Nobody asked but I figured I’d make a “uses” page since they seem somewhat popular and, as a geek, I’m very particular about the technology I use. I try to buy used equipment whenever possible to not only reduce e-waste, but also 5 year old smartphones and laptops are perfectly fine for the vast majority of things, especially when you switch to free and open source operating systems.
I use a 2017 Thinkpad X1 Carbon with an Intel Core i7 and 16gb or RAM that I bought used off of eBay. I prefer a single screen setup (laptop display only). Until recently I had my laptop closed in a vertical laptop stand and connected to a Thinkpad USB-C dock with two 27″ monitors. I used to believe that more screens meant more productivity, but for my line of work it’s not necessary and I was inadvertently complicating things. In an effort to simplify, I ditched the monitors and the dock and use just my laptop screen. In my experience, more screens means I have more things pulling at my attention, and admittedly I’m more inclined to having non-work stuff on that second screen scattering my focus.
I use a “Roosk”-like laptop stand to bring the screen up to eye level, a Thinkpad wireless keyboard (I seriously love that nipple), a Jawbone Big Jambox, and a Logitech wireless mouse. I also have a 4TB external drive that I keep all my media on.
One benefit to this setup is that I can throw everything into a backpack and wherever I am, my workflow is essentially the same. For a smartphone I’m using a 2017 Pixel 2 XL that I also bought used off of eBay. I also use some cheap Bluetooth earbuds with my laptop and phone.
I recently switched from LMDE to Arch Linux as my OS (and I still use the Cinnamon desktop). I’ve been using Linux as my primary OS for personal stuff for the better part of a decade, but it’s also been my sole operating system to do work for two years in two separate job roles. As it turns out, Linux is just fine for work and my workflow has evolved in such a way I’m much more productive and I’d likely be hindered (and frustrated) using Windows/Mac. I’m using the 2017 Pixel 2 XL that’s running LineageOS (with no Google services). I keep very few apps on my phone. I primarily use it for Signal, reading books or saved articles, and listening to music or podcasts.
I try to use software that is not only customizable but also privacy respecting. At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I use mostly terminal based programs as I’ve found them to be much more lightweight on system resources, minimal, and they’re just fun to use. The programs I use most often are:
- cmus – to play and manage my music library.
- newsboat – RSS reader for keeping up with news, blogs, and some YouTube videos.
- ranger – file manager.
- vim – text editor and to do list.
- Firefox – web browser
- Thunderbird – email client coupled with Protonmail Bridge.
- GIMP – for the occasional photo editing.