Tools of the trade

Assaf passed the ball1, and I’m gonna run with it. So Mr Cooper asks “What are your tools of the trade?”.

On the desk

The desk.

iMac 24", 3.06 GHz C2D, 4GB RAM, early 2009 model. His name is Rupert, and he’s great. Got him in February after my previous iMac" broke down after running ~3 years straight.

Dell 2005FPW. Really nice and affordable monitor. Tilted by 90°, because I can.

iPod touch 16GB. I don’t leave home without it.

JBL On Stage. It was a parting gift I got from my co-workers a few years back, and I really like it. I mostly use it for the iPod dock these days, but I’ve packed it a few times to serve as a portable sound system while on the road.

MS Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. One of the best ergo keyboards on the market, hands down. Oh, and yes: that’s a wire. I think a wireless desktop keyboard is an useless concept — it’s sitting on your desk, about half a meter away from your computer, it’s rarely moved (if ever). This is a very common scenario, and in my book it’s stupid to waste energy (batteries etc.) for powering a wireless connection to bridge a distance that short.

Logitech MX510. Good, affordable, reliable mouse. Also cable-bound, see above. Sitting on a tw@ mousepad.

Sennheiser headset. Full sound, the mike is a bit quiet, not the USB version.

CanoScan LiDE 200. No-frills flatbed scanner.

iWork ‘06 Install DVD. Used as coaster.

Belkin n52. Funky little left-hand keyboard/peripheral, mostly for gaming, but I’ve heard of people using it for serious work like 3D stuff. Might be a myth, tho.

Belkin 7port USB hub. It’s not bad. Has some troubles with my external soundcard, tho.

Not pictured:

  • 13" black MacBook, 2GB. Also running Snopard, and kept lean. Used for working remotely.
  • Western Digital MyBook Pro, 500 GB, Firewire. For backups.
  • Creative Xmod. Keeps me from having to plug my headphones in and out all the time. If there was a software solution which would let me switch sound output between the built-in speakers and the headphone jack, I wouldn’t need this.

In the dock, in my mind

I ride the Snopard, naturally.

Textmate, of course. What else?!

Tweetie. I like it for keeping track of my various Twitter accounts. Both on the Macs and the iPod.

Terminal. I prefer it over pretty much every other shell app so far.

My homedir repo. This is one of the first things I install on each of my local & remote boxes. All command-line-related stuff goes in there, the very same repo is used for each machine, and it’s just crazy handy. Tip of the head to Norm for the initial one and Brad for a suitable version to fork from. :)

Mailplane. The ability to keep an eye on several Google Mail accounts at once is nice.

Launchbar. Awesome. Besides app launching I mostly use it for its clipboard history and calculator.

VMWare Fusion for all my virtualization needs. Got a cheap license a few months ago and never looked back.

Dropbox. On all of my machines. Lovely, lovely piece of software.

OmniFocus for all my todo needs, on all my machines, including the iPod.

I’m currently giving BusySync a spin. After trying to coerce Snopard’s native Google Calendar conduit into a) synching two 2 machines and b) not sucking for a few hours I’ve decided my time is too valuable to keep trying, and went with BusySync. Which is really nice and painless so far. I’ll probably buy it once the trial is over.

Minuteur for Pomodoro-like 2-hour sprints. (The Pomodoro app is a bit too much for my taste. It’s not bad, but not for me.)

  1. Well, not so much “passed it” as “played with it, put it down and went back to work, but I liked it and picked it up a while later”. I just want to be a part of the moment… any moment would do, really. ↩︎

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Carlo Zottmann @czottmann