What I'm Using

Last updated 2022-08-02

Nobody asked but I figured I'd make a 'uses' page since they seem somewhat popular and, as someone who is VERY particular about the technology I use, I thought I'd make one too. I try to buy used equipment whenever possible to not only reduce e-waste, but also to save money. 5 year old smartphones and laptops are perfectly fine for the vast majority of things, especially when you use free and open source operating systems.

Aricebo


Hardware


I use a 2017 Thinkpad X1 Carbon (nicknamed 'Aricebo') with an Intel Core i7 and 16gb or RAM that I bought used off of eBay. I don't have a desktop and haven't since 2007 and have never felt the need to own another one. 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. One benefit to this setup is that I can throw everything into a backpack and wherever I am, my workflow is essentially the same.

When I'm not traveling, 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 2TB NVME external drive that I keep all my media backed up on. When I am traveling, I only bring my laptop and external drive.

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 also have a rooted Onyx Boox Poke 3 I use for reading books and articles.


Operating System


I recently switched from LMDE to Arch Linux as my OS though I still use the Cinnamon desktop. I've been using Linux as my primary OS for personal stuff for more than 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.

The 2017 Pixel 2 XL I use is running LineageOS with no Google services. I use a text-only launcher called Olauncher and keep very few apps on my phone. I primarily use it for Signal, reading books or saved articles (when I don't have my ereader), and listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks.


Programs


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, simple, and they're just fun to use. It would be ridiculous to list all the programs I have installed, so here's a list of the programs I use I use most often:


Mobile Apps


All of the apps installed on my device are from F-Droid with the exception of Signal. F-Droid is fantastic because it's a great source for applications with zero tracking and advertisements. I try to keep as few apps on my phone as possible to minimize the likelihood I reflexively pull out phone and start playing with it. Some of the apps I use are:


Thanks for reading. Feel free to send comments, questions, or recommendations to hey@chuck.is