The Setup of 2013

I’m a big fan of The Setup. It’s “a collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.” So in the spirit of it, I’ve decided to do my own. And plan on doing one each year to keep track of how my ‘setup’ changes. Here we go…

What hardware do you use?

Me and my 15-inch Retina Macbook Pro (mid 2012, 2.6GHz Intel i7, 16GB RAM) shuttle between my University dorm and parents house.

At my desk at the dorm is an Apple Thunderbolt Display, Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2, Logitech G500 mouse, Schiit Magni Amp and Modi DAC, Beyerdynamic T90 headphones and a Herman Miller Aeron chair.

At home there’s a Apple Thunderbolt Display, Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2, Apple Magic Mouse, Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones, Synology DS411j NAS and a hand-me-down office chair. I also have a PS3 (slim model) and Apple TV (2nd generation).

There’s an iPhone 5 in my right pocket. Some keys in my left. A Field Notes notebook (pitch black edition) and Fisher pen in the cargo pocket. And a Chrome Soyuz bag on my back.

For photography I use a Fujifilm X100S, Leica M4-P, Bronica SQ-A and a Sony A100.

And what software?

Usually occupying my monitor

Safari for web browsing. Twitterrific for Twitter, and Wedge for LimeChat for IRC. And either Rdio or Cog for music, or VLC for TV/Movie.


nvALT, because .txt’s are my life. Soulver for when I can’t be bothered to go to Wolfram|Alpha. Byword for writing. OmniFocus for tasks. NetNewsWire (version 3) for RSS. Chocolat for various text based stuff. Messages for iMessage. MailMate for email. MarsEdit for blogging. ReadKit for Instapaper. Transmit for FTP. StockTouch for the stock market. Beamer for streaming to the Apple TV.


Acorn and Preview for quick image editing, and Lightroom for the more extensive. Final Cut Pro for video editing. PDFpen mostly for OCRing. Pages for when I need to print my words. Steam for gaming. YNAB for finance management.

Background and utilities

Dropbox, Backblaze and Arq for backups. 1Password for password management. Alfred for quickly launching or finding stuff. Caffeine for keeping my Mac awake. DaisyDisk for hard drive space management. Divvy for window management. Email Backup Pro does what it says on the tin. Bartender for organising the taskbar. Fantastical for adding to my calendar. f.lux for the sake of my eyes. FruitJuice for keeping my battery healthy. iStat Menus for spying on my computer. Hazel for automatically moving and renaming files. KeyRemap4MacBook for making my keyboard more Mac friendly. TextExpander for simplifying the commonly typed stuff. Time Out to remind me to get up and out of my seat every now and again. TotalFinder mostly for putting folders above files in Finder. WhatPulse for key and mouse click tracking. Yoink for making drag and drop easier. Mountain for quickly ejecting external hard drives.


Notesy for .txt. PodWrangler for podcasts. Wolfram|Alpha for answers. Today for weather. Dark Sky for upcoming rain. OmniFocus for tasks. Rdio for music. Citymapper for London. Fitted Lifts for gym.

2013 In Review

This was the year where I realised it was important to not store files needed long term in third party software. So I disposed of Evernote, Day One, iPhoto, and iTunes and embraced the file system and Finder. I used simple folder structures for my documents, photos and music and let Hazel do most of the work. I also replaced journaling app Day One with a new .txt file each day.

What would be your dream setup?

I’m not smart enough to know my dream setup in 10+ years.

But in the shorter term, I want my hardware to be faster, harder to break, more reliable, and have longer battery life.