My Blogging Station Setup

Here’s a look at my current blogging station. Ever since I posted about my new Dell 30″ LCD, I’ve been receiving emails asking to see the rest of the setup.

My current system is a lot different than my old system. Because I travel so much, I wanted a solution that would simplify my work flow. The problem with maintaining both a desktop and laptop is one is always out of date from a data standpoint. And if you forget to sync them before you head out on your trip, you may find some important files were left on the home comp. The video below shows how I got around that problem.

If you wish to create the same setup I use for blogging, expect to spend about $4,000 for it.

88 thoughts on “My Blogging Station Setup”

  1. Mostly Lisa says:

    shizza! that is a looooot of screen real-estate!
    hmm. i see you use FF. think you can convince me to make the switch from Safari??? I dare you.
    ps. where are all your flips? don’t they get a spot on your blogging station?

    1. John Chow says:

      How about, switch to Firefox because it’s better? OK, how about switch to Firefox and I’m sponsor you to Blog World? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

      Flips are accessories and not part of the blogging station. I may do a post on all the accessories I run.

      1. JC – I use a 42inch LCD TV as my monitor, plug my Mac in there, and use wireless keyboard and mouse from my desk.

        When i travel, just disconnect the laptop and im off.

        1. Abdul says:

          I need to get those things too!

      2. Thiago Prado says:

        Firefox most of the time works better than the other ones. however when you have FF opened for a long time the memory used for it increase drastically at the point where you are forced to close it and re-open again.
        They should have a process to release memory usage all the time you close the tabs.
        I didn’t try FF 3 yet, maybe they have this feature.

      3. As I keep making changes to my theme once in a while, I test my blog on IE, Firefox and Opera to make sure that the look and feel is consistent. I guess that would cover 90-95% of the audience?

        One immediately visible problem that I had with FF3 was about the peal-away ad. It stopped working the way it should be on an FF3 beta, hope they have fixed the div/span issues there in.

        PS:- Good to see your blogging station (a new concept? like the rigs ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    2. Chicken Say says:

      Well FF is way better than others…it has a lot of plugins make us easy to use… ๐Ÿ˜› (even sponsor to Blog World ๐Ÿ˜† )

  2. Reed says:

    Nice setup. I myself have a 2 monitor setup. I’d like to have a triple monitor setup but sadly my crappy dell doesn’t support it. I like what I’m seeing with your mac, especially what it can do with just one monitor… hmmmm, maybe its time to cross over to the other side ๐Ÿ™‚ .

    1. Quintin Riis says:

      Buy another video card?

    2. Ryan says:

      I have a 2 monitor setup on my mac too. Moving windows from one screen to the other is a two step process so getting that much real estate would be awesome. I don’t need a laptop but when I do then that system would be the way to go. Nice to see you haven’t abandoned the Mac, John.

    3. Not JohnChow says:

      I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop with a 250gb My Book. I would love to have the multiple monitor set up. I was thinking it would be nice to have extra monitors that are the same size as the laptop and would fit in my computer bag. Any body have any suggestions?

  3. Quintin Riis says:

    Good post John.

    Dual monitors or a big monitor most definitely increases productivity. I’m using dual 22″ LCDs right now. I’ve got more graphics outputs available though, and more 22″ monitors, so I might add a third..

    You can see a picture of my setup (and enter my 22″ monitor giveaway) at this entry on my website.

    The monitors also both have dual inputs so I often have more than one machine connected. I also use the left display for full screen virtualization.

    Oh, and I run Ubuntu on my main machine. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  4. Quintin Riis says:

    My friend Alex Halsey has this monitor and a 24″ Dell monitor in portrait mode. Also powered by a MacBook Pro.

    Oh and the “spaces” thing or whatever it’s called… kind of lame. How many years did it take Apple to get that into OSX? ๐Ÿ™„ Linux and Unix have had virtual desktops for years and years. And for Windows, there is VirtuaWin, a very useful tool that adds virtual desktops to Windows operating systems.

  5. Ryan Ray says:

    I thought about using this sort of setup with my MBP, but have decided to trade in for an iMac. From there I am thinking about getting an Macbook Air or if they FINALLY redesign the Macbooks with aluminum I’ll get one of those.

    Still this is a nice setup, I love my Macbook Pro. It’ll be hard to part ways with it

  6. Pasquale says:

    Data sync? uhh that’s why they invented dropbox.

  7. Quite inpresive blogging station ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ronald Su says:

    Nice setup you have there. So you have completed switched from Windows to Mac.

