Pixel 2 XL heresy and much, much more

Welcome to my around the office tour of my many devices, inspired by both the home screen posts and @TiffanyW_412 desk photo, I am going to walk you through device by device and the office setup, so grab your reading glasses because this is going to be a looooong post.

Phone

Google Pixel 2 XL

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I could speak for an hour on why I prefer android and what is going on here, but we are going to keep it simplistic today, feel free to direct message me or create a topic for a more detailed discussion.

Looking at the screenshot in my dock I have, the phone app, chrome web browser, pocket casts podcast player, Facebook messenger and the camera app.
All of my other apps live in the app draw, I like how this gives me a clean homescreen and since I know what the app is that I am wanting to use what I want to use one, I can simply search for it in the stock launcher.

I keep my phone pretty stock, I do a fair amount of mobile development and it is an awesome reference android phone for that. I use iPhones everyday, but personally I just find iOS in the phone form factor to get in the way of getting stuff done, but more on that later.

Main iPad

The 10.5” iPad Pro

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I love my iPad Pro, it is by far the best bang for my buck computer I have ever owned. Unlike on the iPhone where I feel like the os gets between me and the apps, iOS 11 is amazing on this thing, it’s the little features that make the difference, such as being able to pull down on keys to get numbers and symbols. In my option an os should exist as a means to traveling between apps and on the iPad I feel like apple nails it.

The background on all my iPads is still the stock background, because I have never found one that I really like, and I hardly ever actually see it.
In the dock we have the chrome browser, 1password, Facebook messenger, Omnifocous, Pocket Casts and YouTube.

Honestly I need to work on how I use folders and do a general cleanup of the iPad.

The iPad is probably my number one content consumption device, it I am not consuming it on the iPad I am probably using the iPad to control it. I quite like the iPad for reading and use it in place of books made of paper or a more dedicated device such as a kindle.

Second iPad

the iPad Pro 9.7”

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#mulipadLifestyle Myke Hurley would be so proud.

This iPad was the first apple device I owned since the iPhone 3GS, I used to use it for all the tasks I currently use the other iPad for, as many of you will have experienced once you go 120hz you never go back.

Mostly I just use this iPad for audio when I am going to sleep, if I need to loan out a computer this iPad is often the machine to get loaned, like the other iPad I need to clean up my app folders

In the dock I have Audible for audiobooks, Pocket Casts, Google Play Music, the chrome web browser, YouTube and Plex media server.

The Work Machine

The 15” MacBook Pro 2015

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So I don’t actually own this machine so I try not to personalise this machine too much. It’s a workhorse, and it’s pretty great to use, the 2015 is really the peek of MacBooks. I just don’t like that it sounds like a jet engine most of the time when I am using it.

In the dock we have, finder, launchpad, settings, chrome, terminal, sublime text, omnifocus, sametime instant messaging, eclipse, visuals studio code, slack, Cisco VPN, and postman.

I have to hand it back in a month and I really think I am going to miss this machine, considering what I will be going back too.

The Personal Machine

The 15” MacBook Pro 2016

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The much reviled 2016 MacBook Pro, I consider myself lucky that the keyboard has not failed on it. This machine came into my life in early 2017 after my much loved 2011 MacBook Pro’s logic board died suddenly and I had desperately needed to replace the machine.

For the background I am using a CGP grey wallpaper, I like it for it’s simplicity.

In the dock we have finder, launchpad, settings, chrome, terminal, visual studio code, steam, eclipse, 1password, PS4 remote play, Pocket Casts, omnifocus, scrivener and Github desktop.

This is a machine that I use for side projects and relaxing, I stream a lot of content to the computer from other devices.

The office

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My panorama did not stich together very well so I apologise for the image quality.
So from left to right, things of interest are

  • My launchpad mini, I don’t use this for music but to trigger macros since products like text expander just don’t click with me.
  • Above the launchpad is my 10.5” iPad Pro
  • Above the iPad is a 50” TV, most of the time it is off but sometimes I will put on some e-sports while I work
  • Below the tv is my work laptop, it is covered in stickers, mostly code stuff
  • Below the laptop is a Corsair k70 keyboard, (cherry brown switches)
  • Next to the laptop a Nintendo switch in its dock, my office is a charger mess.
  • Under the mess of chargers in a Jelly Pro android phone, it has a screen size of 2.45” and I mostly use it as an MP3 player
  • Next to the mess of cables in my windows 10 desktop, mostly I use it for games which I stream to my MacBook.
    -Next to the desktop is the MacBook Pro 2016
  • The rest of the desk is covered in nick nacks of various sizes and types.
  • behind the monitor is a NUC Linux server that I am using for plex.

The Apps

iOS & Android

So why do I use the apps I use on the mobile platforms? Generally speaking when I am looking for an app I want it to solve a problem I have in part or in full and work everywhere, it’s why for all of my devices I have Pocket Casts installed, it is an app that represents exactly what I want from an app, but more on why Pocket Casts later.

