/uses

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A continuously updated list of devices, tools, and services I use to get digital work & play done. Inspired by uses.tech, check there for a list of everyone’s /uses pages.

#Hardware

The essentials.
The essentials.

My office is where my MacBook is, all these devices go wherever I travel to:

  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
    Space Gray, 2.6GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB, US International keyboard
    My main workhorse powering my daily work & play. Everything is pretty much amazing and it handles everything I throw at it. Love the screen, keyboard, and speakers. Still miss the SD card slot which Apple deemed not Pro enough.
  • iPhone 11 Pro
    Space Gray, 256GB
    My main camera and used for everything when I’m not on my Mac. I try to keep it only for personal communication and reading and I’m never quite sure what to do with all its unbelievable power, but the screen is the best display I ever looked at. Because of that, replaces a lot the iPad for reading.
  • AirPods
    Still rocking the original AirPods since their introduction, one of the best products Apple has ever made. Used pretty much all the time when talking into my devices and participating in online meetings, or listening to music on the go.
  • Apple Watch Series 5
    40mm, Space Gray Aluminium, Milanese Loop & Sport Band in black
    Mainly used for its health & fitness features so I can go on a run without my iPhone, and track the shit out of me. I like to keep it unobtrusive, all notifications are turned off, except for calendar event & Activity.app notifications.
  • iPad Pro (9.7-inch) 2016
    Space Gray, 128GB
    My 4th iPad after the original iPad. Since that time used it as a paper document replacement for reading and research and it is still perfect for it. Initially used with the keyboard cover and the Apple Pencil but until I can run a local web development environment on iPadOS it is rarely useful for me to get coding work done. Still intrigued by the possibilities and cleanliness of iPadOS compared to macOS but it’s just not there yet for me. On the go, the iPad is my Sidecar display usually holding Terminal.app in fullscreen.
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II
    Black
    The headphones for blocking out my whole environment during work in busy and loud places, and for way better music quality than any AirPods.
  • Beats Powerbeats
    Black
    Using the original ones during all workout activities for many years. Impossible to fall out, and way more robust like AirPods, but with similar features.
  • Kindle Voyage
    The best experience for long time reading. Almost all my non-technical books are Kindle books.
  • Ledger Nano X, Ledger Nano S
    My cold storage wallet of choice for most crypto assets. The Nano X is always with me and a joy to use via Bluetooth with my iPhone while the Nano S is a pain to use with USB, but is just a copy of the Nano X holding the same private keys and stored in another physical location.

#Home Office Setup

The essentials at home.
The essentials at home.

  • Desk
    East Indian rosewood, 200cm x 80cm
    Massive wood dining table turned into a desk. Yearly bee wax polishing keeps it looking like new for more than a decade. The monolith might had an effect on that too. Leaves more than enough space to run big display and MacBook screen side-by-side.
  • LG 32UL950
    32” UltraFine 4K external display with Thunderbolt3/USB-C
    My main display being used when working from home. 4k and one cable to deliver power, video, audio, and further connectivity is the minimum. The image quality is bearable and on-par with the more Mac-optimized LG 5K UltraFine versions, but bigger, cheaper, more slim, and uses less energy. Still no Pro Display XDR image quality though.
  • Magic Mouse 2
    Space Gray
    Always coming back to this mouse after trying a bunch of Logitech & Razer gaming mice. The combination of a mouse with a touch surface for gestures and scrolling in any direction is just unbeatable.
  • Magic Keyboard
    1x US International & 1x DE, white
    Always loved the Magic Keyboards for typing at a desk although by now I highly prefer typing on the new MacBook Pro keyboard. Most of the time using the US keyboard, sometimes switch to the German one. It stresses me tremendously that the version without number block is only available in white.
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
    4GB RAM
    The little Linux and local home server playground performing some serious tasks for all devices within my home network: Pi-Hole keeps all browsing adventures clean, and every network device’s DNS traffic is routed through the Raspberry Pi. Plex is delivering a video library, capable of playing 4K content. It runs a Tor non-exit relay. Has two 4 TB hard drives attached for storage for all network devices.
  • Urbanears Baggen
    Concrete Grey
    The most versatile, stand-alone wireless speaker I could find. Connects with pretty much everything no matter the OS: AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, USB-A, AUX. Looks and sounds great, albeit hard to justify its size after the HomePod had been released.
  • IKEA HEKTAR
    Dark Gray
    My LED desk lamp with integrated Qi and USB-A charging in its base. Perfect merge of form and function so I don’t need any other dedicated device or cable on my desk to charge my mobile devices.

