files around.

Kirin said:
sneaker-net is still sometimes easiest

Ixo voted for portable media storage in general:

Ixo said:
SD cards and/or Flash Drives primarily, but I still have optical media hanging around too. (Ask me about my USB floppy drive)

When I was your age, this was a floppy disk -- you know, that thing on the save icon. The floppy disk is more iconic, and frankly, the USB drive isn't really recognizable from the silhouette.

Anyway, it's nearly inconceivable that portable media storage will ever go out of fashion, but these days, your portable media is just as likely to be stored on your phone. Still, a thumb drive is a nice thing to have. I've got one on my desk that's quite a bit smaller than my thumb. Now, I can't find it at the moment, so maybe it's too small, but it's no less incredible to think that I've misplaced something that stores more information than many actual libraries.

Clippit said:
The USB flash drive was invented in early 1999 by about four people at the same time, making its inventor more contentious than the airplane's.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
A while back Dropbox (the file sharing/synching service I've been using) shoved a lot of its usefulness into a too-damn-expensive-for-what-I-need paid tier, and I've been too lazy to switch to an alternative, so I resort to thumb drives fairly often just to move files between computers in my office, especially when I need to go between current MacOS and old-ass Windows, where setting up network sharing is a PITA. Or just for big files I don't want to sit around waiting to get through the wireless network (which I really ought to upgrade as well). Also occasionally useful to move files to or from game consoles.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I completely forgot about flash drives. To be fair, I don't use them at work ever, but I do use them to store my writing and stuff.
 
They're not banned at my work yet, and I keep a thumb drive on my keychain in case I need to move things around between the archaic educational computers. But ya, big security problemo for anywhere that cares about security.

Kirin, get yourself the latest wifi standard. The speeds for the newer standards are almost as good as LAN.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
For those of you who like to live dangerously, you can always go find and plug yourself into a USB Dead Drop.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#13
Computer

Score: 116 - Votes: 4 - Highest vote: 1st (Ixo)​

Bulgakov said:
I could spend all day on specs, but this is my preferred style of working and my #1 "I will use it every day" office item.

Yimothy said:
Beep beep boop.

Ixo said:
I feel this should be self explanatory.

Well, I'm going to explain it even so, and Ixo can't stop me! In this entire list, this is probably the only item that I have used every single day of my career. Having an interactive computation device is pretty great. Connecting that device to everyone else's? Now, that's an idea that changes the entire world.

Clippit said:
Charles Babbage invented the first computer in the early 19th century. It was entirely mechanical. He refined his early concept into a more general design, inventing the first Turing-complete computer as early as 1833. The design was way ahead of its time -- the computer was prohibitively difficult and expensive to build -- but his son managed to assemble a simplified version over 50 years later. At that point, my creation was inevitable.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I assume my vote for laptop got folded into this one. Computational machines are pretty nice in any form.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#12
Pencil

Score: 116 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 7th (Kirin)​

Kirin said:
still pretty useful for jotting stuff down

Yimothy said:
While I prefer a pen with a spring retraction mechanism to a plain one, the opposite is true of pencils. Keep it simple. Supposedly the American space program dedicated huge resources to making a pen that would write in space, and the Russians used pencils. I don't know if that's true, and I don't want to risk looking it up and finding out that it's not.

Falselogic said:
I swear by Blackwing 602s. Nice firm graphite and a wide rubber eraser is just perfect. They also look good too.

The classic No. 2 pencil is well-known, but the venerable writing implement comes in numbers from 1 to 4, in increasing order by the hardness of their graphite core. The harder the "lead," the less rubs off on the paper as you write, and thus the lighter the marks the pencil leaves. (Despite the name -- and despite the word for pencil in languages such as German translating literally to "lead pen" -- pencils have never used actual lead. That's good, because lead is toxic.)

There are many major pencil manufacturers, but the iconic yellow, hexagonal No. 2 is most well-known in the USA as a product of Dixon Ticonderoga or Newell (under the Sanford brand).

As for the Russian pencil story? It's not entirely inaccurate.
It was the Fisher Pen Company, not NASA, who developed the zero-gravity pen, which also works underwater and in extreme temperatures. NASA in fact used pencils initially, as the Russians, but not your standard wooden pencil -- American spaceships had a pure oxygen atmosphere, making the pencils a fire hazard. NASA ordered specialty pencils for at least some of their projects that cost in excess of $100 apiece. Fisher patented his pen in 1966, and NASA took them to space on Apollo 7 in 1968.

Soviet astronauts initially used wax pencils out of the same safety concerns, but they switched to the Fisher Space Pen shortly after NASA did.

