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.
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.
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.