#Software

It’s macOS & iOS & iPadOS & watchOS all around. The majority of my work is done on macOS. My main web and development server is a droplet on DigitalOcean running Ubuntu, allowing me to work from the iPad, among other things.

I keep it simple and use most of the default Apple apps across devices for all basic computing needs: Mail, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Contacts, Messages, Photos, Music. Most of the additional apps I use have versions for macOS & iOS.

Living a cloud-first life where all my files are stored in some cloud service and are selectively synced to any device. Mail, Calendar, and Contacts are hooked up to personal and work Google G Suite accounts.

I live with automatic dark mode where all my devices have a light theme during the day, and a dark theme after sunset.

#File Storage & Sync

  • Finder & Files
    So simple, yet powerful. I use Finder & the iOS Files app to access all my files from multiple sources: iCloud, Tresorit, SSH servers through Secure ShellFish, local networks drives attached to my Raspberry Pi.
  • iCloud Drive, 2 TB
    I have used Dropbox Pro for many years but it became too clunky and Apple’s version turned into what I wanted Dropbox to be. Most of my non-code related files live there and are happily synced.
  • Tresorit Premium, 500 GB
    Holds all the personal and sensitive documents. Works like Dropbox or iCloud Drive but with end-to-end encryption with my own private keys, and some nicely paranoid sharing features.
  • Scanner Pro
    Listed here because this app on my iPhone makes every piece of paper coming across my desk into a digital file helping me maintain a paperless office. Works like a charm with any document in multiple languages making them searchable with OCR. Every scan I do with it produces a high quality black & white PDF file, ready for digital filing. This gives me quick access to every official document I might need to give to someone no matter where I am in the world. Scanned paper documents are then destroyed and put into recycling.
  • Google Drive & Google Docs
    Only used for work accounts, and only within the browser. It still deeply confuses me and never use it for personal stuff.

#Browsing

  • Safari
    My main browser on every device. I stay for best typography rendering of any browser, the feature & UI minimalism, and the privacy and content blocking features. No extensions at all except for 1Blocker.
  • DuckDuckGo
    My search engine on all devices in all browsers.
  • 1Blocker
    My content blocker of choice for Safari so I rarely see any ad tech bullshit even outside of my network without Pi-Hole. Fast, effective, and completely unobtrusive on every device.
  • Firefox Developer Edition
    My secondary browser on macOS mainly used for development and debugging. Running with those extensions:

  • Test browsers: Chrome, Edge, Brave, Opera

#Development

Terminal.app: Nord, SF Mono, Pure
Terminal.app: Nord, SF Mono, Pure

VS Code dark theme: Nord, SF Mono
VS Code dark theme: Nord, SF Mono

VS Code light theme: Polar, SF Mono
VS Code light theme: Polar, SF Mono

  • VS Code
    From Notepad, to Dreamweaver, to Coda, to Espresso, to TextMate, to Atom, and now I arrived at VS Code. Its feature set, coding experience, and ecosystem far outweigh the Electron drawbacks, and at least it is the most performant Electron app I know. I still miss Espresso as my personal gold standard for how a code editor UI on macOS should look and behave. Using only a small set of extensions mostly for automatic code formatting based on various tools:

  • Nord
    My go to syntax color theme for everything displaying code, including code snippets displayed on this blog.
  • SF Mono or Fira Code
    I can never decide and switch between them for everything which displays code.
  • Terminal.app
    Switching between Terminal.app and the integrated terminal in VS Code all the time.

