/uses-2020

My hardware and software setup for 2020

Published on December 22, 2019

Physical setup

My desk is a 48”x24” Herman Miller Everywhere Rectangular Table. I wish I had gone with the white finish and legs for the table.

A giant AUKEY mouse pad covers the top, granting unlimited mouse travel, and it’s much nicer to have a soft surface than to place my wrists on the bare desktop.

I sit on a comfy padded dining chair and I have no issue with it. The chair looks better than an office chair since my setup is in the living room.

I have a nice Poppin file cabinet that doubles as a second seat.

My old Mac Pro 5,1 serves as a foot rest at the moment.

Hardware

My primary computer is the Intel NUC 7i5BNH.

How I ended up on a NUC (click to expand) I was using a 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 that I bought off an office liquidation auction in 2016. Apple has dropped it from official Catalina support and I need a stable system.

I had considered getting a Mac Mini 2018, but decided against it after reading about Bluetooth and Catalina issues. I ruled out the MacBook Pro 2019 model because I hate the Touch Bar.

Rather than buy something new, I just re-purposed the NUC, serving as a media player for my TV. It’s already 3 years old, but that’s newer than the Mac Pro I had. Also, there’s Thunderbolt 3 support, so I can introduce an eGPU and 10GE port in the future.


The NUC is outfitted with:

For peripherals, I have

  • Two monitors on desk clamp mount:

    • An Acer G257HU 2560x1440 monitor
    • A Lenovo FHD monitor I got for free, in portrait mode
  • An Apple Magic Keyboard because I got used to the Apple scissor feel
  • A VicTsing gaming mouse with silent click so as not to wake the baby
  • Sony MDR7506 headphones that I never put on my head… I use them as terrible speakers even though they’re highly praised studio headphones
  • Some generic 7 port USB 3.0 powered hub
  • A USB 3.0 Anker hard drive docking station to access my old HDDs
  • A Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner because I scan everything important

Everything plugs in to a Belkin 8-Outlet surge protector. The plug shapes are annoying and block one of the 8 outlets. Wish I had some 3 inch extension cords.

Phone

I’m an Android user. I broke my last phone, the amazing LG V30, and now I use a cheap Amazon Moto X4. It’s super nice to go midrange over flagship. I will keep it as long as the GPS can reliably get me from point A to B.

My particular favorite apps are:

Audio

I use Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones. I haven’t gone full wireless because I like having the neck wire to hang them from when I’m not wearing them.

Watch

White Pebble Time running rebble services. I’ve had two pebbles, both Kickstarter backer editions. I still consider the Time the best smartwatch.

Software

My dotfiles, vimrc, zshrc, and Chrome extensions of choice are in GitHub if that’s what you’re into.

My terminal

CLI tools I use include:

  • fd for finding files and directories
  • fzf for fuzzy finding integrated with git, vim, and my shell
  • ripgrep for finding and filtering files by contents
  • z.lua a fast lua implementation if autojump / z
  • zplugin for managing my zsh plugins

My terminal emulator is Konsole now. Konsole is non-electron, supports splitting without tmux, 24-bit color, customizable shortcuts and scrollback. It checks all the boxes for me. Terminator and Termite are my other terminal choices. I am not using them because they are libvte-based and I wanted to stay in the KDE world.

OS

I’ve distro-hopped from Mojave to Manjaro Linux since switching from a Mac Pro to the NUC. I went with the KDE version because Plasma hooked me. Manjaro has the benefits of Arch Linux (IMO, primarily pacman and the AUR) without having to do the setup for the millionth time.

Editor

I still use Neovim having moved from Vim years ago. I follow HEAD since I prudent enough read the Gitter room and changelogs.

I made my own color scheme called ”meh.” It caters to what I consider important when looking at code.

My programming font of choice is Mozilla’s Fira Mono.

Neovim in Konsole

Notes

For note-taking, I converted to Joplin Notes last year. Joplin is cross-platform including mobile apps; it has markdown support, tagging, and end-to-end encrypted syncing. The desktop UI is a bit drab, but customizable via CSS.

Password manager

My password manager is Bitwarden, and I pay for Premium. I moved from KeepassXC to make sharing some passwords easier with my family.

File sync and backups

I wouldn’t be at a loss if I had re-provision with the same settings and restore my files.

For file syncing and sharing I use Dropbox and Google Drive (e.g. my resume, avatars, etc.). I always assume that things in those cloud services can go public at any time. For super private stuff, I have a Synology NAS I can access.

My cloud files and local photos and documents are synced to my NAS. I send encrypted, incremental snapshots of the synced drive to Backblaze B2 using restic running in a Docker container.

On the OS-level, I keep my /etc backed up using etckeeper, and push to a remote git repo as backup.