My Setup

I'm always trying to find ways to improve my workstation. I love reading about and looking at other people's desks and workspaces, taking inspiration wherever I can. Hopefully this breakdown of my own helps others in the same way.

An Apple Studio Display flanked by Yamaha HS5 studio monitors; a desk mat with a Keychron K14 mechanical keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad sits in front.

Hardware

My "daily driver" computer is the Macbook Pro 14" (2021, M1 Max, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD). I've been a "Linux on the desktop" person for most of my life, but I was lured back to the Mac with the fantastic new hardware that came with the ARM transition.

Centre-stage is an Apple Studio Display (27", 5k). I used to be a multi-monitor person, but I found it often harmed my ability to focus; dropping down to one monitor has helped tame distractions. The 5K resolution is also a welcome respite from the pixelated PC monitors of yore.

For input, I use a Keychron K14 with Keychron Brown switches. This was the best compromise between wireless, macOS support, and typing comfort. The wood wrist rest in front of it was custom-made by a friend.

For pointing, I use an Apple Magic Trackpad 2. Whenever I have used Macs, I have loved using Apple's wireless trackpads, going back to the first one in 2010. I do also have an original Logitech MX Master which I keep around mostly for games.

For music listening, I have a pair of Yamaha HS5 monitors, powered by an Audient iD4 audio interface. I also have a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pros (the 250Ω variant) which plug into the same interface. Finally, I have a pair of Airpods Pro which I use for listening to stuff around or out of the house.

For meetings, screencasts, podcasts, or any other voice-related activity I have a Shure SM7B connected to the same Audient interface, albeit amplified by a Cloudlifter CL-1 to get a bit more gain headroom. It's shock-mounted to a generic Blue microphone arm.

Software

Probably the best resource for the details on my software setup is my dotfiles and the ansible playbooks that set up all my machines.

For getting work done, I switch between Microsoft Edge and Firefox for web-based things, neovim for text editing, kitty for terminal emulation, Docker for containing, Obsidian for note-taking, and Todoist for managing my life with lists. I use the standard Apple apps for Mail and Calendar.

I maintain my own music library which I host with with Plex, and access with Plexamp on macOS and Prism on iOS. The experience is better than any streaming service, I get to keep my obscure music, and can directly support artists by buying their albums.

Cloud infrastructure is generally on Microsoft Azure with some secondary stuff on Linode and OVH. Cloud resources are automated with Terraform, and non-Kubernetes servers are configured using Ansible playbooks.

For myself and my family I run or manage a few services, including Nextcloud for file syncing and storage, Fastmail for email and workgroups, Tailscale for a mesh VPN and secure traffic tunneling, and Azure AD for secure identity management and SSO.

Furniture

My desk is a near-death Ikea Bekant motorised sit/stand model. It barely survived moving across the country and is literally falling apart. It's still sturdy enough for now, and gets the job done.

For sitting, I have a "fully loaded" Herman Miller Mirra 2 chair. It is incredibly comfortable, perhaps too comfortable as I often forget to stand during the day.