My tech stack (2019)
It’s been years since I last updated the page describing my stack, so here’s the new stuff.
The biggest change happened in mid-2019, when I’ve switched to Apple; there’s an occasional BSD box too.
2017 Macbook Pro
My main machine. A gift from dkbox.
The keyboard is absolutely terrible and drives me crazy. I mostly use it docked with my Ergodox and a giant 4K screen, so I don’t notice. Still, I’m trying not to overheat the device.
The touch bar is somewhere between mostly useless and annoying. I wouldn’t mind it if not for the lack of physical keys (escape!). Touch ID is great. The trackpad and the display are so good that they make up for everything else.
- Intel Core i7, 4x2.9 GHz
- 16GB memory
- 500GB SSD
- Radeon Pro 560 + Intel HD 630
Naturally, I’m running macOS on it - otherwise I would never put up with such a bad keyboard. I will probably replace it with a late-2019 MBP (or newer), or with a Mac Mini / Pro.
My spare laptop, currently running latest [OpenBSD].
Working environment: software and setup
Mostly stock. I use the default Apple apps, including Safari, Terminal.app,
iTunes Music, etc. Honestly they’re not always the best, but they are
extremely well integrated, and very consistent. Which I appreciate more than a
random extra feature or two.
I did however customize a few things:
Hammerspoon is a must for me. It exposes every OS / UI interface (including some non-official stuff) that the devs could get their hands on, and provides it all as a Lua API to build your custom glue.
It replaces my tiling WM of the year, and does lots of sweet keyboard shortcuts. I rarely touch the mouse (which was always the goal).
BitBar for stuffing more stuff into my menu bar. It builds menus from shell script outputs, making it extremely quick to build & iterate on plugins.
Switched to zsh again; still sticking to Emacs… Currently switched to Spacemacs with hybrid evil/emacs mode… The worst of both worlds, and I like it!
Phone - iPhone 7
2016, no audio jack, hand-me-down, cracked screen, still the best phone I’ve ever owned.
Some apps I really like:
- Apollo, because Reddit is life. Check out
- xkcd: OS
- FeeddlerRSS - works with The Old Reader!
- SocialDownHill - simple speedometer, with GPS and map overlay, has auto-start and stop. Mostly just gets out of your way, so you can focus on skating!
- Blink - probably would work better on an iPad, but it’s a decent SSH/MOSH client.
The device itself is overall great. Touch ID is great. There’s a giant crack on the screen and it’s held together with an adhesive screen protector, yet using it feels good and natural, with no glitches whatsoever. The lack of audio jack bothered me a lot at first, but AirPods and AirPlay made it up.
I’ve switched from an old Denon amp to a pair of HomePods. Sound quality wise, it’s technically a downgrade, but I’ve never seen such a small speaker pack sound so good - consider how much space I’ve saved in my tiny flat, it’s a great trade-off. (And AirPlay, and Siri, are all great.)
I have a pair of AirPods. They’re great for music, podcasts, phone calls, watching videos, etc - anything that’s either not very strictly latency-sensitive, or that works off iOS. Don’t bother trying to use them with a Mac tho, especially for gaming - they’re absolute crap, you either get 2s latency or 1980s quality audio. (Same goes for HomePods.)
Meanwhile I continue to regularly use my Marshall monitor headphones. I’m not working directly / professionally with audio, but I need to occasionally check on sound quality or just plain listen to a long recording, and these are absolutely great. Also goes for gaming, listening to immersive music, etc.
The server box, Glados, lives on, with Ubuntu on it. I did an in-place install on ZFS without re-formatting, which I consider a major success in the field of black magic fuckery.
Why I left FreeBSD? I wanted it usable as a desktop / media PC for family &
friends, and Ubuntu is 10x less hassle (and it ships
Putting things together and making it all talk to each other
Apple’s stuff makes it easy, as long as what you talk to is also Apple. There’s iCloud and AirDrop which are both great; but I made it all speak to the rest of my world using: