Today I am going to share the tools I use for work and for my (movable) studio. I have been working remotely since 3 years, and mostly living in Airbnb and friends/family's couches, so my setup might be quite different than many others. There are some referral links to this article, so be aware of that.
I bought my first MacBook in 2005 and since then I always used only Mac. Last year I bought a MacBook pro 15'' with touch bar and, let me say it loudly, it is the worst laptop I ever had.
The touch bar is completely useless and also it annoys me a lot. Especially when I hit the delete key and I also touch the bar which will turn off the sounds ... But this is not the real problem, as it is very well known, the keyboard is incredibly bad ... I have lost the "e", "command", "r", "d" and many others. They are still on the keyboard but it is a real pain typing it, since they fall apart easily, and since where I am living now there are no apple stores ... it is even worse.
Let's skip the battery, which since I bought lasts more or less 1 hour if I am not running any nodejs or Xcode process. I am planning to buy a new laptop, but without touch bar and, probably also smaller.
I also have an iPhone 7, iPhone 5, IWatch 2 and an Ipad mini.
While I still love apple, the security, the User Experience, and the design in general, I cannot understand what is wrong with their engineer. It seems that they are not able to release a single device that can have decent battery life. That means I also have 2 portable USB chargers always with me.
I don't have a second screen but I do have a USB-C HDMI adapter and I usually connect to either a tv or screen if necessary.
At home I keep the old MacBook 2006 that I bought (Still working as long as is connected to the charger), a second screen, a laser printer (connected to the cloud too) and a very simple desk.
When I traveled to Canada I bought also the Bose headphones quite comfort 15, they are not wireless but I also bought a Bluetooth adapter so I can use it without wires. I have the original iPhone's headphones.
I have a 2 Terabyte external hard disk and some USB sticks, just for an emergency but I do not put work or important data on these physical devices. I have a Dropbox account with about 10GB and paid ICloud subscription for saving all my photos and files, safely. Since I do not use social networks, Icloud is where I store basically all my life events, photos, and travels.
I have installed also the browser preview extension, but to be honest I mostly use the browser.I use the dark+ theme and vs-seti for the icons. The font is Inconsolata set to 16px.
I use Vim, mostly in the terminal, but I also use Mac Vim, which is very handy. In order to use Vim properly, because of the touch bar, I mapped the Caps Lock button to Esc, so now every time I have to WRITE IN CAPS, I must hold the shift button. If you use Vim you know how important is the Esc Key ...
I switched recently to Hyper for the terminal, I used Iterm for several years, but I decided to change.
For Git I recently switch between using the terminal and the github desktop app. But at work, we actually do not use (just) github, so I still use the terminal for most of the repo's work. And I like it. I do have few git aliases setup too.
While I use Safari for personal browsing, I use Chrome and Firefox for work. Chrome we know is great (although it eats so much ram ... ) but Firefox has become (again) incredibly good and fast, and boy ... the CSS grid in the inspector panel is much better than chrome. I would say also for CSS in general.
I use MacDown for writing posts and for markdown in general, is a very easy app with preview and it gets the job done.
Not related to coding, but I also use Clean My Mac, which is great especially for deleting the many cache files that mac creates. It saves me every time also from restarting the laptop.
An interesting app that I discovered recently is Koa11y which is basically like Google lighthouse but for accessibility.
Finally, I use Transmit for ftp related stuff.
I use to have a Photoshop license but I let it expire this year. I use Sketch App for designing UI and for Mockups, while at work we use Figma, which is pretty great. I still have to learn a lot about it, mostly because for prototyping I always used ADOBE XD or Sketch. So I have to get used to Figma soon.
I used a lot Illustrator, mostly for designing Icons or just some art, and I will probably re-buy it again, as I don't see Sketch better than Illustrator for design. Sketch is mostly UI oriented but Illustrator is another thing when it comes to just design.
I design my own invoices, nothing fancy but I don't use any software and I have a Sketch template that I fill every time I have to make an invoice and then export it as PDF. As for the photos I keep everything on Icloud and, some parts, also in Dropbox.
I use Mindnode for basic mind mapping for designs, ideas, apps, websites.
I use ImageOptim and JPEG mini for optimizing images, whenever I need it. I use some online services for SVG's cleaning.
I have always with me my Moleskine, where I take notes or sketch some ideas. I really like creating my to-do lists on post-it. The idea behind is that having small post-it it makes the list short and it feels quite rewarding when I simply close all the task on one post it and then I trash the paper away.
I use also Todoist and Focus for managing my time and tasks (beside Jira and the normal bugs traker) while for a personal project with a small team we use Trello.
This isn't really a setup but as a remote worker and avid traveler I really need to also have my own setup here. In the last 3 years, I travelled with a small trolley and a big Carpisa luggage. Yes, my entire life fits in 2 luggage, not kidding. I have my backpack bought on Amazon for 29 Euros, with USB connector for recharging the phones and anti-thief protection. Oh ... it has also a nice cover for when it is raining.
As a backup for internet, I use Skyroam (ref link), but thanks to the European Union law on roaming I can also use one of my phones, although not ideal it works in emergency cases. Most of my work involves coding and pushing to repo's so few gigabytes are enough. Skyroam is great but it costs really a lot of money, 8 dollars a day, and you only get up to (I think) 500 MB. So not that much.
I have a Revolut card (ref link) connected to my main credit card and bank account. I can recharge it on the fly and it comes with few nice advantages. I can withdraw for free in any ATM worldwide up to a certain amount(Italian and Spanish banks always charge some fees), but more important I can exchange currencies in real time and, almost, at the real exchange rate. This makes me save quite a lot while traveling, as I did when I was in North America last year. Another great feature of Revolut is that I can create virtual cards that I can use online and then delete it, avoiding some extra risks online.
I use also Transferwise (Ref link) as it is very handy for transferring money in different currencies.
I have a KLM, Iberia and Alitalia miles card. You don't get many miles while traveling in Europe but, in the last 6 years, I got 3 free flights thanks to miles. (I flew in North and South America too).
I use Uber, MyTaxi and Google Maps for transportation.
Whenever I choose a place to travel, the first things I check is a co-working place. Is a good place to meet new people, but also very useful for fast internet, printing and meetings.
I usually book either with Airbnb (ref link) or Booking.com and obviously, I always check for the wifi first.
Airbnb can be tricky as many pieces of informations about the place are shared only after booking, and sometimes the hosts have limited wifi or a single wifi connection working for several apartments. Be aware that this is a pretty common tactic in several places in Europe.
I have a Kindle and I switch, for reading, between the Kindle and the Kindle app on my Ipad mini, but I prefer Kindle mostly because is the original Kindle, so no extra software or distracting tools.
I also have always with me my favorite book, a real physical book. For me is just more than a book, is like a bible and every page or line in that book is an inspiration. I am talking about Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.