    I am trying to do the same, but it’s not that easy since a lot of things I do on PC, I can’t do it on the Mac. For example, RMVB video converting. PC just does that better.

  9. kathi says:

    A very big monitor ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    A very big blogging station that you have ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Abdul says:

    How much of that stuff have you gotten for free?!

  11. Noobpreneur says:


    I want that workstation. But wait… perhaps I need to have $30,000 per month first? ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Douglas Karr says:

    I’m similar, a MacBookPro 17, but my monitor is only a 22. Love the 30! I also travel with a 250Gb Passport drive – it comes in very handy as an interim backup before I get home. At home I have a BuffaloTech drive off of my network router.

    Too cool, John! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Doug thanks for all the stuff I learn from YOU ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. tina says:

    hello ยกยก you are very good equiped , i hope one day , have such a good equipe , and spend more time blogging . i’m a brand new site , here i am : , i have just started one mounth ago , and like you see , i don’t have too much success , my blog is a spansih one , i live and work there . I am a financial consultant , and my idea to have a funny page for joking and laughing , born as a joke . I spent too much time en internet , and that seemed to me a good idea, I like joking , and I have such a kind of work that there is nothing to laugh there … I ‘d would like to have more readers , because laughing ,, i think is a good think and we all need that … I also read your free e-book . impresive ยกยกยก so , congratulations for your blog , that encourage me in some way to keep blogging .. thank you for that ยกยก

  14. tyna says:

    I going to switch to Mac this summer,it is easier to work with especially if you are are manipulating photos with photo softwares.
    btw all the pros use it.

    1. Tom says:

      I thought that years ago and I went out and bought a top of the line Aluminum Powerbook. Then I went out to Silicon Valley to do some contracting work (around 2005) and realized that the graphic designers were the only one using mac books. There are a few good developers that stick to the mac , but I prefer the T series thinkpads. They are build w/ data integrity, security and portability in mind. Plus, I got sick of waiting for all the cool things to hit the mac platform.

      1. John Chow says:

        Well, it’s 2008 and there’s nothing a Macbook Pro can’t do that a T series can. And that includes running Windows. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

        1. Tom says:

          I wont start that debate… I was speaking more to the hardware: The Shock Mounted Hard Drive, Magnesium Alloy Frame, metal hinges, the security chip, finger print reader, thinkvantage recovery etc. Besides, why buy a mac book to run windows? Parallels sucks and dual booting is a pain in the ass to manage when it comes to file sharing and what you should install where.

        2. Tom Sawyer says:

          Not to be overly picky, but you are probably talking about a MacBook Pro (MBP), right? I agree with you though about using a Mac in 2008. A MBP does have a drive that stops spinning when it senses it is falling. I’m not sure about the frame, but I’m not taking mine into combat ๐Ÿ™‚ I also had some experience with a stand-alone fingerprint reader – I will just use a strong password.

          1. Tom says:

            Guess my only point is that all of the “professionals” aren’t using macs. Or MBP’s for that matter.

          2. Tom Sawyer says:

            I agree 100%. I still use a dual-monitor PC as well as a MBP and iMac. I honestly think both systems have their strong points.

          3. John Chow says:

            Depends on the profession. When I’m at the media room at Ad Tech, 50% of the notebooks were Mac. When I’m at a blogging conference, that number goes to 80%.

            A Macbook Pro is made for creative professionals. It has things that cater to that. Like a dual link DVI and Firewire 800.

            Fingerprint readers are pretty easy bypass.

          4. Tom says:

            I think a lot of people are enamored by their idols and they think that by purchasing the equipment that they have, they will magically attain the same level of professionalism. I was just trying to dispel that myth.

            I agree with Tom Sawyer… both have their ups and downs. Yes, dual DVI and Firewire 800 are nice. They aren’t going to make you a super affiliate, a pro blogger, a developer or a designer though. Switching to a mac will not raise your level of professionalism instantly. In fact, you will be set back while you adapt to the learning curve.

  15. Love the setup, John. Im running a 19 inch monitor, and dont think I could handle something that big! But obviously it works well for you. Thanks for the inside look.

  16. tomegun says:

    John, I love the mac – I have a 15″ MBP and a 20″ iMac. Two questions:

    1. Does FF have something that allows you to group a set of web pages together like Safari does on the toolbar?
    2. Do you plan on getting MobilMe with the ability to change things on an iPhone, Mac or PC and have the change be reflected across all devices?

    1. John Chow says:

      1 – I’m sure there is a plugin for that
      2 – No, I don’t plan to get MobileMe.

