It's been quite a while since I've done one of these. Like, most of a decade. So it's probably time for an update. This won't be exhaustive, on either the hardware or the software front; I tend to be a digital packrat, and I accumulate lots of single-purpose applications, or try things a few times and forget about them. But probably this is the most-used 80%.
The gold coffee cups mark things I'm still using from the last list.
I'm mostly on Macs these days. Readers with an exceedingly-long memory will remember when I walked away from Microsoft and Windows decades ago. Alas, I'm nearing the same point with Apple. The last few versions of MacOS have been pushing more and more towards the walled garden, and I strongly object to spending money on hardware and then being told what I can do with it. So I've probably bought my last Mac. Not sure where I'm going next - perhaps to more commodity Linux hardware, perhaps to Dell Linux machines. Or maybe I'll get really lucky and retire before I wear out the current crop of computers. I've easily spent mid-six-figures on hardware and software over the course of my decades in the business, so it could be time to just stop. Anyhow, here's what is taking up desktop space these days:
- My main personal desktop is an iMac (27-inch late 2013) with 16GB of RAM and about 10TB of storage. This is where I handle email, web browsing, music, movies, and random things (like composing blog pages).
- My work laptop is a MacBook Pro (13-inch 2017) with 16GB of RAM and about 7TB of storage. Only 250GB of that is the internal Flash drive though, which means free space is a constant battle.
- The secondary desktop is an iMac (21.5 inch 2014) with 8GB of RAM and 5TB of storage. These days it's usually running wtfutil to keep an eye on various things at work.
- My personal laptop is a MacBook Pro (13-inch 2016) with 8GB of RAM and 250GB of storage. I picked this one up retail in a hurry when I needed a machine to fly to San Francisco with so that I could have what was the absolute worst technical interview experience of my life. That was the year that I discovered how real age discrimination is in software development. Anyhow, I mostly use this one for email on the road, plus carting to the treadmill on occasion.
- Another iMac (20-inch 2008) with 2 GB of RAM and 320GB of storage is our print server.
- Yet another iMac (21.5 inch 2015) with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage is sitting behind me. Mostly it just runs Electric Sheep.
- A Mac Mini with 8GB of RAM. Occasionally used to poke around with SDR.
- A Lenovo 100S Chromebook, with GalliumOS installed, runs various ham radio software when I feel like being on the air (which isn't as often as it should be).
I also have an ever-changing assortment of peripherals that mostly don't need to be catalogued. For keyboards I'm partial to the Kinesis FreeStyle and most of the mice I use are Anker Vertical Mice in one flavor or another. There's also a beat-up iPad that I use for podcasts, and a couple of Kindles. (I read a lot.
This certainly isn't everything I use, but these things are in pretty heavy rotation.
Firefox - I live in the browser - and the browser I live in Firefox, and has been for a long time. I mostly run the bleeding-edge Nightly builds. I've also tweaked things pretty extensively with a set of addons to make things work the way I like. These days that includes:
- 1Password - Password management is a necessity. I think I've tried every competitor in this space, and 1Password is where I ended up. I do pay for their online service, but I also keep a local backup on an encrypted USB key in fire-safe storage.
- Bypass Paywalls - Your business model is not my problem.
- Decentraleyes - Prevent tracking via centralized content delivery.
- DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials - DuckDuckGo is also my default search engine.
- Export Tab URLs - Not a great solution for exporting a list of tabs to a human-readable format, but the best I've found.
- File Icon for GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket - Just a bit of eye candy
- Google Images Restored - Gets things back to the layout I'm used to. Not that I use Google Images much these days since DDG images works about as well.
- Link Cleaner - Gets rid of tracking crap when I click a link.
- Make Medium Readable Again - Gets rid of a lot of the monetization crap on Medium.
- Notes by Firefox - Notes in the sidebar seems like a good idea, but honestly my sidebar is almost always bookmarks and I forget to use this.
- Octolinker - A little bit of navigation help for GitHub.
- Octotree - Seriously useful GitHub browsing extension that shows the file tree in a slideover panel. I've paid for the Pro version.
- Open in (various things) - Useful to toss a page to another browser for compatibility checking.
- Panorama Tab Groups - Gives a one-screen overview of every tab you have open. I could not live without this. It's died twice now, but fortunately fresh forks have appeared.
- Persona Switcher - A tiny bit of theming fun.
- Privacy Badger - EFF's blocker for trackers.
- RailsPanel - Integrate Rails debugging with Firefox DevTools.
- TamperMonkey - I don't use a lot of userscripts, but this is what I use to manage them.
- uBlock Origin - Currently the best ad blocker. Like I said, your business model is not my problem.
- User-Agent Switcher - Occasionally useful.
- Web Developer - A set of tools that's been around forever and is still improving.
- WorldBrain's Memex - When it works this is a great way to track things I half-remember. It's been pretty flakey lately though.
- Alfred - My current application launcher of choice.
- Backblaze - I've only needed to restore files from a Backblaze backup twice. Those two times justify paying for it for years to come.
- Bear - This is where my daily log of work activities lives, because it handles Markdown and syncs everywhere quickly.
- Calibre - I just started using this to manage ebooks and documents on my Kindles. Not 100% sure it's a keeper yet.
- Capto - Gotta have something to easily take and edit screenshots. And by "easily" I do not mean Apple's built-is junk.
