The Tools I Use
Here's a list of software and hardware that I use on a regular basis as a developer and content creator. I will be keeping it updated.
Every once in a while an email rolls in where someone asks me about my development environment or has questions about certain hardware.
I thought it would be fun to list out everything I use here. Keep in mind, I change things around quite a bit, but I will keep this article updated.
If I missed anything, let me know in the comments at the bottom of the post.
Windows 10 Professional as a host, and xubuntu 14 as a guest. It’s not a “normal” Windows set up by any means because I run nearly every app I have through a VM. Check out the full guide because you get the best of both worlds without having to dual boot.
Code Editor and Terminal
Sublime Text 3 is my goto editor. A while back I wrote a detailed guide that shows how I configured it. I want to switch to VSCode eventually but I feel like it’s still not there, but it’s getting closer every month.
XFCE4 terminal with the Droid Sans Mono font at size 10. That font is free by the way.
For browsers I’ve used Opera from about 2006 to 2014, then I tried FireFox for a year and now I use Chrome. I’m happy with Chrome in terms of performance.
For password management I use a command line tool called pass. Currently at 200+ passwords.
For finance tracking and accounting I like GnuCash. It is way better than Excel for accounting and it’s open source.
Computer, Desk and Phone
I run dual monitors and my primary monitor is a Dell UltraSharp U2515H 2560x1440 monitor . I wrote a huge guide on how pick to a monitor if you’re interested in how I came to that conclusion. I love it, and it was one of the most substantial upgrades I’ve made in 5 years. The other monitor is a 1920x1080 HP Pavilion 22xi which works well enough.
I assembled my workstation from individual parts back in 2014 and added a few accessories as time went on. Everything below was $850 back when I got it (some prices have went up a lot since then):
- CPU: Intel i5 3.2GHz
- RAM: 16GB (2x 8GB) G.Skill RipJaws X Series
- SSD: Crucial MX 100 256GB
- Video card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750
- Internal HD: WD 1TB SATA 6GB/s 7200 RPM
- External HD (for backups): WD 1TB My Passport (Black)
- Motherboard: AsRock H97M Pro4
- Case: NZXT Source 210
- CPU heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
- Fans: Noctua NF-P12 PWM
- PSU: XFX TS Series 550w (wouldn’t buy this one today)
- Keyboard: AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard
- Mouse: Logitech Wired G400
- Mouse pad: SteelSeries QcK mass
In addition to the above I use a Huion H610 Pro drawing tablet and stylus. I’m not an artist by any means but it’s excellent for writing hand written slides and notes. Some of my blog post images were drawn with it.
I also use a modified Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35 (2015) to run Linux. It’s great for a portable device which doubles as a $350 laptop capable of doing development work on the go. I do a lot of reading and some coding outside with this device. I wrote a massive guide on how to set that up.
I wanted to try standing, so I built a custom standing desk for $50. I’ve been standing at my workstation nearly full time since the start of 2016 and I still do today. The screenshot in the above link is a bit old. It’s been modified to have a shelf for the drawing tablet and those aren’t the monitors / mic I use today.
I am a big fan of whiteboards, so I put together an 8x4 foot whiteboard for about $15. That post also shows the latest standing desk modification, monitor and mic that I use.
Recording and Music
I’m a HUGE fan of Camtasia 9 for recording screencasts. It’s what I used in my latest Docker course and will be using for future courses. It easily saves me dozens of hours of editing for each course. It also works for MacOS and Windows, and you can use 1 license on more than 1 machine.
I use an Audio-Technica AT2005 dynamic microphone. In my opinion it’s the best screencast / podcast microphone you’re going to find unless you spend $300-400+. It’s what I used for the Dive Into Docker course (and all courses in the foreseeable future). I also use a Dragonpad pop filter and this boom arm. The arm really helps with positioning and reducing keyboard noise.
I do all of my audio editing and music listening through a pair of Sony MDR V6 headphones and I’m extremely pleased with them. I wrote a huge guide on how to pick headphones before, so check that out. I think I will use these headphones for the rest of my life.
REAPER is the only audio processing software that I use. It’s an excellent DAW and lets you process audio in real-time. That is super important since I record so much audio for my courses because it cuts down a lot of time on post-production editing.