    2. Tom says:

      Firefox has a toolbar folder under bookmarks. You can create a subfolder and throw your websites into that. That would allow you to have a dropdown of several sites under one category.

  17. Tom Sawyer says:

    John, what version of FF are you using? I downloaded version 3 the other day, but I’m still not totally in love with it.

    1. John Chow says:

      I’ve been using FF3 for quite a while. I was using the RC before the final came out. I love the gesture feature that allows me to use my Macbook Pro trackpad to move forward and back on pages.

  18. I am using 22″ LCD and I thought it is big enough, well seems that you have a bigger than mine. I thought of getting Macbook but the specs are not sufficient for my needs.

    1. Tom Sawyer says:

      When you say the specs are not sufficient what do you mean? What are you doing on your computer that you think you can’t accomplish with a mac? What specs does your PC have?

  19. juler says:

    That was is really great… but i can’t afford that much for the time being. Maybe someday (that’s the day i beat you in the competition! lol!) i will do greater than that…

  20. FireFox is the only one to use, IE, well don’t get me started on that piece of **** but no matter how hard I try and can’t get my GL to make the switch.

  21. Wow, got to get myself one of those monitors. I use a laptop all the time and plug in a tiny (in comparison) 19″ LCD with wireless keyboard.

    I didn’t know Mac’s have virtual desktops. I use Ubuntu and have five desktops which I switch between all the time just to free up real estate. Couldn’t live without them. Single desktops are just sooo unproductive.

  22. That’s nice station John! ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. Hip Hop says:

    Your system looks great. Dell is the best ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Germz says:

    I want to be just like you when I grow up lmao.

  25. Geiger says:

    No links to buy via the TTZ Network? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ John. I’m disappointed!

  26. Lyndon says:

    Sweet setup! Definitely gives me some ideas, when I get my new system.

  27. I only have a 20 inch” monitor for now. But I will think about getting a bigger one , working on 20 different firefox windows is definitely a challenge for all webmasters or bloggers. And I would prefer a macbook air , is way more light than the macbook pro. (I don`t travel as much as John Does). The question is how is that 30 inch monitor , isn`t it a bit too big? I bet it`s great ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. John, what a cool nice workstation you have! It is definitely more productive to have more screen real estate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. EyeSoft says:

    wow…you have a great Blogging Station ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  30. Mr. Javo says:

    Very nice, I have a very similar keyboard/mouse…

  31. Vary nice thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. Balend N says:

    If you want to keep all your files synced, sign up for Live Mesh. It keeps your files in sync on all devices installed and you can access them through a web interface. Right now its only for Windows, but it’s coming out on both Macs and Mobile Phones.

  33. DAILYMACHO! says:

    John, I know this is totally unrelated to this post but I was just wondering have you ever graduated from college? If not, what’s you opinion on school and academic education? Does anybody know?

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes I have a college education.

  34. Nice set up you’ve got there JC! You’re fist post inspired me to order a monitor for the laptop I’ve been using. I couldn’t justify the cost of the 30″ you’re rollin…but I did order a 22″ Dell Ultrasharp for $299 and shipping was free…I couldn’t pass it up.
    Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know you were a Mac user.

  35. Thats just my dream PC..!! โ—

  36. Jeffrey says:

    Nice blogging Station Setup!!!
    Wishing to have this someday!

  37. Eric D says:

    Very nice setup. As I get older I think a larger monitor would be good for me. I am just in age denial at the current time. I have my standard HP pc that I use for all my web, graphic and blog work. I have a laptop beside me that I use to check what I am doing. I always view my webwork in both FF and MS and recently have been looking at my sites on my Motorola Q phone. I am starting to develop seperate parts of my sites just for smart phones….. whole different set of design rules there. HHHMMMMM maybe that is a topic for future postings at NoviceSEO. Anyway thanks for the insight on what the “master” uses……………..cheers………..eric

  38. Nice setup…their actually amazing..JC rocks! :mrgreen:

  39. That’s a long way from my Packard Bell 486×33 with the screaming 2400 baud fired up
    when I bought a 8 meg chip for 200 cash
    kicked it up to 14.4 and had the first copy of win 95
    I was KING;)

  40. Can’t afford to ger system like yours..
    But I hope to earn more money this months to replace some of my equipment..

  41. Dena says:

    That’s awesome. Hopefully one of these days I will be able to upgrade to a better system.

  42. Andy T says:

    I also think of using one system [notebook]. Instead of having desktop [online with firewall -prepared to lost by virus attack], notebook [site report], my mobile [email], and company accounting on another PC.
    Very nice setup for a blogger.

