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Tools of the trade - 2009

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.
  • ChatAdium, iChat and Skype take most of my time. Adding Chax to iChat made it my number one choice.
  • Mail – Native on mac os does very well, i have 12 email accounts i need to pay attention to and i do it perfectly well with 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 –, and only that.
  • Database Tools – i use the native mac Mysql Tools, Mysql Query Browser is clean and simple enough for me.
  • Codingtextmate, 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.
  • FTPCyberDuck, somehow i came across this tool and stayed.
  • MockupsBalsamiq Mockups is undoubtedly the best application i found in 2009, made my life so much easier i can’t even describe, worths every penny.
  • RemoteTeleport makes it easy to share keyboard and mouse around multiple machines, works for me.
  • RSSNetNewsWire, 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 CaptureJing 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 ManagementFatFreeCRM 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.
  • FF plugins

* 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.


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{ '' => [ '#rubyonrails', '#railsbridge', '#ruby', '#mootools' ]}

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