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My Setup

Here’s a rundown of my work setup.  I’ve tested all of these products extensively and consider them indispensable.

Computer: Macbook Air-13 inch 256GB

Monitor: Thunderbolt.  For a long time I thought that this was an overpriced monitor.  I was very wrong.  It makes every other monitor I’ve used look broken in comparison.  It definitely reduces eye strain at the end of the day.

Sizeup: SizeUp allows you to quickly resize and position your windows with keyboard shortcuts.  They call it the missing window manager and I have to agree.  I mainly use it to resize windows to the left and right half of the screen.  This allows me to take advantage of all the screen real-estate on a cinema display monitor.  For keyboard mappings I have option-q = Left, option-w = Fullscreen, option-E = Right.

Jumpcut: Shows the last 10 things I copied to the clipboard.

Quicksilver: It’s similar to spotlight, but I find that it does a much better job at launching applications.  I also use it to control iTunes from the keyboard while I’m working in other apps.  I have keyboard shortcuts setup to rate tracks and display the currently playing song on the screen.

Dropbox: I save all my created documents in Dropbox so it’s always backend up and available on other computers.

Notational Velocity Alt:  I use it to take all my notes.  I find Evernote to be really heavy and it’s footprint is much too big.  Notational velocity takes up a tiny amount of screen real-estate so I can use it in conjunction with other apps while I’m working.  The Alt version adds the ability for theming.  I use a black background with white text, which reduces eyestrain.

Simplenote: I use this on my iPhone for note taking.  It works perfectly with Notational Velocity so text is always synced between my desktop and phone.

Afloat: I use afloat on Notational Velocity to keep that window on top of other windows. I often have an app open full screen, but I need to take notes or refer to them.  I hate having to switch windows, so Afloat just keeps that windows on top of all the others.

F.lux: Looking at a screen late at night when the surrounding environment is dark, increases eyestrain.   Flux gradually adds a tint to the screen at night to make it easier on the eyes.

Streambox: Having a music service like Pandora in the browser just doesn’t work.  I accidentally close it all the time, and it’s hard to find the right tab to see what’s playing.  Streambox is a Pandora app that sits in the menu bar.

Fluid: I’m a huge fan of the Hypemachine.  Since there isn’t a desktop app, I create a browser specific Hypemacine “app” with Fluid.

Airfoil: I love this app.  It allows you to beam music from your desktop to another desktop, iPhone, or Airport.

Adobe Creative Suite: Pretty standard.  I haven’t tried Cloud yet, but I really skeptical.  I’m still on CS6 desktop version.

Omnigraffle:  I use this for all my wire-framing.  It’s pretty much standard issue for UX designers.  The Kongi stencils are a must as are a number of app specific stencils from Graffletopia.

JMP: I use this for statistical data analysis.  It’s similar to R but with a usable graphic interface.  It’s ability to quickly clean data sets is unparalleled. I use it to quickly run distributions, get rid of outliers, and look for correlations in data.  There is way more in there than I know how to use. If you’re reading this you’ll probably be interested in it’s ability to do logistic regressions, and partition analysis.

Tableau: I just started using Tableau but so far I’m really impressed.  I would describe it as Excel PivotTables on crack.  It makes manipulating and visualizing data very easy.  I can almost always do the work in Excel, but Tableau does it in minutes instead of hours.  Also, when I’m dealing a very large data set, Excel chokes and Tableau handles it like a pro. Tableau is Windows only so I run it in Windows with Parallels.

Rubymine: I’ve just started to get better at programming. Rubymine is a full featured editor and it makes it a lot easier for a beginner.

Chrome Canary: I recently discovered Google’s beta version of Chrome, which they call Canary.  It’s a completely separate browser from Chrome, so I can be signed into my work account.  I use regular Chrome to sign into my personal gmail.

Skitch: I use Skitch for screen-capture and annotation.  It was a lot better before Evernote acquired it, but it’s still decent.

Pinboard: I bookmark all my web findings in Pinboard.  It’s a Delicious clone which I signed up for when it looked like Delicous was going to be shut down.

Mailbox: I use Mailbox for work email on my phone.  Their ability to snooze an email until later is perfect for work email.

37 Signals Backpack:  I used Backpack to write all my technical specs.  They unfortunately stopped supporting it and new users can’t sign up.  I am in the process of building a new version for writing specs.






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