  43. Tom says:

    That is an old school iPod you got there :). You’ve inspired me to do a post on my “lab”.

  44. What are some of the specs of the machines? Do you like your current setup, or what would you ultimately want to have?

    1. John Chow says:

      The Macbook Pro has an Intel 2.4GHz dual core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 200GB hard drive, NVIDIA Geforce 8600 video card with 256MB of RAM, 15.4″ LED backlit screen, aluminum frame. At 5.4lbs, it’s the lightest 15″ notebook in the world. If they can put all this into a 13″ notebook, it would be perfect.

  45. Nice setup! When you make $30,000 on your blog per month, you can afford a system like this just to blog.

  46. jatt says:

    John! You should be thankful to GOD for the comfortness. I just posting my blog using my office desktop. It’s FOC. I had only an old pc on my own which i bought 4 years ago. It was pentium 4, 256RAM, ATI graphic,2.6 processors and a CRT 15″ monitor.

    I hope i can make money as much as you are now to buy a new one. Not just pc, but more needs. Wish me luck John!
    What’s up
    Awsome Photo Blog

  47. jatt says:

    nice place John.I wish i had one. Now i am posting my blog from office. I had one pc which i bought 4 years ago, and it was far beyond pitiful compared to yours.

  48. dani says:

    I’ve got the MacBook Pro too. I love it.

  49. That setup looks insane, but great at the same time.

    How come the video doesn’t work anymore?

  50. Can anyone recommend a good home theater set up or system? My old Panasonic system has finally died. I don’t need a tv – just the speakers and sound. I’ve been looking at the BOSE 3-2-1 system with some interest…any suggestions????

    1. Tom Sawyer says:

      This comment isn’t really relevant to this site, but I would stay away from Bose. I think Bose is heavy on style and light on sound. Also, you should consider if size is an issue for you. There are sooo many good speakers out there and the lesser known brands might actually be the better sounding speakers. If you live in a city with a home stereo store, go in and pick their brains. You never know what you might find out.

    2. Tom Sawyer says:

      Oh, if you are also talking about a receiver, I would suggest Denon. I personally have Onkyo, but that is because it is hard to justify replacing a receiver that is only one year old and working perfectly. Do you want to know a key component to your home theater? Buy the Logitech Harmony One remote. It works great and now I only have to worry about what I want to do – play Xbox, watch DVD, etc. – instead of making sure every component is setup right.

  51. haha wow i love your setup its something im going to have to save up for!

  52. Very cool – thanks Tom. I’ve decided to go with IN WALL speakers too and am looking at the NXG speaker line. Apparently they are pretty good. What do you think about Pioneer receivers?

    1. Tom Sawyer says:

      Brooks, hold on! Make sure you put some baffles or whatever you call them behind those in-wall speakers unless they are on an exterior wall. I have in-wall speakers in my house and if this was a long-term residence, I would change some things up. The family room wall just so happens to be the master bedroom wall on the other side. With just the speakers in the wall, sound can be heard in the bedroom when the system is turned up.
      It is funny, I like Pioneer for car stereos and don’t mess with them in the house. Sony is opposite, but the same. I would think Pioneer makes some decent stuff though. If budget allows, I would go with Denon, then Onkyo and finally Sony. I think Sony may offer the most HDMI inputs for the money right now.

  53. kk says:

    Sir ! your blogworkstation is good ,and i think before seeing this post u will post through laptop when u r in/on? tours but now iwas wrong,actually i like dell laptop bcz i have seen it first @ my professors blessing(teaching) hands and many also told dell gives best fit to the price we invested .

    ‘mobile secret codes in india’

  54. Eric Pena says:

    Hi, nice setup you have especially with the huge monitor.

    I also have a MBP 15″ connected to a 19″ LCD monitor. However, what I like most is my PC that I turned into a Hackintosh. It dual boots Vista and Leopard 10.5.3. So I can easily run something on Windows or OS X without activating Parallels on my MBP and eat a lot of precious resources. Check my blog if you need to create your own Hackintosh–easily! :mrgreen:

  55. Forumistan says:

    You are lucky. And your system is great…

  56. Man you are so lucky your office looks great cant wait till i own my office one day too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  57. Austin says:

    My mom thought the 20 inch CRT I got was big as far as screen area. I wish I could have a nice thin and bigger monitor like this.
    4000 is over my budged though, care to donate? ha ha

  58. So… pretty… must…. have! :drools:

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