My Setup

I always love reading about how other people use their computers and desks. Sites like UsesThis and Simple Desks (R.I.P.) have taken many hours of my life, and I have taken inspiration from them many times. This page will serve as a perpetually-updated reference for how I'm currently using my computer.

A left portrait monitor beside a landscape monitor in the centre, with a Macbook on a stand to the right; a small mechanical keyboard and trackpad in the foreground.

Hardware

My current “Daily Driver” computer is the Macbook Pro 13" (2020, Intel). It's the last model before the M1 switch, just to save first-generation headaches. Apple won me back after a few years of exclusive Linux on the Desktop™ with their recent return to making really solid hardware, as well as the exciting ARM-based future.

Primarily, I use 2x Dell U2415 24" 1200p Monitors, a Leopold FC660C keyboard with Topre Silent 45g switches and a custom-made wood wrist rest, and an Apple Magic Trackpad 2. All of the peripherals sit on a deskmat from Level1Techs with the patent diagrams for spinning hard drives printed on it. For looking good on video calls I have a Logitech C920 webcam.

For audio input, I use a Blue Yeti “Blackout Edition” microphone, shock-mounted to a Blue mic boom. For audio output, I have a Mayflower Electronics O2+ODAC driving a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro's (the 250Ω variant). The DT-770's are probably my favourite pair of headphones I have used to date.

Everything is plugged into a CalDigit TS3+ Thunderbolt Dock which allows me to live the "one cable" lifestyle, and it makes my laptop-only reality a pleasant experience.

Depending on my mood, the laptop itself is held in either a TwelveSouth BookArc Stand or on a "normal" laptop stand if I want more screen space.

I still have my Dell XPS 13 9380, currently running Windows 10 with Ubuntu 20.04 in WSL. The "develop in Linux on Windows" story seems to keep getting better an better so it's fun to play with. I mostly use this computer for side projects or if I need Visual Studio or Windows for something. The XPS 13 has not held up well physically; the battery health has declined rapidly, the trackpad intermittently fails to click, and the Thunderbolt sometimes just does nothing when you plug something in. Overall, it's still a decent machine, but it's far from the best laptop I've owned.

Software

Probably the most accurate and detailed information about my software setup is my dotfiles and the Ansible playbooks that I use to provision my computers. Otherwise...

I spend the significant majority of my time in Firefox and neovim, and still often use and love Sublime Text. I use the standard Terminal.app because I've used tmux my entire life and don't need the approximately one-billion features of iTerm2.

I use a lot of containers, which on macOS unfortunately means I'm stuck with Docker. It's still the best experience for now, but I hope one day I can use podman or some other, more open technology instead.

I also use Dash quite a bit for local and easily-searchable documentation for various languages, libraries, and frameworks. Much faster than searching the web, and everything being offline is nice.

The Cloud™

The majority of my personal cloud infrastructure runs on Microsoft Azure, specifically AKS, Azure Storage, and a few standalone VMs. Everything is tracked and deployed with Terraform, and everything is kept within Canadian regions.

For file syncing and cloud storage, I run a private Nextcloud installation for myself and my family (I have written in the past about how I run Nextcloud on Kubernetes). It's been the key to getting us out of Google's ecosystem and I love it just for that, even if it is a large PHP nightmare.