This page has everything I use, both hardware and software-wise, to be a productive internet person (job titles are so passé). If you decide to make your own
uses page on your site, consider adding it to uses.tech created by Wes Bos.
My primary work machine is a Mac so most tools and software listed here are macOS specific. I also want to make note of my “dotfiles” macOS bootstrapping scripts available here https://github.com/brandonb927/dotfiles.
Code Editor #
- Visual Studio Code
- Theme: Min Dark (a light variant is included with the theme)
- Font: Cascadia Code
Desktop Apps #
- Docker - development tool for running code inside a “virtual machine”
- Insomnia - a beautiful REST client
- iTerm2 - a terminal that is 100x better than the default Terminal.app
- Keybase - securing files and messages with PGP, encrypted chat, among other features.
- Ngrok - when you need to expose a port to the internet from your local network, ngrok should be your tool of choice
- ExpressVPN — the only VPN I trust because they don’t retain any logs
- 1Password Password Manager — 🇨🇦 Canadian and trustworthy, the two traits to look for in a quality product for storing passwords
- Aerial Screensaver — Beautiful FullHD and 4K video screensavers
- Alfred — because Spotlight search is ok, but not great
- Flux - reduces the strain of your screen on your eyes at night, backed by science!
- Plex Media Player - I have a Plex server at home and I use plex on all my TVs and devices
- Spotify - I have a HUGE Spotify library and I need to rock out sometimes
- Steam - I have a rather large Steam library and sometimes I like to play my games
- Sync - Dropbox alternative with end-to-end encryption
- Bartender - hides apps in your menubar and allows for a hotkey to show them
- iStat Menus - a menubar app to show stats about your system
- Kap - a beautiful minimalist screen recorder
- Rectangle - My window manager of choice in macOS (previously used Spectacle)
- Stay - I’ve never been happy with macOS window management when plugging a display into my computer, this allows you to store window locations on a per-display configuration basis
macOS Maintenance #
- AppCleaner - sometimes you just gotta delete every trace of an app that is installed
- DaisyDisk - when you want to visualize your disk space, this is the app you want to use
Office/Desk Setup #
- MacBook Pro (2021 15-inch M1 Pro, work computer)
- Standing Desk:
- Effydesk Business dual-motor standing desk frame in white - You can get $15 off your order by using my referral code
- 72” Acacia wood countertop
- Chair: Steelcase Series 1 in purple and light grey with a white base
- Dell 27” 4K U2721Q
- Dell 27” 4K U2718Q (discontinued, succeeded by the U2720Q)
- Dell 24” 2K U2515H (discontinued, succeeded by the U2518D)
- Dual monitor desktop mount — used to hold up my monitors, at a great price
- Single monitor desktop mount — used as a camera arm mount that can swing around the desk (more info on that below)
- Keyboard: Keychron K3, RGB aluminum frame with brown switches, Wrist rest, Uncrowned Kings black leather desk pad
- Mouse: Logitech MX Master 2S
- Dock: Caldigit TS3 Plus — sure it’s expensive, but this is honestly one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my home office. All the i/o that would connect to my MacBook Pro via different cables and dongles now connects to the TS3+ first, then I have a single Thunderbolt 3 cable that connects from it to the MacBook which also supplies 87W of power, all in one single mess-free cable!
- Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter — because there is only a single DisplayPort input on the TS3+ sadly, but a few Thunderbolt 3 ports, connects the two monitors to the dock
- Satechi aluminum USB-C dongle — my on-the-go adapter that lives in my backpack
- Elgato Cam Link 4K — to connect my camera to the dock
- Atomos Connect — a spare HDMI-to-USB adapter, like the Cam Link above but way less expensive!
- Webcam: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 — see my post on how to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera as a webcam
- Microphone: RØDE NT-USB-Mini — I love this microphone and its small footprint
- Microphone boom arm: RØDE PSA1 microphone boom arm
- Speakers: Bose Companion 2 Series III — the things I love about these speakers are they’re small, loud, and have two aux inputs!
- Sony WH-1000XM3 — my main headphones for both home and on-the-go use
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50 wired headphones, owned since 2013 and basically live in a drawer until I need a strictly wired set of cans
- Gaming controller: XBox One, Winter Forces
- Backpack: Peak Design 30L Everyday, Ash colour
- Water bottle: Yeti Rambler 532mL, insulated
- Lighting: Neewer 480 LED lights affixed to custom light stand poles that were converted from 9ft Neewer light stands, mounted on Manfrotto super clamps which are attached to the desk.
I have an APC 11-outlet 2880 joules surge protector mounted on the underside of the desk which is then attached to an APC 600VA UPS battery backup and surge protector on the floor.
In my 12U network rack I have (in order from top to bottom):
- TP-Link TL-SG1024D gigabit unmanaged, 1U rackmountable
- UniFi UDM Pro
- UniFi 8-port switch with PoE connected over SFP to the UDM-Pro and supplying PoE for:
- Raspberry Pi 4 B+ running Homebridge and AdGuard
- 24-port blank keystone 1U patch panel
- Reolink NVR for PoE cameras
- Plex media server
- 8-outlet 1U rack mount PDU power strip, 120V/15A
Throughout my office and the house I have a few IoT devices: some TP-Link HS105 wifi outlets, a few Sonoff DIY smart switches, and two Echo speakers which are basically used for two things: turning the smart switches on and off, and setting cooking timers.
- Nikon Z 50 + FTZ adapter — my favourite camera I’ve owned!
- Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art DC lens — purchased used, dropped once onto some rocks on a beach in 2019 but built like a tank and still works fine
- Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 lens — purchased used, though it was discontinued due to poor sales this lens is bloody amazing on APS-C cameras
- Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 lens — purchased used from Kerrisdale Cameras in Victoria, BC (best camera shop)
- Tokina AT-X 11-20mm Pro DX f2.8 lens — purchased used, this is my go-to lens for astro photography and landscape photography
- 72mm Breakthrough Photography X4 6-stop ND filter
- Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp — an invaluable piece of kit for when I’m out doing astrophotography, it’s very bright and has a “red light” mode
I also have some of my shots from Flickr over on my photos page if you’re curious!
Amateur Radio #
In my truck I currently run a Kenwood TM-V71A 50W mobile transceiver connected to a Comet CA-2X4SR dual band 40” antenna. At home I have a few Baofeng handheld transceivers with 14” Nagoya whip antennas.