My setup and tools

I’m occasionally asked what tools I use so I’ve created this page to answer that question.

Note: just because I own an item doesn’t mean I recommend it. If I’ve missed anything or you have questions, feel free to get in touch.

The hardware I use

I use a MacBook Pro 15″ (2018) in stock configuration, connected to a Viewsonic 32” 4K monitor. A Twelve South StayGo USB-C hub deals with the MacBook Pro’s lack of ports. The laptop sits in clamshell mode on a Twelve South ParcSlope stand. I use a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse and a Logitech MX Keys keyboard.

When working remotely, I’ll use my laptop with a Rooster laptop stand, an Apple Magic Keyboard, and a Magic Mouse. I keep these input peripherals in an Adore June case and I’ll throw everything in my North Face Borealis backpack. Pro-tip: I keep my bag permanently packed – hence the need for an additional mouse/keyboard – so I can grab it and go at a moments notice.

I also use an iPad Pro 10.5” (2017). I protect it with a Smart Cover and a Pack & Smooch sleeve when travelling. I’ll pair the iPad to my Apple Keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. I use this cheap stand from Amazon when I want to do some long-form writing. I also own but rarely use the Apple Pencil.

My phone is a iPhone 11 Pro. And I couldn’t live without AirPods.

The software I use

As a web developer, I spend a lot of my day writing code. My code editor of choice is Visual Studio Code (using the Horizon theme and JetBrains Mono typeface). I use iTerm2 as a terminal replacement, Sequel Pro for managing MySQL databases, Transmit for FTP, and Laravel Valet for my local development environment.

For long-form writing, I use Ulysses (using the Blush theme and iA Writer Mono typeface). I use Bear for note taking, MindNode for mind mapping, and Google Documents/Sheets to run my business.

To edit photos, I use both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. For vector work, I use Affinity Designer and for wireframing I use Adobe XD. I have an active Sketch license, but rarely use it.

Alfred is the first app I install on any new Mac. Things 3 is my task manager of choice, while Trello handles client projects. 1Password keeps me secure, Slack keeps me connected, and Soulver helps me with numbers. My browser of choice is Google Chrome. I also use Setapp which includes a bunch of useful apps and utilities.

On iOS, a few notable apps include: Timery for time tracking, Waking Up for guided meditations, Overcast for podcasts, Weather Line for weather forecasts, Reeder for RSS, and Instapaper for reading articles.

Home office

I use a Bekant site/stand desk from Ikea with a Prism standing mat. I have a Markus office chair, also from Ikea.

I use an Amazon Echo for timers and music and when I want to get some work done, I’ll block out the outside world using my Bose QuietComfort 35 II’s.

I also use a Theme System Journal with a Uni-Ball Jetstream pen.

My desk setup
I know a lot of geeks who enjoy nerd memorabilia and trinkets, but I’m not one of them. The less stuff on my desk, the happier I am.

My dream setup

I’m happy with my current setup, but there’s always room for improvement.

The OCD side of me wants to replace my silver Magic Trackpad with a space grey version to fit in with my mouse and keyboard. The logical side of me knows this would be a monumental waste of money.

I really really hope Apple releases a beautiful monitor that doesn’t cost $6,000. My current monitor has a great display panel, but it doesn’t charge via USB-C and it’s a little ugly looking.

At some point, I’d like to replace my office chair with a Herman Miller. They’re super-duper expensive, though, so I’m not sure when/if I’ll actually end up getting one.

The next part of my setup due for replacement is my Amazon Echo. I’d like a speaker with better sound quality and I’m increasingly feeling uncomfortable with an always-listening device sat on my desk. I plan to replace it with a pair of Sonos One SL’s as soon as I find a good deal.