    • my default shell is Zsh
    • configured with my own dotfiles
    • styled with Pure.
  • Git
    Most of my projects are under version control and are synced as Git repositories. Using Git in Terminal.app, within VS Code, and occasionally with GitHub Desktop. Almost everything I do for work is embedded in a Git-based workflow. Every commit I create on any device is signed with one of my GPG keys.
  • Kaleidoscope
    I’m a senior developer and still don’t know how to properly resolve a merge conflict without this app.
  • Docker Desktop
    Lots of work projects are Dockerized so there’s always a bunch of Docker containers running on my machine. Still prefer to directly use my local development environment for everything JavaScript/Node.js based.
  • Transmit
    Use it since like forever on macOS. Gives me file access to pretty much everything within my network and remote resources, including S3 & Wasabi on both, macOS & iOS.
  • Prompt
    Truly the best SSH client for iOS. Using it for occasional server maintenance on the go.
  • Working Copy
    One of the most powerful development tools on iOS making version-controlled, on-device development actually possible. In my workflow it is the basis for doing quick code or copy edits. Because it is a document provider on iOS, I can directly access my cloned Git repositories from any other app.
  • GitHub for mobile
    The iOS app is crazy good for quickly managing issues and code reviews. Rarely use the desktop version.
  • Homebrew
    The trusty package manager for the Unix side of macOS, for all the stuff which is not Dockerized.
  • nvm
    I need to switch between multiple Node.js versions throughout the day and nvm has always been perfect for that.

#Design

  • Sketch & Figma
    I mostly design in the browser but when required, all my UI wireframing, prototyping, and design needs are met with either Sketch or Figma. Prefer Sketch for the perfectly native UI, but Figma for drawing performance and its collaboration features.
  • Pixave
    Storing full page screenshots of every site or other visual work I create in here. Feels dated and buggy by now so in dire need of replacement.
  • xScope
    When stuff on screen just has to be pixel-perfect. Always used to check for accessible colors in all UIs I create.
  • Typeface
    My font manager of choice. Nice and simple.
  • Sip
    Use this to pick colors from everywhere on the screen.
  • ImageOptim
    Every bitmap asset I create goes through this app to keep file size small.

#Photos

  • iCloud Photos
    All my master photos live in iCloud, and are selectively synced to devices in Photos.app. I make sure every photo ending up in here has the correct location and capturing date in its metadata, like for a lot of scanned analog photos from the last century.
  • Photos
    Using it on all devices, most edits happen on my iPhone with it. Metadata editing often happens in the macOS version. Has everything I need since iOS 13. Originally, my library moved from folders, to iPhoto, to Aperture, to Lightroom, and from there back to Photos.
  • Metaphoto
    Excellent metadata editing on iOS for single photos, or bulk editing. Directly accesses and modifies the originals from Photos.app and writes modified location & date back to them.
  • Halide
    For capturing everything the image sensors of my iPhone can deliver. Gorgeous interaction & UI design.
  • Darkroom
    For more refined editing on iOS.
  • Affinity Photo
    When a photo needs even more refined editing, primarily used on macOS.

#Music

  • Music
    Used iTunes to manage my music library since I use a Mac. Digitalized my CD library in Apple Lossless into it in the 2000s, first synced to mobile devices (iPod, then iPhone) via cable, then “synced” with iTunes Match without any cables. Now this library is running with Music, in a mix with Apple Music. This library with the lossless files is living on a network drive in my home network and is accessed from there when sitting at a Mac.
  • iTunes Match
    Yup, still using that. I try to buy music I like from the artist in a lossless format and store it in my Music library, and iTunes Match gives me access to its compressed version from the Apple Music catalogue on all mobile devices.
  • Apple Music
    Used for discovering new music and its excellent playlist curation.

