Tools I use to get the job done

Every day I look for new tools that'll help me get my work done faster. Here's some of the stuff I use to get the job done.

My [only] machine is a 13' MacBook Pro. I have a 120GB solid state drive, which is the single best upgrade you can make to any machine - it makes your laptop so much faster. I also have 8GB of RAM. Don't buy RAM or an SSD from Apple, buy the parts from Newegg and then install them yourself using the guides on iFixit. With the new unibody laptops you'll need a Phillips #00 and a Torx T5 screwdriver but you can get these from your local hardware store for less than $10.

I also have a 2TB external drive with backups and my music library, and a Samsung scanner. I use AudioTechnica noise-canceling headphones to stay focused in busy environments.

I have a pretty elaborate set of dotfiles that I use to configure the terminal, vim, and other applications. I keep these in a Mercurial repository so I can get my configuration set up really quickly on a new machine.


iTerm 2 and bash are fantastic for a terminal, and MacVim is a great GUI editor for vim - I use it to write blog posts and code. I use Adium for chat and Quicksilver to open and close applications and control iTunes. Skitch is an excellent tool for screenshots, because you can share photos with one click - I use it at least once a day. I use Colloquy for IRC (it's chat for programming people). Jumpcut helps keep track of things I've pasted to the Clipboard and TextExpander expands snippets I use often, like my email address and our home wireless password.

I'm obsessed with maximizing screen space. I keep the Dock minimized, (a) because I really never use it and (b) because it takes up about 50-100 pixels at the bottom of the screen. Divvy resizes/moves windows (to quickly make windows full screen, or left half/right half) and Witch switch between open windows (instead of applications) quickly. At home I have two ASUS 24' monitors; one connects through the DisplayPort and the other one connects with a Diamond BVU adapter.

I use Chrome for casual web browsing and Firefox + Firebug for web development. I use 1Password to generate strong passwords. I use Webfaction for web hosting; it's the best combination of price and features (full SSH, multiple websites, etc) I've been able to find. I might upgrade to Linode soon however, for faster sites and more space on the server. I use rsync to copy my 1Password Anywhere file to the Webfaction server, giving me access to my passwords from any web browser. I also use Shell in a Box to get SSH access to Webfaction from any browser.

I really wish there were better single site browser apps for Mac. Apparently Chrome and Firefox are both working on tools for this. I have single site apps for Google Voice, Calendar, and Gmail, configured with Prism. This helps me pull them up quickly, especially when I have 40+ tabs open in Chrome.

Some stuff I do that's atypical: I type using a DVORAK keyboard, to the endless annoyance of people trying to borrow my laptop. I also use Scroll Reverser to have the scroll direction mirror that of mobile devices; you move your fingers up to scroll down (apparently this is the default in Mac OS Lion).

I have bank accounts with ING Direct and Ally Bank. In my investment account on Sharebuilder I'm invested 50% in VT (a world market fund), 30% in PCRDX (a commodity futures index fund), and 20% in RWO (a global real estate fund).

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

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