Stuff I Use
The stuff I use every day to keep myself organized, efficient, and entertained.
Updated December 2015

Mobile Devices

I use an iPhone 6S Plus. I was an Android user for a long time, but I was tired Android device manufacturers compromising on the features that mattered to me, and the iPhone offered an enticing balance of aesthetics, build quality, battery life, and camera.

photo of phone

I backed the Coin’s crowdfunding campaign a couple years ago. I’ve since received my Coin and had it upgraded to the latest NFC-compatible version. I still usually use my normal credit card but it’s nice to have the Coin loaded up with all the different debit, discount, and gift cards that are nice to have but not worth carrying. I’m a long-time user of the Machine Era Wallet - I love its design and how sturdy it is, but I wish the strap was made from slightly nicer material.

Tablets

I have a first-generation iPad Air. I don’t really use it much at home, but when I’m traveling it’s indispensable. Before a long flight, I load it up with games, magazines, newspapers, and all the TV shows, and movies that I’m behind on.

photo of travel

I also have an Amazon Fire Tablet which I bought on impulse on Black Friday in 2015 when they were on sale for $35. It’s slow and doesn’t have a great screen, but it does have an SD card slot which means it can hold any of the media that my 16GB iPad can not.

These days, most of my reading happens while I’m traveling on my Kindle Paperwhite.

Headphones & Earbuds

When I’m walking to work or riding public transit, I use Earin earbuds; I backed them on Kickstarter in 2012 and waited a long time for them to arrive, but the wait was definitely worth it. They’re what Bluetooth earbuds are meant to be; they sound great and there’s no silly-looking neck strap or wires. They just look like somebody cut the wires off of normal earbuds.

On longer trips I use the Shure SE215-Ks which sound amazing and are super comfy.

For headphones, I use Bose QC15s at work to keep out the noise of an open workspace. And at home, I use Audio Technica’s ATH-M50s.

When I discovered that the M50s could be modified to make their 3.5mm cable detachable, I spent a long night of cursing and burning myself with a soldering-iron until I’d done the same to mine.

Computer

My primary computer is a custom-built tower in the most minimalist case I could find. On the inside I’ve got an 8-core processor, 16 GB of RAM, a aging, mid-range graphics card, and a closed-circuit liquid cooling system.

I run Windows 10 in tandem with a headless instance of my favorite Linux distro ArchLinux; this allows me to run all my unix-only builds and compilation in the command line while editing and viewing files with native Windows apps.

I also have an aging 13” rMBP which is long-overdue for an update. I’ve been considering updating to the new 12” Macbook, but I think I’d rather wait until version 2.0, as well as a bit more USB-C support from third parties.

photo of tower2
photo of mouse
photo of desk

In addition to my laptop and desktop, I have a tiny Intel NUC and a Western Digital NAS which I use to store all my media as well as RAIDed backups of my RAW photos. Eventually I’d like to get rid of the Intel NUC altogether and have the NAS run the show, but for now most NAS devices just don’t have the processing power I’d need.

Mouse

I use a Logitech MX Master. It feels and looks great and the battery lasts forever - I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a wired mouse.

Keyboard

I bought my first mechanical keyboard my freshman year of school, and I’ve never looked back. The first couple mechanical keyboards I owned were ugly and felt cheap, and I was constantly on the lookout for something clean and minimalist.

When the CODE Keyboard was released, I’d found the right one. I went with Cherry MX Green switches which provide a satisfying click on each keypress but will undoubtedly annoy everybody within 10 meters of you. My only complaint is that it’s not wireless.

Monitor

I’d had my eye on an Apple Cinema Display for a while, but its 2560 x 1600 resolution is long overdue for an update that just doesn’t seem to be coming. Instead, I bought a cheap 4k monitor the ASUS PB287Q.

Its color reproduction isn’t perfect, and its viewing angles don’t hold a candle to some of the pricier IPS 4k panels out there, but for the price, it’s hard to complain.

Home Theater

I didn’t know much about audio until I did a co-op at an audio company in China. While I was there, I was able to pick up a ton of super high-quality audio equipment that I would never have otherwise been able to afford for materials costs. I left China with an entire suitcase full of speakers.