Android

Why does the phone app get to live in the dock? Personally, I am a person who does not like making phone calls, however I am forced into many meetings and business calls, and so I since I am already agitated by making a phone call, I want the process of doing so to be a simple as possible, which is why I am still using the default phone app, nothing quite beats the stability and lack of frills of the phone app.

Google chrome, as a developer it’s an almost required tool, the chrome developer tools are head and shoulders above the rest, and thus it makes sense to just bite the bullet and make chrome the default web browser for the desktop, but why mobile? And the answer is reduced friction, by having a unified mobile and desktop experience, I find there to be a reduced cognitive load and I don’t have to think about the different experience metaphors for different products.

Pocket Casts is one of the first apps I install on any device, I am a huge consumer of audio, since I listen to most things on 3x speed with a silence trim, my clients site is currently a 5 hour round time from my home (welcome to Australia) and so I get through a lot. When I was looking for a podcast client I was originally going to download Overcast, but accidentally got pocket casts instead.

Facebook Messenger, how I wish I could get away from thee, about a year ago I gave up on using the main Facebook website and only use messenger, but my wife and a number of close friends refuse to give it up so I am stuck with it as a primary communications tool.

The camera is in the dock for similar reasons to the phone, when you need to use the camera you want it to just be there, and not have to muck about searching in the app draw

iOS

1password is a lifesaver of an application, I used to keep all of my logins stored in plain text in a google keep file, it was not a good system especially since I only used a limited number of passwords. Two years ago I went on a security bender and started fixing my bad practices and 1password has gone a long way to helping achieve that

As a developer it’s easy to think you need to solve every problem yourself and forget to check for existing solutions, I am glad that I came across omnifocus, it handles all of my task organisation, it was a life saver when planing my wedding. Omnifocus is a rare example of an app that is critical to my day to day and is platform restricted. Before the announcement of the omnifocus website with omnifocus 3 I was investigating the possiblity of writing an omnifoucs REST API and android app, hopefully I won’t have to pull that project out of the archives.

The YouTube app is pretty self explanatory, for a content consumption device, the YouTube app is really the only way to consume video content from that platform.

Audible, is my app of choice for audiobooks and it sometimes feels like the only app for audiobooks, Sometimes I get sick of listening to podcasts and an audiobook nicely breaks it up and it allows for more deep dives into single topics

Google play music, a long time ago I gave all my data over to the google beast for there services, and so I am actually a play music subscriber, when I go for a short drive I like to listen to it in place of audiobooks or podcasts, it’s very rare that there is a truly quite moment in my life (as someone who lives a bit more bush then most its a big deal)

Plex is a great bit of software, like many people I have a large library of DVD’s which I have converted to a digital format, and Plex is how I access them, admittedly the mobile app is little more then a remote to me and I almost exclusively casts what I am watching to a TV

OS X / macOS

The terminal is a fantastic application, one of the smartest things apple has ever done is having the bash shell right there, and with Mac magic like homebrew, there just is not a terminal I like using more. I use the terminal everyday for work so naturally it lives in the doc.

Sublime text, has replaced the system notepad for me, its often an app that I use to dump short snippets of text into, I used to use it actively for development before I switched to mostly using. Visual studio code.

Visual studio code has become my IDE of choice for writing JavaScript in, the TypeScript support is nice, and while it has a windows feel to the UI, it does not feel completely out of place on the Mac, it is very actively developed and has an approachable plugin system, gitlense is so useful.

Slack is fast becoming or has become the enterprise instant messaging application of choice, and while it is yet another electron app, the native application has nicer notification pop ups.

My http needs a pretty simple most of the time, but why bother to learn curl when applications like postman exist, while it is yet another electron app, it is very powerful and I appreciate its simplicity.

Steam is just one of the best ways to buy and manage a library of video games, and while the Mac does not have a reputation for games in my experience the MacBooks can do a surprising amount (particularly with the grand strategy games I like to play ), mostly I just stream games on my local network from my more powerful desktop PC

PS4 remote play helps my marriage out a lot, my day has three distinct chucks, early morning where I often do education, the workday where I work and the evenings where I mostly play, the reason I stream a lot of games is that my wife wants me to sit with her while she watches TV, but I really hate just watching TV, I get so board, often I like to listen to something an audio book or a podcast and do something with my hands. PS4 remote play gives me that as the PlayStation is connected to the same tv that my wife uses, so she can be watching a cooking show and I can sit next to her and stream to my laptop.

Scrivener is what I use to collect my thoughts on a topic by topic bases, while I would love to write a non fiction book someday, for now I mostly use it to collect documentation for each project that I am working on.

I can’t work without git, one of the first steps of creating any project for me is making the git repo, and github desktop is just a nice wrapper for what is an incredibly powerful command line tool.

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