The Setup of 2016


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. You can see my 2013 and 2014 one too.

What hardware do you use?

My main computer is a 15-inch Retina Macbook Pro (mid 2012, 2.6GHz Intel i7, 16GB RAM). It’s often hooked up on my desk to dual Apple Thunderbolt Displays, a Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard, Logitech M570 trackball, and either some old Bose computer speakers or my Beyerdynamic T90 headphones.

I also have an iPad Pro (12.9 inch) which I’ve been using more and more this year as it’s light, helps me focus, and alleviates some hand pain I’ve developed.

Other computers include a Mac mini (late 2014, 2.6GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD) being used as a home server. A Synology DS1815+ NAS with 22TB in RAID 6 for general file storage and backups, 3TB for home surveillance cameras, and 1TB as a Time Machine backup of my Macbook. I also have a gaming PC with an Intel Core i5 4690K and ASUS Strix GTX 970 which is paired with a BenQ XL2430T monitor, HHKB keyboard, and a Logitech G500s mouse.

There’s an iPhone 6 in my right pocket, some keys in my left, and a Chrome Soyuz [cached link] 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 and TodoTxtMac for todos . I also usually have a Safari window open on my second monitor with my Plex library open, listening to music, or maybe watching some TV.

Daily

nvALT for frequently needed .txt’s. Bear for other important notes. Evernote for all sorts of stuff. Soulver for when I can’t be bothered to go to Wolfram|Alpha. Byword for writing. Chocolat for various text based stuff. MailMate for email. Transmit for FTP.

Occasionally

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, Google Drive , 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. Yoink for making drag and drop easier.

iPhone

Twitterrific for Twitter. Overcast for podcasts. Newsblur for RSS. Terminology for looking up word definitions. Eidetic for memorising new information. Plex for accessing my home media files. Weather Line for general weather. Dark Sky for rain. Bear for notes. FastEver [iTunes link] for quickly taking short notes. Simplenote for .txt. Evernote for all sorts. FastMail for email. Citymapper for getting around London. Fantastical for my calendar. SwiftoDo for todos. Wolfram|Alpha for answers. VSCO Cam for image editing. RunKeeper for seeing how far I walk. 1Password for password security. Pocket for reading saved web articles. Pinner for Pinboard. Dropbox for accessing documents anywhere. Live Football on TV for well, you know. WhoScored [iTunes link] for checking live football scores. IMDb for when I wanna know the name of that guy in that film. Amazon for mobile purchases. Pushover for notifications of weather alerts. ScannerPro for scanning.

2016 In Review

I skipped posting about my setup in 2015 because not much changed from the previous year. And to be honest not a wealth of stuff (especially on the software side) has changed this year either. I’m a man frozen in time, quite happily using a four year old Mac alongside the same software I’ve been using for equally long. I’m content with my tools.

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.