Inspired by The Setup, here’s the hardware and software I use to get things done:
What hardware do you use?
I carry around a work issue ThinkPad Carbon X1 in my Tom Bihn Smart Alec. I interface with the ThinkPad via a Logitech T650 Touchpad and K810 Bluetooth Keyboard. The K810’s distinguishing trait (other than being an almost perfect physical clone of an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard) is that it can connect to three different bluetooth devices simultaneously. This is awesome. I have it paired with the laptop, iPad (Retina Mini with LTE), and phone (iPhone 6). Quickly switching between devices allows me to streamline my workflow contextually by device capabilities.
At home, I use an aging but still very capable 2011 vintage 15 inch MacBook Pro attached to gloriously large Dell U2711. I’ve been itching to upgrade to a Retina MacBook Pro but can’t justify wasting the gorgeous screen as a secondary monitor for the 27 incher. Plus, the recently added 500gb SSD has really brought new life into the machine. An absurdly powerful Windows box (4790K, 16 gigs of RAM, large SSD) is available for heavy lifting but mostly games. I started to get a bit of RSI pain a few years ago so I try to vary input devices and seating positions. This results in the following desk layout (left to right): Magic Trackpad, Ergodox (extremely cool but probably overkill) keyboard, and Logitech G500 mouse. These sit on an massive Corsair MM200 mouse pad on top of a height adjustable GeekDesk V1. This is perhaps the nerdiest looking desk you’ve ever seen.
And what software?
I try to keep my Mac and Windows setups as close as possible with the following software playing important roles:
- Terminal Emulator: iTerm2 (mac), mintty (windows/cygwin)
- I use Cygwin to provide a large subset of *nix functionality on Windows
- Text Editor:
- Almost all plain text is in Markdown
- Browser: Chrome
- Application Launcher: Alfred (mac), Launchy (windows)
- Password Manager: 1Password
- Dropbox syncs configuration and data across the machines
- Fixed width text is viewed in Inconsolata-dz or ProFont
I map Caps Lock to Control on all of my machines but am seriously reconsidering this as muscle memory completely throws me off on other people’s machines.
I’m big into GTD and use OmniFocus as my task tracker. I typically work my project at hand via Project view in OmniFocus on the iPad. Day to day and time limited tasks are tracked in Forecast view on the iPhone. Reviews and task list maintenance happen in OmniFocus 2 on the Mac.
- Visual Studio 2012 or 2013 with VsVim
- Notepad2 when a GUI is necessary
- AstroGrep has proven to be a capable replacement when cygwin’s
grepcan’t handle Windows oddities
- Xcode with XVim
- I used to have a
vimbased iOS development workflow using a myriad
vimplugins and command line tools but that went out the window a few releases of Xcode ago
- I used to have a
- Mail: I’m still clinging to Sparrow’s zombie corpse
- Timebar is my favorite timer. I wish I could find something similar for Windows.
What would be your dream setup?
I am fairly satisfied with my current hardware setup other than having to lug around so many different laptops. A single portable machine that is powerful enough to virtualize my current hardware requirements would be nice but isn’t necessary. If far-future sci-fi stuff is on the table, I’d go for a BrainPal.
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