Things I use to get things done

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It’s been a while since I saw a post about what people use to get their stuff done. Be it hardware, software, tools or other stuff, simply to “get things done”.

A few weeks ago I attended a meetup where some people and myself shared their setup, tools and yesterday I came across Todd Motto’s setup, so thought about sharing mine in a blogpost as well.

Mine will be longer, but I try to only use one tool for one job, while there are always many alternatives, sometimes better, mostly not (or not for me, otherwise I would’ve chosen differently, some have legacy or I am just used to it, or don’t want to spend more or learn something else). So, here goes:

Hardware

MacBook Pro 15″ retina

the best machine for me, most software for webdesigners is written with mac users in mind, so that’s why I switched 3 years ago. great screen, trackpad and overall very sturdy. But expensive too. Considering the machine is ‘on’ 12 hours a day, it’s not that big of an investment if you count the hours of usage.
I have an external screen at home, and at clients’ office, but often just sit in the couch, or in a bar jotting some code down.

2 24″ iiyama monitors

A very good idea I had years ago, is to use a laptop as main machine and have a few extra screens at home for more viewport. It beats having two machines which are never in sync, and you still have the benefit of having more screen real estate. I liked the iiyama’s, nowadays I’d be tempted to buy one big 34″ or 40″ screen.

Sony MDR-V55 headphones

My first pair broke after 5 years, bought the same ones immediately again. Says enough I think. Use ’em too for DJ’ing. Very portable, fantastic sound and not too expensive/easily replaceable.

Booq Cobra brief bag

Since all stuff I use should be easily portable, got myself a truly good bag. Last one was bigger, but they don’t make those anymore, but this keeps me from lugging literally everything with me.

I don’t use a mouse no more, but I still have a Logitech MX Anywhere lying around, as well as a Wacom tablet for drawing or photo retouching.

OnePlus3 smartphone

recently switched after a Sony Xperia Z and Z3, and really like it, but the battery life and the waterproofness of the Xperia’s is something I miss.

Sony Alpha 6000

Maybe the best purchase I ever did. Great quality pictures, fast, all the features and settings a prosumer as myself needs, coupled with a light strong F1.8 fixed lens, this thing takes awesome pictures. Strongly recommended.

Software

Sublime Text editor

Great stuff, know a lot of the shortcuts, is really my weapon of choice after 3 years intense usage but also thinking of trying out WebStorm or Atom to see where that’d would take me.

Source Tree version control

I know some ninja’s like command line better, but I like to focus on my code and see that it’s optimized and performant, instead of having to type every command to commit, push, etc to all the different repositories. SourceTree is maybe the best GUI to handle all of your version control, and I noticed that a lot of hardcore super-intelligent coders I had the pleasure of working with over the past few years rather use SourceTree than diving into Command Line. I use both Github as Bitbucket for keeping my repo’s stored.

Transmit

My goto FTP client. Works very well, looks nice.

Ghostlab or BrowserSync

For testing on multiple devices. With easy automatic refresh and remote code inspection.

Front End Setup

My main focus is usually on the frontend and we’ve seen quite some revolution over the past few years, with task runners, preprocessors, frameworks etc. My setup therefore usually includes SASS (Scss actually), Gulp (or grunt for older projects), some parts of Foundation, as much SVG as possible and my SASS/CSS written according to the principles of BEM with a dash of SMACSS.

Conference Slides

HTML / CSS / JS framework
Used stuff like Google Presentations in the past (and sometimes still do, for hashing out ideas for a talk), but the stuff I actually use on stage, is mostly HTML/CSS/JavaScript. It let’s me write like I’m used to and it let’s me do stuff I cannot do in regular presentation software. Like the Star Wars scroll in my last presentation.

Business related

Harvest

Been using it since starting my own business, it let’s me track clients, estimates and invoices, has a built-in timer which I can trigger from desktop, web or app. I have some wishes, but overall, this is a very nice package and am not considering switching.

Google office

Been a Gmail user from day one. Gmail’s day one that is. Love it. Always available, great spamfilter, integrates with all other google service awesome. And use the rest also extensively. Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Maps ..

Evernote

For note taking during meetings or ideas, or while listening at conferences, I mostly turn to Evernote.

Project management

I’m not fond of any, but if I’d choose one, it’d probably be Trello.
Tip: if you want a simple ToDo list, open up Google spreadsheets, make a column for issue, area where issue arises, status and assignee. Color green when done, red when impossible and orange for further questions. Start out white, end up (hopefully fully) green. And get all of the benefits of making adjustments with the whole team.

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