My Setup ala UsesThis.com

What’s this all about?

I’m a big fan of The Setup on UsesThis.com and while I’m not famous enough to warrant my own article on there, I thought I’d actually like to document my own current setup/tools/etc so in the future I can compare how things have changed. I wrote an original version of this article on my blog in 2014, but have updated it for publishing on Medium.

What hardware do you use?

My only sole machine is a Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" with Touch Bar. It has a 2.9GHz Intel i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB ultra-fast PCIe SSD. It replaced a Mid 2013 MacBook Air. I loved that machine, my previous one was an old heavy 15" MacBook Pro and when I switched to the Air found it to be just as good in daily use (as a Rails developer) but loads lighter to carry around and a crazy long battery life. When Apple announced the new 2016 MacBook Pro that was almost the same weight, slightly smaller and more powerful, it took seconds to know that I need it in my life.

It’s currently running macOS Sierra, but will be upgraded to High Sierra on the day of its release. It’s generally used either on its own (on my lap with it’s phenomenal 12–16 hour battery life) or plugged in to an Apple Keyboard, with a wireless Apple Magic Trackpad and an LG 27UD58 27" 4K Monitor.

Always in my laptop bag with it are a pair of Bose QC35 over the ear bluetooth headphones with noise reduction, a Samsung T3 500GB bus-powered USB hard drive and various VGA/DVI/HDMI/USB-C dongles. #donglelife #smh

And what software?

I’ve been a Ruby on Rails developer for about a decade, and although I’ve recently dabbled with Go, it remains my goto choice of development environment for web-work. I spend most of my day using Safari (after using Chrome for about 2 years, but being fed up with it being a battery hog) and Sublime Text 3. I used Atom from early 2014 to the middle of 2017, but after a few days of working with multiple projects open simultaneously (e.g. a website, an API and an external acceptance test setup) Atom was starting to kill me with memory usage and CPU. I switched back to Sublime Text 3 having promised myself to spending a few hours seeing how well I could get it setup and haven’t looked back since (even paying the $30 upgrade fee for the licence when 3.0 was released this week).

My favourite plugins are A File Icon, AdvancedNewFile, ApplySyntax, Better Spec, Case Conversion, Close Other Windows, GitGutter, MarkdownEditing, Package Control, Ruby Hash Converter, Ruby on Rails snippets, SCSS and Toggle RSpec Focus .

Most of my sites are built in Ruby on Rails and hosted either on Dokku or Flynn. Loving using a PAAS for personal stuff but without paying for Heroku. I work for a company that does cloud hosting (Absolute Devops Ltd, the developers of Civo.com), so I have access to servers for hosting anyway and without blowing our own trumpet, they are AWESOME and QUICK!

I used Gmail for ages for all emails, but switched about two years ago to using RackSpace’s Cloud email. I use Spark on the Mac and my iPhone, but I tend to regularly switch mail clients.

Another app I can’t live without is Evernote. Again, I use this on the Mac and my 128GB iPhone 7 and 3rd Generation iPad. I currently have 3903 notes spread across 50 notebooks. I don’t use tagging that much (“Unread” for pages I’ve Webclipped but haven’t read is about the main use).

For image editing I switched from Photoshop to Pixelmator in 2014 and haven’t looked back. However, for prototyping and web designing (as bad as I am) I now use Sketch which is an absolute dream!