What I Use

Last updated: November 2022

Inspired by Owen Williams from Charged, I've gathered some info here about the hardware, software and other stuff that I use.

[photo here]

Computers

Desktop PC

I built my first PC when I was about 13. Ten years later, I still have that same PC. Well, except that every component has been replaced one by one.

I don't use this PC much anymore, just for occasional gaming. Most of my development work is done either on my work MacBook Pro or my personal MacBook Air.

Laptop

I used to use an original (2015) 13" Retina MacBook Pro. In 2021 I switched to an M1 MacBook Air and I'm very pleased with it. After reading about some issues with the lower spec'ed M1 Macs, I took 16GB of RAM and I haven't yet had any problems with memory pressure.

Monitors

I have two 27" Dell S2721D (1440p) monitors that are hooked up to both my PC and my work Mac. I'm looking to reorganise my office so that I can have separate screens for my PC and my Mac. I really like the higher pixel density on the 27" monitors, so I will probably get two more of them at some point in the future.

Smartphone

I have an iPhone 12 (32GB) and I love it. In particular the camera is fantastic.

Smartwatch

I have a 44mm Apple Watch series 4. I wear it every day and my favourite feature is notifications. I almost never get notifications on my phone anymore -- they're all on my wrist instead.


Software / Tech

Hosting

In the past I co-founded a web hosting company. The business was sold in 2014 and I currently use Digital Ocean to host my websites/apps.

At work we use AWS exclusively, but I've also used Azure and GCP in the past. They all seem pretty similar 🤷‍♂️

Email

For over 10 years I used the free tier of G-Suite for email hosting. When they killed it, I switched to Zoho Mail and I'm pretty happy with it.

IDE

Currently my IDE of choice is VS Code, but I also use Sublime Text for quick text editing. I find Sublime nicer to use for quickly editing single files (eg. config files) compared to VS Code.

Version Control

Git, of course!

Terminal & Shell

I use the standard macOS terminal app, with zsh. I've customised it a bit, so I'm using starship for the prompt.

Writing

I use Notion for note taking and writing. I also like to use Google Docs because it has a nice edit mode.


Audio

Headphones

I usually use a pair of AirPods Pro with my Mac, but I use a set of Sony MDR-7506 studio headphones with my PC.


Home

Internet

We live in an Apartment in the middle of a large city, so we can easily get fiber internet. The fiber connection terminates inside our apartment and there is a short cat6 run to the router. We pay for 300Mbps and we usually get that speed or faster. We could get up to 1Gbps, but based on our usage I don't currently see any need for it.

I run a Raspberry Pi 4B as a PiHole for DNS-level ad blocking on our network. It mostly works well, but some devices don't like using the Pi as the DNS server, despite it being set in the router.

TV

We have a 70" Samsung 4K TV that used to be internet connected until we also got an Apple TV 4K. I have heard a lot of horror stories about adverts appearing in the Samsung TV UI, so I am very happy that we use the Apple TV for everything. I pretty much never use the Samsung TV remote anymore.

I have an Xbox One, but it doesn't see much use these days. Mostly its nice to play co-op games on the TV.

I run another Raspberry Pi 4B (8GB) as a Plex server. The SD card is small and there seems to be a fairly high level of risk of the SD being corrupted (it has happened once already), so I have a 4TB external HDD that I use for media storage. Before the Pi, I had a dedicated computer running Ubuntu that I used for Plex but it was loud and power-hungry. I haven't had the Plex Pi very long so I'm interested to see how well it works longer-term, but so far I haven't had any issues with it.

Smart Home

As Apple users, we use Apple Home for our smart-home needs. I am skeptical and cautious of the concept of a smart home ("the internet of things is the internet of unpatched unmanaged devices") but we started out with a Zigbee door sensor so that we could be notified if anyone opened our apartment door while we were away.

I particuarly didn't want to use Wi-Fi enabled smart home devices, so I went for Zigbee instead. I'm really happy with how it works, but I did have to set up a Zigbee controller using HomeBridge and Zigbee2mqtt to get it working.

Since then we've added some security cameras (for keeping an eye on our cats while we're out), some zigbee thermostats and a zigbee socket/plug. I was also able to connect our air conditioning unit to the Home app so that we can toggle it remotely (before we had to use an IR remote control).


Transport

Car

Drone


Cats

We have two very fluffy Ragdoll cats - Bezuś and Hazel.