Office Upgrade

Having worked from home for over a year, it’s probably no surprise that my office has evolved from the early days of the pandemic. I no longer find myself spending countless hours hunched over my computer at the kitchen table wondering why everything aches.

The evolution has involved converting the guest bedroom into a proper office, complete with new flooring and a fresh paint job. My old couch has been moved into the office so I have a comfortable place to read or write or even nap. I purchased a proper desk/table, added two mounted curved Samsung monitors, and decided I was in need of a shiny new MacBook Pro. And with the delivery of a borrowed office chair from campus, everything is pretty much exactly how I want it.

The most recent update, however, has allowed me to eliminate some makeshift shelves that I had set up behind my desk. Technically what I had was a long wooden board sitting on top of two old stools, covered in old books, a lamp, various office supplies, a plant, and a large framed map of the world. It was functional, but meant that one corner of my office was packed with stuff.

After having the wall behind my desk painted a vibrant green (called green pear from Dulux paints), I decided I needed proper shelving. I toyed with the idea of floor to ceiling shelves, but opted against that because the time it would take to install and the associated costs were both more than I wanted to invest. So I turned to Ikea for a quick and easy solution, and found it in the Eket box shelf in white.

Of course, having selected the type of shelf I wanted to use was only the first step. I had to determine how I wanted them installed. I mulled over a few ideas before I settled on a design that reflects my love of math and the fact that I’m part of the School of Computer Science. The design is below. Can you figure out what it is?

The pattern of Ikea Eket shelves on the office wall.

Imagine that 12 shelves are placed on a 4 by 8 grid that has been superimposed on the wall. Obviously not all cells in the grid contain a shelf. Next, imagine that each column of shelves represents a single (base 10) digit, spelled out in binary. A shelf represents a 1, and the lack of a shelf represents a 0. For example, the first column (reading from the top row to the bottom row) would be 0011, the second column would be 0001, the third column would be 0100, and so on. Converting these from binary to base 10, then, would result in the first 8 digits of pi (0011 = 3, 0001 = 1, 0100 = 4, …).

Yes, the placement of the shelves in my home office was designed to spell out the first 8 digits of pi in binary. My office has reached an entirely new level of nerdy. You have no idea how much joy this brings me.

While I haven’t finished organizing the shelves as of yet, here are a few pics of the process and the almost end result.

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