I have a pretty modest computer setup. I use a 2014 13" Retina MacBook Pro hooked up to an external Dell monitor. I've avoided upgrading to the recent versions, because I don't want a TouchBar or a bad keyboard.
I'm a big fan of the 2012-2015 MacBook Pro. Some say it's the best laptop ever made. It makes light work of most things I throw at it, and only ever really succumbs to the pressure of intense image processing, or running Xcode and Android Studio at the same time.
I use an Apple Magic Keyboard which I love. It took a while to get used to the lack of travel, but now that I have, I couldn't imagine going back to a more mechanical keyboard.
I'm less happy about my mouse situation. I use an Apple Magic Mouse 2. It's not really great in any sense, but I've struggled to find a replacement I'm happy with. I've heard great things about the Logitech MX Master but I'm yet to get my hands on one.
I have some upcoming plans for improving my house office. One of those is to create a more permanent space for working. I'd also like a bigger monitor and a standing desk.
This needs fleshing out a bit. I use Apple AirPods as my primary headphones, with a pair of Sennheiser Momentum's when I want to be absorbed into another dimension.
I stream Spotify to a Sonos Play:1 in my home office. I don't yet have any good speakers in my other rooms because I'm yet to convince myself I'm ready to go all-in on any particular brand.
I'm a big fan of Sketch for vector work. I use it to quickly prototype website and app ideas, or to draw icons, and it's used at Loco2 to support our Atomic design process. I also have a secret passion for illustration and Sketch provides the perfect playground.
Affinity Photo is my go-to for photo editing and simple image adjustments. I previously subscribed to the Adobe Photography plan (Lightroom + Photoshop) but it's a bit overkill for the little editing I do. Not to mention that Affinity Photo is great and I'm very happy to support alternatives to the Adobe suite.
I use iCloud Photo Library for syncing images across my devices.
Some time in mid 2017 I decided to give VSCode a shot. As a long time Vim user, I was skeptical about anything replacing arguably the most important item in my toolbox. However, VSCode impressed me from the start. With its hightly customisable UI and vast array of easily-adjustable packages, it fit in quite well with my workflow.
I haven't abandoned Vim altogether though. It's still better at lots of things. I treat VSCode like a fully-integrated project-based IDE and use Vim for everything else.
I use Apple notes for most of my note taking. Almost everything I write starts here, and may eventually move into a fully-formed word document in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
We use Google Docs at Loco2, and I've actually grown to enjoy collaborating in word documents and spreadsheets. It's just a shame Google Drive is so awful.
Since Google acquired and destroyed the best macOS email client ever, I've not found a suitable replacement. Instead, I stick to the FastMail and Gmail web clients. I use the Apple and Google mail apps on my mobile devices.
Safari on my MacBook and iPhone because it's fast and conveniently syncs all of my bookmarks and history.
I still use Google Chrome when I'm doing frontend development because the devtools are second to none. I've tried to move to Firefox a few times, but it never really clicked.
I wrote a bit about My Backup Strategy.
I use the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy with Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner hooked up to independant hard drives; a 500 GB WD My Passport that follows my laptop everywhere, and a 4TB WD My Book that sits at home and backs up over my home network.
Backblaze is used for offsite backups. Google Photos provides another backup of my photo library. It's also really nice for sharing albums – iCloud Photo is really not good at this.
Reminder: Cloud Sync is not Backup.
My Podcast list changes frequently, with new additions monthly and one or two occasional removals. There's a very strong tech focus amongst this list, and shamefully many of them just decant the same Apple news over and over. There's some diamonds in the rough, though.
I listen to all of these on the Overcast iPhone app.
- 99% Invisible
- Accidental Tech Podcast
- Do By Friday
- Ear Hustle
- Reconcilable Differences
- The Stalman Podcast
I tend to use mobile apps sparingly. I currently have 54 apps installed in total, and this includes many things necessary for work. There's also plenty I don't use.
Here's a list of my most-used apps: