Code Outside: The Outdoor Standing Desk | Hacker Noon

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@borisreitman[email protected]

Researcher in end-to-end encryption

Only recently it became possible to code outdoors. The internet is available everywhere through LTE, and portable power is available through good laptop batteries. Although my 2012 MacBook Pro can’t last beyond two hours, I found a portable lithium AC generator on Amazon that lasts me all day.

So, why don’t we work outdoors on our laptops, and are clinging to staying in the offices and homes? There are desks in parks. Yes, the sun’s glare off a laptop’s screen makes it difficult, but the solution is to get a screen shade, or to use a sun umbrella. I’ve done all this, and worked outdoors during the spring of 2020.

I found out, however, that sitting outdoors is too cold, unless it’s a hot day. I thought that standing would be warmer, so I began carrying a small camping desk that converted a regular table into an outdoor standing desk. Indeed, it was warmer to work that way. To keep my fingers warm, I made fingerless gloves from cheap cotton gloves by cutting off the tips.

Also, I didn’t want to be limited to places with park desks, and bought a full-sized portable desk. However, all this equipment was heavy to carry, so I lugged it on a trolley cart.

I kept searching for a better way and I got the idea that a random tree could allow me to mount a table at any height on its trunk, thereby giving me a standing desk. Then, I wouldn’t have to carry a full sized table. Of course, I thought, how can this be done without damaging the tree?

I couldn’t find a product on Amazon, but I found an expired patent on Google’s patent search, for such a Tree Table. Its mounting brace didn’t penetrate or damage the tree, because it was held by a strap that fit snugly around the trunk. I decided to build that table and finished it over two weekends, using basic tools and materials from Home Depot.

Over the next two months I made further modifications, to make it portable. I have also added a lower shelf for keyboard and mouse. This is what it looks like now:

Now, I have a fully ergonomic standing desk that is as easy to carry as a folding camping chair. An added benefit is that a tree almost always has a side with a shade, which works great on hot summer days.

If you like this kind of outdoor standing desk, you can support my Tree Table project on IndieGoGo.

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