Uses

This page is an overview of the software, hardware and tools I use day to day. I’m always intrigued by the processes and tools that others use, so, I’m writing up my own to encourage others to do the same! Most of the stuff listed has an Amazon link so if you do purchase I’ll get a few pennies!

Computing Hardware

For the ‘day job’ I use a 27″ 5K iMac or a MacBook Pro 16 when #WFH.

I use a 2017 27″ iMac at home for personal projects. I don’t think there is a better value proposition than the 27″ iMac. 5K screen, great performance, superb OS, speakers, webcam etc all built in. Beautiful.

Peripherals

I have a few mechanical keyboards. I have 3 WASD Code keyboards with different switches — tactile/brown are my current favourite. I also have a couple of ergonomic boards but as I’m lucky enough to not suffer any RSI or related issues, find myself gravitating towards standard layouts. More recently I built myself a KBD67MKII with Zilent V2 switches. I have a RAMA M65-B on the way which is a ridiculous indulgence.

Logitech MX Master mouse. I use the mouse less and less but this is as close to perfect as I think a mouse gets. I have a 2s version at work and a version 3 at home.

Sony XM3 headphones — the noise cancelling is worth every penny. The Sony XM3s developed a common manufacturing problem. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone anymore. Plus they don’t allow easy switching between input sources. More about that in the linked review. For now I have picked up an inexpensive pair from Amazon made by ‘Botune’ that also have noise cancelling but only about 15% of the XM3 price.

Occasionally for Skype and the like I’ll use a Plantronics C520M headset

A Brother HL3170 CDW laser printer. What a revelation owning a laser printer has been. I don’t print a lot, but fannying around with an inkjet is no longer something I concern myself with as ink spills, paper jams and dry ink are not a concern with a laser printer.

Text editor, fonts, OS and utility software

I change my text editor more often than you likely change your pants. Usually Sublime Text with LSP.

I tend to use the Nord theme. but I’m quite happy with the latest Sublime stock ‘Mariana’ theme. I’m also rather fond of Tokyo Lights which is part of the Enki theme.

For editing code I like the JetBrains Mono font but occasionally use Dank Mono.

Terminal wise, it’s iTerm2 for Mac.

For design, in the day job I use Sketch but it’s gone horribly bloated and slow. For personal projects I use Figma

On a Mac I do almost everything via Alfred; I swear by the clipboard memory feature.

Browser

I tend to code with my editor on the left, browser on the right. I want to use Safari all the time but the dev tools are awful. Plus it has so many shortcomings regarding web platform features.

Chrome is greedy with resources and I worry about Google’s appetite for tracking everything we all do (he writes with Google Analytics on this very site). So for Chromium based browsing and testing I favour Edge.

That leaves Firefox which is great but no platform has it as the default rendering engine so you are always having to check other browsers anyway. So, I suppose Edge/Chrome and Safari. Bah!

Social Media

I don’t have Facebook. I do have Twitter but would be fine if it disappeared tomorrow.

Video work

I use a Sony A6000 with a Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC lens. To get around batteries running out I use a Andoer USB Dummy battery which connects direct to USB. The A6000 is mounted on a desk clamp arm, and captures 4K via a ZasLuke Game Capture card into the Mac. I have a Samson CO3U USB microphone on a mic arm also mounted via a desk arm, and a Raleno LED light, also mounted via a desk arm. I wish I’d paid more and bought an LED light with a remote because it’s hard to reach and turn on!

I edit with Final Cut Pro directly from/to a 2TB external SSD drive I made with a separate enclosure and a Silicon Power PCIe M.2 NVMe 2TB SSD.

RSS and WordPress

I love RSS. I do that via Feedly and Reeder (Mac/iPhone). I like blogs. I especially like comments on blogs and die a little inside every time someone I respect ditches WordPress to install whatever this weeks hot static site generator is that doesn’t handle comments. I’m hoping Ghost does native comments at some point because I’m hopeless with PHP but for now I’m stuck on WordPress!

Desk and chair

The best investment I have made, kit wise, is the electronically adjustable standing desk/legs. I bought Flexispot height adjustable legs in an Amazon flash sale for about 260 GBP. Then added an inexpensive Bamboo top from IKEA for 50 GBP. I knew I was too lazy to work a manual adjustable desk and this has been great. I treated myself when I started writing the latest edition of one of my books in 2019 and it has more than paid for itself during #WFH.

I use the Autonomous ErgoChair 2. It’s excellent and fairly inexpensive considering the specifications.