Clippit said:
If you could create a pencil whose lead was made out of bubbles, it would surely become the industry leader.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I mainly use pencils when I’m coordinating at work. A lot of what I write normally is part of the medical record, so it needs to be permanent, but when I’m just allocating staff to different theatres and the like, it’s often good to be able to make changes (like if I move someone from one theatre to another). That said, quite often I wind up just scribbling things out and writing below rather than using an eraser, so I might as well use a pen.

I dunno if I press to hard or what, but I always seem to break the lead when I’m using mechanical pencils.

Maybe we have a different numbering system or if Mogri is just leaving out the details, but I’m used to Hs and Bs on my pencils. Harder pencils have higher H numbers, softer pencils (which leave darker, blacker, marks) have higher B numbers. In the middle is HB, which I think is the most common type, though 2B is pretty frequent too.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
I’ve tried to tell people over the phone or during introductions that my last name is “like the pencils” but no one has ever known what I’m talking about so I quit doing it.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Catching up - I skipped the computer as I guess it was in my mind as a basic necessity rather than a supply, but yeah, obviously the most used thing(s) in my office.

As for pencils, they're my go-to when I want to make an actual physical note rather than typing something. Useful for things I want to keep in my field of vision for a while independent of what I'm doing on the computer, or for sketching out a geometry problem (sure, any simple drawing program on the computer *could* do it, but the pencil sketch is still faster).
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#11
Headphones

Score: 121 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 4th (JBear)​

Violentvixen said:
Whatever makes conference calls easier to hear.

JBear said:
Sometimes you want to listen to a podcast, and sometimes the guy in the next office over is eating carrots. Sometimes both!

Falselogic said:
Another essential in a cubicle hell office space. The last thing I want to hear about is what Todd in accounting did over the weekend.

This is a rolled-up vote for headphones, earbuds, and headsets. Admit it: most of you are wearing a pair this very minute, unless (or maybe even if) you're reading this from your phone. I'm wearing mine while I write this. In fact, there's a crew working on my roof today, and I'm very grateful for noise cancellation. Beyond that, the ability to listen to whatever you want without forcing everyone else nearby to do the same is just an amazing power that we take for granted. A hundred years ago, the radio was just starting to enter common usage. It's amazing how quickly technology has progressed in a hundred years.

Clippit said:
The first headphone patent dates back to 1891. The 3.5mm audio jack -- the plug at the end of your headphones, microphones, and related devices -- dates back to 1964, making it one of the few interfaces of its age still in use, although it's hard to top the two- or three-prong outlet in that category.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Admit it: most of you are wearing a pair this very minute, unless (or maybe even if) you're reading this from your phone.
Not me! I work from home so I can just use actual speakers on my computers.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Ear buds have taken on even more importance now that I work exclusively from home, as does the missus, and there is a kid here at times.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I voted for headphones, although I tend to use earbuds at work.

I get to the store an hour or two before it opens most days, so it's nice to have some music or a relaxation video to listen to while I'm breaking down my freight.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I loathe headphones and try to never use them. Sometimes it is necessary. I avoid those times.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#10
Push pin

Score: 122 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 2nd (Dracula)​

Falselogic said:
When you work in cubicle hell, and the walls are that soft weird fabric you can just jam everything up on them. And I do.

JBear said:
For hanging office comics on cork boards or soft walls.

Yimothy said:
I hope [this is] self explanatory.

Dracula said:
How did we even live before we had these?

So you want to attach something to a wall. Tape? Sticky tack? Doesn't stick long enough. Nail? Too permanent. Push pin? Now we're talking. In a pinch, you can use these as caltrops.

Clippit said:
In Britain, these are called "drawing pins." The item was first produced all the way back in the 1750s in the colonies now known as the United States.
 
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Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I had push pins / thumb tacks at #10 on my list.

...

Don't really have much else to say about them
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
12 is a very good number. See the Top 50 Numbers list for more information.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I had thumb tacks at #21, and was kind of running out of energy for descriptions, as seen above. I’d probably rather use pins over thumb tacks these days, but when I was in school I remember having thumb tacks stuck in the sole of my shoe so I’d click when I walked. I also totally covered a lever arch file’s spine with tacks that I pushed through and bent over. Ah, youth.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
when I was in school I remember having thumb tacks stuck in the sole of my shoe so I’d click when I walked.
On the one hand, click-walking sounds appealing as a kid, but on the other, unless my shoe soles were really thick I'd be kind of terrified that if I stepped too hard and compressed them I'd stab myself in the foot.
 
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