useslist of software/hardware I use

I really enjoy a good "uses" post. I think the first I ever stumbled across was Wes Bos', back when I was learning web-development. As someone fascinated by developer tooling, I loved hearing what other programmers use in their day-to-day lives.

I try to keep this page up to date, both for my future nostalgia as well as for anyone else out there who enjoys the "genre".

I got hooked on vim(1) mid-college (~2017) and never looked back. It's first on this list (with a dedicated section!) because it was the "gateway program" that got me interested in developer tooling in the first place! If not my most important tool, it's definitely the most impactful.

Other editors I use:

  • vi(1) for system configs (super snappy on OpenBSD)
  • ed(1) for fun and for slow/serial connections (yes, really!)

I try emacs every once and a while because I think Lisp is awesome (and far superior to VimScript), but I don't really dig the "run everything in emacs" approach.

I've been passionate about running free and open source (FOSS) operating systems since ~2019 when I first started using Linux seriously at work. At some point in ~2020, I discovered OpenBSD and slowly started putting it on all of my personal machines. I'm currently running:

  • OpenBSD for my laptop, desktop, server (hosting this site — see self-hosted(7)), and home router/firewall
  • Arch Linux for work (needed a cutting edge kernel for newer work laptop)

In the past I've also used Alpine Linux on my laptop and Debian on my desktop.

I'm a huge fan of command line tools for their composability and keyboard-centric UI. Some of my favorites include:

  • git(1) for all things plaintext: notes, code, config backups, etc
  • tmux(1) for terminal scrollback, searching, copy/paste buffers, multiplexing, persistent sessions over dropped ssh(1) connections... really a necessity!
  • mutt(1) for personal email (great for mailing lists!)
  • pass(1) for password/secret management
  • sh(1) for glueing it all together, of course!

After years of mushy laptop keyboards, I discovered mechanical keyboards through a coworker and I've been clicking and clacking happily ever since!

I started off with an Ultimate Hacking Keyboard with Kailh browns (had to be quiet in a shared office), but I've been using a Keyboardio Atreus for about a year. I switched in a (successful!) attempt to reduce finger movement and strain. Plus, I'm a remote worker now, and I get to clack away at Kailh white switches, which is awesome.

When I started really getting into Linux at work and home ~2019, I installed Arch on my old macbook and suffered at the hands of NVIDIA and poor hardware support until I ditched my macbook for a ThinkPad X220 (2011, i7, 2GB RAM) that I bought used for ~$130 off Ebay. A simple upgrade to a SSD and it runs great!

I use the laptop for casual browsing and hobby coding (I try to ensure my hobby projects all run on old hardware!), but its CPU age really shows on big websites or compilations.

I built my first desktop (a long standing nerd goal of mine) at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when it became clear I'd be working from home and my 2GB of laptop RAM wouldn't cut it.

I tried (and failed) to keep the parts entirely FOSS-friendly, but I ended up getting a GPU that needed the AMDGPU firmware blobs (hard to find a fully free graphics card these days it seems). With a high-end CPU (AMD Ryzen 7 3700X) but a low-end GPU (Radeon RX 560), it was a reasonable price. And with 16GB of RAM, it handles my work environment well.

September 14, 2021 OpenBSD 7.0

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