The Tools I use

I thought it would be interesting and somewhat useful to share a list of hardware, software, apps and other tools I use on a daily basis both at work and in my personal life.

The list is up to date as of April 2017.


Hardware

I get by with a fairly lean set of hardware. I usually work at my desk at home or on the sofa so portability is key but as I dont travel much the weight of my computer is not that important.

MacBook Pro

My primary computer at home is a 15” Retina Macbook Pro. It’s the late 2013 model and is was the top spec available at the time.

  • 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
  • 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
  • 512 GB Flash Storage

I haven’t had a need to upgrade to a newer model yet as most of my work doesn’t involve any heavy processing power. I’m not a fan of the keyboard on the newer MacBooks and I’m not ready to give up MagSafe or my USB-A ports just yet.

Phone

I currenly use 64GB iPhone 6S in gold. I’ve been an iPhone user since the iPhone 4 but no so much of a devotee to upgrade each year. I usually skip the ‘S’ models but I was so happy with my previous iPhone 5 that I decided to hold onto it for a little longer.

You can get an idea of my most used apps by checking out my homescreen.

Headphones

My main set of heaphones are the Beats by Dre Solo Wireless 2 in black and red version. The sound quality is brilliant, the battery lasts several days (based on my commute) and the size/weight doesn’t weigh me down with extended use.

While they’re not fully noise cancelling, they create enough of a vacuum to shut out surrounding conversations.

Storage

At home I have a Synology DS212 NAS drive (discontinued) hooked up to my network with 2 × 3TB WD Red hard drives installed. I use it for backing up photos, sending and “receiving” large files and as a TimeMachine backup disc for my MacBook.

As for portable storage I have a couple of 1TB WD My Passport drives.

Reading

I have a Kindle Fire HDX 16GB version. I do prefer reading physical books whenever possible but the convenience of Kindle and the fact that I can keep in sync via my phone app makes it a winner. Have a look at some of my book recomendations.


Software

Sublime Text 3

My code editor of choice is Sublime Text 3. It’s fast, available on Mac and Windows and the library of available plugins is huge. I don’t have a lot of plugins installed for Sublime. The most important one though by far is Emmet.

I’m using the Cobalt2 theme by Wes Bos becuase friends don’t let friends use Monokai and I sync my settings via GitHub which makes it handy when switching computers.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is my browser of choice for browsing and developing. Of coure I have all other major browsers to hand for testing but the Dev Tools in Chrome are so far ahead of the curve compared to the others that I could probably never fully switch to another.

Terminal

I’m not a particularly heavy command line user so I stick with the stock macOS Terminal with a couple of small customisations.

Adobe Creative Cloud

I’ve played about with Sketch and Affinity Designer but I feel most comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator.

I occasionally dabble in some photography and video editing so Lightroom and Premiere Pro are always installed on my machine too.

Sketch

Only recently started using Sketch. As mentioned above, I’m an Adobe user but figured I would try and get another tool under my belt.

Slack

I love Slack. I’ve worked in companies that exclusively use Skype for internal communication (or even worse, Skype for Business) and also tried out Microsoft Teams but the features and integrations with Slack - especially as dev who needs to share code with others in a well formatted way makes Slack the standout tool.

I also use Slack for a community side-project I’ve set up at makr.tv. It’s a community for creative people in the Thames Valley (UK) area - Go check it out.

Note Taking

I use Markdown for drafting notes and writing blog posts and Typora is a brilliant app for this. It’s available for Mac and PC and has a super clean interface. I save my .md files to Dropbox so they’re available everywhere and use iA Writer when editing them on my phone.

Dropbox

It’s not perfect but it fits in best with the way I work. I also have my iPhone camera roll automatically back up to Dropbox so I don’t have to fiddle with iTunes to get photos onto my computer.

Accounting

I use Crunch Accounting for managing my freelance work accounts. A brilliant service which, although more expensive than other online accounting services such as Xero, Cruch comes with a dedicated accountant and takes care of all the HMRC stuff which everyone hates! You should definitely check it out!

Podcasts

Over the past year I’ve really gotten into listening to podcasts. SO much so that I even started my own. This is a list of the ones I listen to most regularly.


Pretty exhaustive list eh? I hope you found some useful resources on there. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

The concept for this list came from Wes Bos and the format was inspired by Harry Roberts - you should check out their lists too.

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