Things I Use

Uses

This page is a short summary of all the important stuff I use. The idea is that I only mention the stuff I would miss if I lost it (or stopped working for the software stuff).

Hardware

  • iPhone XS; 256 GB; Silver, with a navy blue Apple Leather. I went with 256 GB to make sure that I can download my entire photo library on device (about 150 GB) since I don’t like the way “optimize photo storage” works.
  • AirPods. Don’t know what I’d do without them anymore.
  • MacBook Pro 2016, without TouchBar; 8GB of RAM; 256 GB SSD. Space gray. I do almost everything on this or my ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon; 32GB RAM, 512GB disk, Windows 10 running on a Core i7. This is my machine from work, and pretty useful for most tasks. Besides not running macOS, there’s not much bad to say about this one.
  • Dell 24″ 1920x1080 Screens; on the desk at home. For 10 years old the screen is still great, but not fantastic. While it is old, I like that it serves as a USB hub for all our connected accessories as well as a monitor.
  • Anker 3-in-1 USB C Hub; This allows our home office desk to be able to plug right into either the MacBook Pro or the ThinkPad X1 thanks to the magic of USB-C

Coffee

  • Verisimo System by Starbucks for making espresso like drinks at home. It does a pretty good job replicating the mochas that normally drink form Starbucks, for a fraction of the cost. I buy the pods in bulk on Amazon subscribe and save to save even more.

Bags

  • Coach Briefcase. The bag I use every single day. It’s a nice black leather bag that my wife bought me. A few compartments and a place for the laptop. Exactly what I need!

Services

  • iCloud Drive. Use this for all of my personal documents. It may not be as full featured as Dropbox or OneDrive, but it does the basics well and I haven’t had an issue yet.
  • OneDrive. OneDrive is not great, but it gets the job done. It’s included in our home Office 365 subscription, so it’s better than plaything for another service like Dropbox. I use OneDrive for work files, and as a place to backup pictures and videos outside of iCloud Photo Library.
  • 1Password. The best password management solution I know about. Awesome for solo and family use.
  • Todoist. My main place for managing tasks and projects (both for work and home).

Social Stuff

  • Micro.blog. Micro.blog is the main social network stuff I’m doing at the moment. It is powered by blogs instead of a centralized system like Facebook, so I own all my content. I still have some stuff cross-posted to the other services though.
  • Facebook and Instagram. Mainly to keep up with some family and old friends, don’t post much here anymore
  • Twitter. Only to follow breaking news events, etc.

Blogging

  • Micro.blog. I am currently using the hosting provided by Manton for the service. If feels good to pay a little bit in order to keep it a sustainable platform.
  • Squarespace. Don’t do much blogging there, but our family website is there.

Coding (apps)

  • VS Code. A great text editor if you want a GUI one. I use it for all the Python work I do.
  • Matlab. It’s the only place to use Matlab/Simulink and it’s not a bad IDE
  • Visual Studio. Only have used it for some small Windows apps in C#, seems overkill for most of the work I do though

Coding (languages and stack)

  • Python. My go to for small work and personal projects because it’s easy and it’s everywhere. Python is also my go to tool for writing command line programs.
  • Matlab/Simulink. My first programming language/environment and still a solid choice for engineering project or control design issues.
  • C#. I’ve only used it on a very small projects when I needed a native windows app, but it seems to get the job done without much hassle.
  • Shell/Bash Scripting. Sometimes you just need to go back to basics

Photography

  • Photos.app. I use iCloud Photo Library as my main storage of Photos. Since my iPhone is my main camera, all my photos easily live here. It’s great to browse photos, and the updates in iOS 11 and 12 have made it easier than ever to find what I’m looking for.
  • Google Photos. I have the Google Photos app on my iPhone that will also backup high-resolution versions of all my photos. This is mainly a backup, and since it’s free, it doesn’t hurt to have.

Other Mac Apps

  • Hazel.
  • Amphetamine. A modern version of Caffine. Keeps my Mac from going to sleep

iOS Apps

  • Overcast. My favorite podcast app and probably most used app on my phone.
  • Drafts. Where all of my writing starts on iOS, and I have actions to send it everywhere I need; including scripts to publish to WordPress.
  • Carrot Weather. Crazy powerful Weather App with a Personality. I love it.
Ben Hager @benhager