- Changes - Paying for a diff/merge application seems absurd, but I like the looks and functionality of this one. And no, I don't really need all the extra features in Beyond Compare.
- Charles - Great debugging proxy for the Web. When the FireBug network view doesn't give me enough details, Charles is where I turn to see what's actually going on between my computer and some cantankerous server.
- Clipy - Easy clipboard history.
- Core Shell - I'm sure if I were a real developer, remembering SSH commands would take care of all my remote login needs. I'm not, so it doesn't. This fills the gap.
- DaisyDisk - There are a bunch of disk space analyzers for OS X. This is the one I like, both for speed and for looks.
- Dash - This is the sort of thing that killed the computer book market, so I probably shouldn't like it as much as I do. But easy doc lookup (wired into Alfred) is great.
- Divvy - Easy window management.
- Docker Desktop - Docker on the Mac basically sucks. It's also unavoidable.
- EagleFiler - OS X has way too many applications for organizing heaps of miscellaneous information and documents. This is the one I use.
- Easy CSV Editor - Yes, it is worth paying $7 to edit CSVs, especially if your customers are stuck in the Neolithic period and that's the most modern format they can deal with.
- Evernote - This is my solution of choice for dumping pointers to things I want to remember, little code snippets, and even photos of the kids. Painless sync to multiple computers is a winning feature, and if they can carry out some of their more grandiose plans it'll get even better. I pay for the Premium level happily.
- Fantastical - I'd like to not be tied to MacOS for calendaring, but as long as I am, this makes the native Calendar app look like the pathetic pile of junk that it is.
- f.lux - The evidence on blue light and bedtime is looking pretty shakey these days, but I'm using this anyhow.
- Forklift - Dual pane file manager that seamlessly works with remote connections as well.
- Hazel - Automation utility that shines in cleaning up when I uninstall other things.
- HazeOver - I'm not a big fan of full-screen apps or stuff like Dark Room. But I also like to focus a bit. HazeOver just highlights the current window by slightly fading background windows, which works for me.
- HoudahSpot - Spotlight by itself is pretty awful. HoudahSpot raises searching on OS X to at least "tolerable."
- iStat Menus - Way too much system monitoring in the menu bar. I use it to give me an easy way to see when some CPU or RAM is runaway.
- iTerm2 - I use iTerm2 and zsh instead of the built-in terminal. It looks better and has more features I like. Tabs on the left is a winner.
- JollysFastVNC - Secure VNC client to control various things around my network. I was pleasantly impressed when I reinstalled this recently and discovered that a 20-year-old license was still good.
- Kaleidoscope - Diff/merge utility I use when I need heavy-duty features.
- Kanbanier - Client-side Kanban boards. I use this when planning projects that don't need to be shared.
- Keybase - They've had some missteps lately in spam and silly-coins, but I still rely on the cryptographically secure file sharing.
- KnockKnock - I use this to audit for persistently installed software. Actually all of Objective-See's security products are worth a look.
- Living Earth Desktop - I don't look at the screensaver often, but I use the dropdown of team timezones all the time.
- Mindnode - Mindmaps are "take it or leave it" for me, but my current company is heavily invested in the Mindnode format so that's what I use.
- Omnigraffle - Pricey but useful diagramming tool.
- OmniOutliner Pro - My brain often thinks in outlines. This makes them prettier.
- Passmaker - Super-simple password generator. Paw - I've got several API-testing tools installed. This is the one I use the most.
The last time I did this, SAAS was basically nonexistent in my workflow. Now it's everywhere. I'm still not big on SAAS for my own personal data, but we use a fair chunk at work. Right now we're a real small company, so "stable" and "easy to set up" are more important to us than cutting-edge features.
- Box - The word "frustration" comes to mind here, especially when trying to work with their sync technology. But I don't know any other cloud file-sharing service that works better.
- CircleCI - Not the cheapest continuous integration but it's the one I've been using for years and it serve my needs well.
- Dead Man's Snitch - The easiest way to know if a cron job didn't run.
- GitHub - Yeah they're Microsoft now and I'll likely move my personal projects off one of these days, but they're still a safe choice for source code hosting.
- Jira & Confluence - The tools everyone loves to hate. They work for what I need.
- PagerDuty - Another one that works for me, and I haven't felt like looking for alternatives.
- Pingdom - And yet another that I've been using for years.
- Scout - Sorta the scrappy underdog in APM. I like them.
- Sentry - There are lots of error monitoring solutions out there these days. This is the one we're using at the moment.
- Trello - My team was using Trello long before I joined, and I doubt they'll stop.
- PairNic - I've been using Pair as a registrar for roughly forever. They're not the cheapest by any means, but they give me good service and let me manage my DNS, and their tech support has been superbly responsive when I've needed them. Plus they don't waste my time trying to upsell me.
- RimuHosting - Linux servers with root access and the Rails stack preinstalled if you want it. $30-$50 per month depending on your needs. I've only got a few machines here at the moment, but I continue to be very happy with them. And their customer service is absolutely superb. I can't recommend them highly enough. I also use their 25 Mail St. service for e-mail hosting.
- Hatchbox - Easy-peasy Rails hosting
- Aerobatic - One of my favorite static site hosts.
- Netlify - My other favorite static site host.