I use Cambridge Audio surround sound speakers with my desktop and TV in tandem with a Niles and Cambridge Audio subwoofer respectively. I have enough speakers for a 5.1 system but didn’t want to drill holes in my apartment wall to install them, so for now my home theater is only running 2.1.

I drive my computer’s audio with a small, off-brand, but great-sounding desktop amp and the home theater’s with an old Harman Kardon receiver which I’ve been meaning to replace with one that supports HDMI-CEC. My television is a 49” 1080p LG that I bought on sale - it’s not smart and it’s not 4k but it looks great and it’s the perfect size for my space.

I cut the “cable cord” a long time ago and have been streaming Netflix, Amazon Instant, and Plex happily ever since. I use both the latest generation Apple TV and an Amazon Fire Stick. I also have a Steam Link which I use to stream the occasion rounds of Rocket League or Grand Theft Auto to my TV.

photo of remotes
photo of tv2

Photography

I bought my first real camera - a Sony NEX3 - in 2013. I’d always wanted to learn more about photography and I was headed back to China for a few months for work and had always regretted not owning a camera the first time I lived there.

Eventually I sold it and bought the Olympus OMD-EM10. I used it for about a year and took it on a long trip through Africa before I realized that as much as I loved using the camera, I just wasn’t happy with the crop ratio of the micro-four-thirds system. Micro four-thirds lenses are cheap and plentiful, but I just couldn’t capture the kinds of wide angle shots of landscapes and architecture that I found myself shooting most often while traveling.

photo of gopro
photo of rx100
photo of a7

I’ve since sold my Olympus and made the jump to full-frame with the Sony A7. I bought it with the surprisingly good 28-70mm kit lens; I don’t see myself spending money on glass until the Sony FE lens selection increases and prices come down.

I also own a first-generation Sony RX100. I bought heavily used for a really good deal; I wanted something that I could bring with me any time I didn’t want to deal with worrying about my expensive camera and lenses being stolen or damaged. It takes some really amazing shots for its size; I’m constantly impressed by the quality of the images and videos it produces. Sometimes I can’t even tell the difference between its post-processed images and the A7’s.

I don’t do a lot of stuff that I really need an action cam for but when I’m diving or snorkeling or want to take a timelapse the GoPro Hero is a great companion. Its image and video quality isn’t great, but the pictures I take in the ocean are really more about the fun, so I don’t mind.

Bags

I’ve gone through a lot of different bags over the years; I swapped between messenger bags and backpacks, and have bought a bunch of cheap duffle bags which always ripped or broken. When I started making decent money, I decided to make investments in high-quality, long-lasting stuff.

photo of bag

For my everyday work bag and airline “personal item” I use a classic Filson Tin Cloth Briefcase. I love its timeless look and Filson’s lifetime guarantee.

When I’m traveling I either bring my Duluth Pack duffel or my hard-sided carry-on from MUJI. I carry my camera and lenses in a waxed-cotton Domke Shoulder Bag.

Software

Development

I do most of my website’s development in an even mix of VIM and Atom Editor with the latter being used to write most of my actual content as well. I’m a longtime user of the Z-Shell and its indispensable set of plugins Oh My ZSH. My OS of choice is ArchLinux because of both how fast it is to install and how quickly it boots up.

Photography & Design

I subscribe to Adobe’s Photography Create Cloud plan. It includes both Lightroom and Photoshop, though I really only ever find myself using Lightroom, and I kind of wish it was possible to only subscribe to one and not both for half the price.

I’m not much of a designer, but when I want to quickly mock up a new page or UI for something, I usually do it in Sketch. It’s super easy to learn and quite cheap relative to Adobe’s full suite.

Mobile

My iPhone is loaded with all the usual suspects (Twitter, Instagram, Google Maps, etc) but there are a few less mainstream apps that I use regularly.

To check the weather, I use Dark Sky an astoundingly accurate weather app that warns of incoming inclement weather an hour prior. I use Moves in combination with Ananda Sharma’s awesome site Gyroscope to track my physical activity and movements.