I just received an email from my chum Duane Benson at Screaming Circuits. These are the folks who specialize in building your short-run, one-off, and prototype PCB assemblies, with rapid turn times and instant online quoting and ordering.

It seems that the guys and gals at Screaming Circuits are planning on creating a 2020 wall calendar featuring pictures of engineers’ desktops. “Isn’t it too late for this?” I hear you ask. Well, happily not, because — as I just read in the 2020 Calendar Blog — “According to INSIAT-602D-31 (International Normal Standard Institute of Acceptable Things), the new year does not always start on January first.” I think we can all agree that it’s hard to argue with the boys and girls at INSIAT.

Anyone who submits a picture of his or her desktop will get a free Screaming Circuits scarf and a free copy of the calendar when it comes out (this includes shipping and handling — everything is totally free). Furthermore, when the calendar does hit the streets, anyone who asks can have one for free (including shipping and handling) while supplies last.

As an aside, I think the chaps and chappesses at Screaming Circuits are wise to go with pictures of Engineers’ Desktops rather than the engineers themselves. Speaking for myself, I fear I would fare badly when compared to the guys who appear in the Australian Firefighters Calendar, for example.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that “Eagles may soar, but weasels rarely get sucked into jet engines,” words that are as true today as when they were first intoned deep in the mists of time. Well, I just ran across the “weasel words” at the bottom of the aforementioned blog, which read as follows, “Screaming Circuits is not responsible for any injury, loss of time, or death caused by you standing on your rolling chair to get the best picture of your desk.”

My entry for the 2020 Screaming Circuits calendar (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Max Maxfield)

I wish I’d seen this before I dragged a rolling chair from the conference room and spent an exciting few minutes balancing precariously on it whilst trying to capture my entry.

On the off chance that you were wondering, on the left of this image we see my “Useless Documents to Provide the Appearance of Importance in Meetings” folder. In front of this on the table is my iFixit toolkit. Sitting on the tower behind my left-hand monitor is “The Bird.” I no longer remember where this came from — it arrived in my office one day wearing its backwards facing FBI baseball cap and it never left. (Between you and me, I don’t think it really needs the glasses — it just wears them because it wants to look like me.)

The box containing my USB Pet Rock (sitting under the bottom left-hand corner of the left-hand monitor) came from ThinkGeek. Mine is a little shy and prefers to stay in its box, but some folks allow their pet rocks to roam wild and free. This makes an ideal companion for a busy engineer — it never needs feeding, it’s compatible with any computer/operating system that has a USB port, and it draws zero power. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can play all sort of games with it, like “who will blink first” or “who can exist the longest.”

In addition to my three 28″ monitors, which form one large, virtual desktop, I have my AZIO Retro Keyboard. In reality, since I’m a graduate of the “hunt-and-peck” school of typing, almost any old keyboard would do, but the black-and-chrome look-and-feel of this typewriter-inspired retro mechanical beauty makes me happy, and what could be more important than that?


In front of the keyboard are the Arduinos, breadboards, and Workbench board I used to create the three most recent blogs on our Cool Beans Blog YouTube Channel (see also Hurray for the Cool Beans Blog YouTube Channel!).

In front of the right-hand monitor we see the cast iron Japanese teapot my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. This little beauty is sitting on top of a cast iron tea light candle holder, which is used to keep things warm. To the right of the teapot are containers of loose-leaf tea; in front of the teapot is one of my four cast iron sipping cups.

Last but not least, although they are hard to see, under every desk are plastic containers jam-packed with cables, development boards, components, and myriad bits and pieces. Sad to relate, I never created a list of what’s in which box, which means I spend an inordinate amount of time rooting through boxes looking for things. (It doesn’t matter what algorithm I use or how I shuffle the boxes — whatever I’m looking for is always in the last box.)

According to the 2020 Calendar Blog, which contains all the details you need to enter, the selected few will be the envy of all their engineer friends. So, can you be tempted to offer your own photo for consideration for the 2020 Screaming Circuits Wall Calendar?