I honestly don’t know why I find knowing what other people’s stack is like so interesting, but I do. Perhaps when I younger it gave me an idea of all of the new stuff that was out there to buy but for last six years contentment has been one of my main focuses and that has definitely influenced my technology and computer purchases. While I still have too many bits of technology in my office, the frequency in which I change things around has dropped a lot of the last few years. There are a few changes that I would like to make to my set up once I move into the camper but, without further adieu, here is what powers my work day to day:
13-inch Retina Macbook Pro
This is the obvious workhorse of my set up. When I first got the machine, the crisp screen was like a breath of fresh air for someone who stares at text all day while programming. I really felt like it reduced eye strain and that my eyes felt better at the end of the day.
When I first got the machine I was always on the move. I worked from coffee shops everyday or went back and forth from home and an office I had in downtown Springfield. These days I’m almost always working from my desk in my home office so I’m starting to think trading portability for power may not be worth it like it once was. I’m currently hooking the computer up to two 4K monitors (more on that in a bit) but they really cause my computer bog down. Not only that, I wasn’t aware until after purchasing the monitors that the model of Macbook Pro that I have cannot power 4K displays. Oops.
I’d love to upgrade to a desktop-class computer soon but that leads to a bigger, more convoluted discussion about where the Apple ecosystem is headed, the decline in the quality and stability of their OS, and the increasing tendency of Apple to limit what you can do with products that you buy form them. And then I’m paralyzed I find myself sticking with what I already have.
Two 27-Inch Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitors
The model number on these is
P2715Q11. As I mentioned above, my Macbook Pro is underpowered and cannot drive 4K resolutions to these monitors. However, the added screen real estate was such a boost to my productivity that I still end up working off of the monitors rather than the Retina screen of my Macbook almost all of the time.
The connection between the laptop and my monitors is frustratingly finiky at times. I’m not sure what the problem is or if I should be blaming Apple or Dell but sometimes the displays will become unresponsive and the only way I can get them to display anything at all is to is to yank the power cord out from the back of the monitor and plug it in again.
CODE 104-Ket Mechanical Keyboard
Last year I started experiencing some serious fatigue in my wrists and I realized that it was largely due to what is known was “bottoming out” by keyboard enthusiasts. So I decided to transition from Apple’s fussy wireless keyboard to a mechanical keyboard. I wanted something overly-simple—you can go completely overboard when it comes to keyboards—and my research lead me to the CODE line of keyboards from WASD.
I’ve been typing on this thing since May of 2015 and the joints in my hands and wrists feel so much better. In fact I almost never have any pain after typing all day anymore. The Cherry MX Clear switches are not loud and the large keys are simply pleasant to type on. I see what all of the fuss is about when it comes to mechanical keyboards now. Also I, being a sucker for nostalgia, love that clunky keys remind me of all of the computers I learned to program on.
Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse
I now that I have black, dual-display monitors and a glowing, clicky keyboard. Why not round out the ensemble with a gamer mouse? My wrists and hands hurt so bad at the beginning of last year that I was desparate to try anything. Apple’s Magic Mouse looks nice on a desk (or in lifestyle photos on Instagram) but it was obvious to me that the way my hand was resting on the thing was killing my wrists. After a month with a very cheap “Amazon Basics” mouse that I picked up to use with a Raspberry Pi, my wrists felt loads better and I knew that I could no longer use the Magic Mouse. However, the Amazon mouse that I was using was a peice of junk and much of OS X’s interface expects that you’re using something that can easily scroll sideways. I couldn’t just use any old mouse.
After a bit of research I found out that a lot of gaming mice have a scroll wheel for your thumb and that they can be configured to work well on OS X. So I bought a mouse that looks like it was designed by someone who likes to wear pink shirts, flip up their collars, and drive around in cars that make the ground below them glow while watching Vin Diesel movies on a display mounted on their dash. But the thing is wonderful. Its comfortable to use and it is responsive and accurate. I had the same sort of epiphany about mice as I did about mechanical keyboards, saying to myself: “so this is why gamers fuss so much about their mice”. Its really a pleasure to use.
For so long, I’ve just defaulted to whatever Apple offered and not even questioned what else was out there. Branching out from the Apple bubble has made me realize how much I was valuing form over function and that that was actually starting to impact me in physical ways. I feel like my mind has been opened up to question all of the ways in which I defaulted to Apple products just because that is what I do and because, in the past, things worked the way they were supposed to.
If you ever visited my now page then you might have seen a small point on there that reads somethings like “wean myself off of the Apple ecosystem”. I don’t like that I was choosing things out of habit that were impacting me negetively and I’m starting evaluate how I may be doing similar things in choosing some of their other hardware and software. More on this later.
Outside of technology, what other habitual choices am I making that are slowly wearing on me without me noticing it? More on this later too.