The Setup


I enjoy reading The Setup.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m @JamesGecko, and I do web development. Right now it’s mostly PhoneGap and Ruby on Rails stuff.

What hardware do you use?

My non-work home machine is a gaming desktop I assembled for cheap on Black Friday 2012. It packs an Intel i5-3570K CPU, 8 GB RAM, a GeForce GTK 560 Ti, two boot SSDs, and a large mechanical HD. Three scavenged monitors provide display. I use a Microsoft Natural 4000 Ergonomic keyboard and a Thermaltake Azurues gaming mouse. It runs Windows 8.1. In theory it dual boots Linux, but no Linux distro seems to get the bootloader right automatically; I have to run boot-repair-disk after every single install. Last time I ran Ubuntu’s upgrade application, it did something terrible; right now the Linux partition won’t boot the kernel for some reason. Year of Linux on the desktop, any decade now.

My work machine is a laptop is a 13” 2013 Macbook Air. It’s fast enough, and the light weight is quite noticeable when carrying it in a bag for long periods of time.

I use an iPhone, because there were no great Android phones on Verizon two years ago, and I don’t like OEMs holding security updates hostage.

I have a 2012 Nexus 7 for ebooks and little games. Worst case of bitrot I’ve ever seen; it’s gotten super slow for no apparent reason. A factory reset didn’t fix it. Considering jumping ship to iPad mini at some point.

I have a first generation Raspberry Pi Model B, which I’m not using for anything right now. SD cards are kind of volatile, and I want to have an automatic provisioning script. I also want to mess around with RISC OS a bit.

And a 2DS. Because Nintendo has great system-exclusive games, and it gives me something to do while commuting.

I’m currently soldering a ErgoDox keyboard. It’s sitting in a cardboard box and I pull it out and work on it a little bit every few weeks.

And what software?

A terminal, Vim, and Firefox cover about 90% of my work needs.

Fish is my primary shell. Posix compatibility (or lack thereof) bites me every now and then, but it’s easier to wrangle than Zsh.

Vim! Preferably Gvim or MacVim; they’re just ever so slightly faster. I also use Pentadactyl in Firefox and Vimium in Chrome. Pentadactyl can be kind of buggy though; it often ignores the Ctrl+V shortcut used override it’s shortcuts and just send keystrokes to the webpage.

Most of my screens have the brightness turned way down, and I use Flux on everything possible.

I use Simplenote with NValt, Resoph Notes, and mobile clients to sync most of my text notes, Pocket for swapping urls between devices, and Dropbox for almost everything else. BitTorrent Sync is almost there, but it has odd glitches and forgets about shares and such. SyncThing, recently renamed Pulse, is another sync app I have my eye on.

And of course there’s Steam on my gaming desktop.

What would be your dream setup?

I’m pretty close to it with my desktop. I It would be really nice if the case was smaller and completely silent, but that would require sacrificing some performance or some money. I’m extremely interested in Intel’s NUC boxes; I’m hoping future generations will be both beefy and possible to cool with just a large heat sink.

Oh! Monitors with a higher DPI and more disk space. But everyone wants that; it hardly even counts.

My ideal phone would be an unlocked Android phone with the form factor, responsiveness and battery life of my iPhone. Also, Flux. I want Flux on everything; it’s crazy that it’s not built in.

My ideal tablet would be an iPad Air without Apple as a gatekeeper. The ability to sideload apps without jailbreaking would be sufficient. That’s never going to happen, though.

© 2021 JamesGecko