#Messaging

  • Mail
    Apple’s default email app has always worked for me, on all devices, so I just stick to it.
  • GnuPG
    Use it since I use email but its clunky and rarely anyone uses it. Interacting with it only in Terminal.app for decrypting and encrypting, and use it to sign Git commits. Yes, I’m aware of GPG Suite but the instability it introduces into the whole operating system is not worth the usage to me.
  • Messages & Telegram
    The only messengers I use every day for personal stuff, mostly on my iPhone.
  • Signal
    In an ideal world everybody would use this so all our private messaging is not controlled by some single, closed-source entity with varying degrees of ad tech evilness.
  • Slack
    The main work communication tool, mostly used on macOS. Loved and hated in equal parts.

#Writing

Except within Notes.app, everything I write is composed as GitHub Flavored Markdown.

  • iA Writer
    Every longer text I write starts and lives here first.
  • VS Code
    Most development-related writing ends up in VS Code, side-by-side with its Markdown preview.

#Password Management

  • 1Password
    Actively store pretty much every sensitive credential and infos in here. The 1Password keychain is only synced locally via WiFi to my other devices.
  • iCloud Keychain
    Replaces 1Password a lot for me during daily browsing because of its perfect integration into Safari.

#Reading

  • Reeder
    Never stopped using RSS for my news reading and Reeder has always been a joy to use. Have it on all my devices but prefer reading on the iPad with it. I use Feedly to manage and sync my subscriptions in the background.
  • Instapaper
    My read-later service, mostly reading articles through the Instapaper app on iPhone or iPad, but also have it setup in Reeder.
  • Books
    I prefer buying ePub files directly from book authors which then end up in Books. Pretty much all my technical books live here and are synced via iCloud.

#Social Media

  • Twitter: Twitterific
    Using it since the first macOS version, now primarily used on the iPhone and the only way I interact with Twitter.
  • Reddit: Apollo

#Health & Fitness

  • Health & Activity
    Any health and fitness-related app I use feeds data into these apps, making them my main health data dashboard.
  • Workout
    Everything I need from an app to track workouts, which only happens on watchOS these days. It is pretty much perfect and replaced Runkeeper for me.
  • Pillow
    Nice and simple automatic sleep tracking through Apple Watch and great visual reports on my iPhone.

#Backup

  • The Cloud™
    Everything I create is either stored in iCloud, Tresorit, or a pushed Git repository, making this my first line of defense for data loss.
  • Arq
    My second line of defense, the snapshot backup tool used for all Macs I had in the last years. Encrypts everything locally before uploading. The same backups are sent every hour to a Wasabi bucket, and in my local network to a hard drive connected to the Raspberry Pi via Samba. I have kept all my former Mac snapshots within the same bucket on Wasabi, so I can always jump back to any of their snapshots. Always super stable and happy with it, until the new Arq 6 with a terrible Electron interface came along.
  • iCloud Backup
    All mobile devices simply use this to create their backups.
  • Rclone
    For moving large cloud data around within and between online storage services. Usually run from my remote web server.

#Self Hosted

  • I host my blog (which also includes my photo stream) and portfolio on AWS S3, with Cloudflare in front of it.
  • I run my own web and development server, a droplet on DigitalOcean, running Nginx.
  • I run my own analytics server with Matomo.
  • I run my own Git repository hosting with Gitea for private projects, and for automatically syncing every GitHub repository I touch into it. A VPS running within Amazon Lightsail.
  • I run a public IPFS node & gateway, powered by a VPS on Amazon Lightsail, and the frontend delivered via Vercel.
  • I run multiple Tor exit relays, VPS distributed between Scaleway & OVH.
  • For every other serverless and JAMstack need I prefer Vercel.
Ledger Nano X: Keep your crypto secure, everywhere.