What I Use
Last Updated: July 2022
I have a custom build PC. It runs an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-Core 3.8GHz Processor with 32 GB of RAM and an older, but still decent nVidia GTX 1060 graphics card.
Back in June, my old 2015 MacBook Pro made some popping noises which scared me into upgrading my laptop. I was hoping to hold off and wait for Apple to release a 15 or 16" MacBook Pro with the M1 chip, but since I couldn't trust my laptop to not catch fire, I decided the smaller 13" MacBook Pro would work for me. It took a little bit of time to get used to the smaller screen, but so far it's been a fantastic machine. I keep it plugged into a docking station most of the time so I'm able to use it with my dual 27" monitors. The battery life on it is amazing.
In my personal office where I have my MacBook and PC, I run dual 27" LG 4k monitors on arms. The screens are absolutely stunning and it's nice to have a browser open on one window, and Visual Studio Code open on the other when I'm developing.
I use the Keychron K4 with the aluminum frame and Gateron Red switches on both my work and personal machines. I love its Bluetooth connectivity between my MacBook and my PC as well as its compact frame and number keypad.
I have the Logitech MX Master 3 for both my personal and work desk.
I'm currently using an iPhone 12 Pro. The screen is absolutely stunning and it takes fantastic photos.
To go along with my iPhone, I have the Apple Watch Series 5. The watch is awesome for keeping track of my fitness when running & working out. The trick with the watch is to be selective about what alerts you want shared between your phone and your wrist. In my case, most alerts are off on the watch because let's face it, how many notifications need to be responded to immediately? The occasional phone call I take on the watch makes me feel like Dick Tracy.
I recently upgraded to the 2021 model of the 11" iPad Pro. The screen is beautiful and the pencil magnetically attaching to the side of the tablet is awesome. It makes a great RSS & news reader as well as a device to watch videos now and again.
While the iPad does a good job for reading the news, I love my Kindle Paper White for reading books and long pieces. The screen is easy on the eyes, good in the sun, and in darker rooms.
I also found out that Libby works through my township's library, so I can borrow books for my Kindle as well as use the Amazon store. I'm not a super huge fan of being tied to Amazon, but I can't help but love the convenience of it. I do utilize Calibre from time to time to help organize my library.
I use several different pairs of headphones depending on where I am and what I'm doing, or in some cases, what the battery situation of the different pairs is.
Apple AirPods Pro: It took a little bit of persuading and a sale, but I picked a pair of these up and the integration into the iPhone and iPad ecosystem is pretty awesome. The battery and sound quality is top notch. I use these primarily with my iPhone when I'm running or listening to podcasts. I do use them from time to time when I'm out on the porch with my MacBook Pro.
Sennheiser HD 558: I got these a long while ago and still use them while working at my desk quite a bit.
Sony WH-1000XM4: I got these just before Christmas 2021 on a Woot refurbished deal and they are fantastic.
My primary camera is the Canon EOS 60D. I don't take it out as much as I'd like to, but I love what I can do with it. I still have so much more to learn and I'm sure what I can do is only a small subset of what is possible. As an added bonus, my wife has the same camera, so we can share lenses.
My secondary camera is the Canon PowerShot G1X. I got this to have a smaller camera with some pretty powerful features. It's not quite pocket-size, but it is easier to carry around than the 60D.
To go with my 60D, I have several lenses for various uses.
Tamron AF 28-75mm: A former co-worker recommended this lens to me as a modest upgrade to the kit lens that came with my camera. It's become my general go-to lens.
Canon Telphoto EFS 55-250mm: When I bought the camera from Best Buy, it came with this lens. It's not a bad option for taking photos of far away objects.
Canon Wide Angle EFS 10-18mm: Lauren got this for me for Christmas one year and it adds a nice way for me to get more in my shots.
Canon Kit Lens EFS 18-135mm: Just the standard lens that came with the 60D.
I have 2 GoPro Hero 3's that I occasionally use to record my hockey games when I'm in net. It helps me see where I need to improve.
I also have an older Sony point-and-shoot digital camera that I keep lying around in case I find a good use for it.
Visual Studio Code: My primary editor for my development.
Visual Studio 2022: On my desktop, I will sometimes use Visual Studio 2022 for some of the backend work for my .NET projects.
For my .NET apps, I stick with the Microsoft stack and use Microsoft SQL Server.
Azure Data Studio: I found this when I needed to connect to SQL from my MacBook, now I use it over SSMS.
Docker: I also use Docker to run a SQL Server image on my MacBook Pro for local development.
Visual Studio Code has an amazing suite of plugins to make development easier and faster.
- Auto Close Tag
- Auto Rename Tag
- C# Extensions
- Jest Runner
- JS Refactor
- JSON tools
- Reactjs Code Snippets
- XML Tools
I'm not going to bother to list everything since there's so much, but here's a basic run down.
I've been using Braveto browse the web. I don't use the Brave Rewards functionality, but the browser is fast and the blocking of trackers and ads is important to me.
My primary email is hosted through FastMail with my kpwags.com domain. I appreciate having control of my own email without tracking.
For clients I use Thunderbird on Windows and the default Mail app on iOS and MacOS.
I've gone back and forth quite a bit on notes. I currently use a Dropbox-Synced folder full of markdown files to keep notes.
Tasks & To-Dos
I've always jumped around between apps tracking what I want to accomplish. Currently I'm using Things to keep track of my tasks. I have it on my iPhone, iPad, & MacBook.
I'm a big proponent of RSS feeds. I feel like they're so much better than social media. Others can probably describe the benefits better than I can, but every site, especially blogs should have one. I use Feedbin to manage my feeds. It has a lot of nice features to improve the experience. I use Reeder on iOS to read my feeds.
I currently use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to process and edit my photography.
I use Apple's built in Activity app and my Apple Watch to keep track of my runs and bike rides.
While I still do buy music, I primarily use Spotify to listen to music. The ability to listen to such a huge library, combined with it's amazing discovery modes, make it a tough deal to beat.
XBOX Series X
I was lucky enough to get the XBOX Series X on launch and it's been a fantastic gaming system. It's full backwards compatability is awesome and Microsoft's GamePass is an amazing deal.
I recently managed to get my hands on the PlayStation 5.
I also have the Nintendo Wii, PS3, GameCube, N64, & Super Nintendo lying around for when my nostalgia itch comes and goes.
For our living room TV, we use a 3rd generation Apple TV for streaming.
For our bedroom TV, we use a Roku for access to our streaming services.
We use a Google Home & 2 Google Home Minis to listen to music and control our smart lights.
We use Philips Hue for much of our smart lighting. We have under cabinet lights and light bulbs in our living room that allow for integration into the Google ecosystem.