A couple of people lately posted a “tools of the trade” blog post, covering their hardware and software preferances, coming to think
about it, i never did one before, maybe it’s time now.
I’m an Apple evangelist. I am ready to pay the extra cost for convenience and that’s exactly what i get from Apple’s product.
- Development Machine – up until recently i used a 20" iMac armed with 8GB RAM with 2-3 external monitors (Dell) for fun and pleasure. Currently i am on the verge of moving to a two 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon MacPro with a total of 2TB HD storage. Why so much? because aside from rails, i also do computer animation. 2 24" AppleCinema’s complete my new setup. I also keep around my old MacBook and a 15" 3.0Mhz MacBook Pro with 8GB for traveling.
- External and peripheral equipment – i love the apple stock keyboard, don’t know why but i like the feeling of it, although i suspect the arrival of a more ergonomic keyboard in the near future. My mouse (Logitech’s TrackMan Wheel) is almost 6 years old, i love it and it serves me well. i also keep around a Wacom Bamboo for my animation hobbies. I keep around a Windows XP machine (yes, a genuine copy) and a ubuntu machine, generally for testing, playing around and browser battlefield training.
- Backup Policy – This is where it gets freaky. As a former System Mainframe administrator, i know all about backup policies and best practices, in fact the only thing missing from my backup-setup to achieve a national security badge, is a DRP for a bunker in Arizona. For quick movable files and data, i use 2 500GB Lacie Nugged HD drives (yes, the orange ones from the Genius bar) those are amazing pieces of equipment, resistant and reliable. A data backup cabinet by Satary keeps my immediate failure fears away. Important files are backed up to an Amazon S3 instance using a bunch of ruby scripts found somewhere on the web and my home folder (and of course
~/projects) are backed up into a git repository on 2 locations.
- Browsers – Firefox and Safari, depends on the way i wake up in the morning. Although FF is plugin-packed, i find sometimes the basic “Develop” menu tools on Safari good enough for me to work with, when it gets dirtier, FF has no match. I tried using Chrome for a while but i didn’t like it, all speed nothing else in my opinion.
- Chat – Adium, iChat and Skype take most of my time. Adding Chax to iChat made it my number one choice.
- Mail – Native Mail.app on mac os does very well, i have 12 email accounts i need to pay attention to and i do it perfectly well with Mail.app. Also, the internal todo list options make it easy to follow tasks around. also DockStar makes my life happy when accessing folders from the dock.
- IRC – i tried several of those Mac IRC clients, only LimeChat kept me around.
- Command Line – Terminal.app, and only that.
- Database Tools – i use the native mac Mysql Tools, Mysql Query Browser is clean and simple enough for me.
- Coding – textmate, best, ever, text editor.
- Source Control – Git and GitX when i feel like browsing history.
- Graphics – the one and only Photoshop for heavy duty tasks, for smaller things i use. PixelMator
- Documents – iWork works for me, and beautifully.
- FTP – CyberDuck, somehow i came across this tool and stayed.
- Mockups – Balsamiq Mockups is undoubtedly the best application i found in 2009, made my life so much easier i can’t even describe, worths every penny.
- Remote – Teleport makes it easy to share keyboard and mouse around multiple machines, works for me.
- RSS – NetNewsWire, i have a huge list of subscriptions (300+) and most apps find it hard to cope with, NNW succeeds where others fail.
- Screen and Video Capture – Jing and sometimes Skitch.
- Domain Registrar – thanks to a tip from Mike Gunderloy a while ago, i now use PairNic and happy with it.
- Hosting – i can’t say i have a default, but it’s usually one from SliceHost or WebbyNode, larger projects get the Amazon EC2 key. top secret stuff go on prgmr.
- Client Management – FatFreeCRM by @mid, when we got back to working with clients, our first step was to find the right tool to manage all that hell-raised-clients, FFC does a remarkable job in planning your client relationships and overall behavior, a serious competitor for Balsamiq as my favorite application for 2009.
- Twitter Client – Tweetie, i don’t like all those fat memory resident AIR applications, using Tweetie on the iPhone too.
- Notes – sorry, but this is where tech ends. i use A LOT of real notepads in my work, i can finish an 80 sheet notepad in a week or so, half of my filing cabinets are full of my priceless notes.
* 1password – password management, worth the purchase.
* AdBlock Plus – sometimes i can’t believe how some sites look without this bastard.
* FireBug – the web developer’s essential #1, you probably can’t debug anything on a web page without it. well, you can, but you’ll die trying.
* WebDeveloper – the web developer’s essential #2, the more investigative tool of them, priceless as well.
* LiveHTTPHeaders – analyze HTTP headers, sometimes necessary.
* DustMeSelectors – remove unused CSS selectors.
* Ubiquity – QuickSilver for Firefox.
* YSlow – analyzing my high performance web page practices failures.