My computer setup in 2021

17 Jan 2021

After using my trusty workhorse Apple Macbook 13” that I bought in 2013, I bought a brand new Apple Macbook Air 13” in December 2020. Setting up a new computer customized for your particular needs is a bigger job than I thought.

To save time the next time, I decided to document my setup for future reference.

How I write code

Vim

I started with empty vimrc and slowly adding stuff I need. I’m using just a couple of plugins (Nerdtree, ctrlp, supertabl, vim-endwise). Very minimal Vim setup.

Too bad I’m also using Sublime Text, so I probably don’t reach the higher levels of Vim mastery.

Vim

Sublime Text

The reason why I use Sublime Text instead of VSCode is the speed. Sublime Text launches almost as fast as Vim. For a color scheme, I’m using Monokai.

Sublime Text

Dash

Dash is my choice for documentation browser. The thing about Dash and other documentation browsers is the ability to store documentation offline, making it lightning fast to search for something.

I’ve configured Dash to open with Command-§, it’s the button just below Escape-key.

Dash

Fonts

I spend my days staring at text on my screen, so I want to optimize the font face for reading and writing code. Inconsolata and M+ are both monospaced fonts designed with great attention to detail and they are specially designed for reading and writing code. Both fonts match exactly what I need.

Inconsolata

M+ font family

How I listen to music

DI.FM

I stumbled upon DI.FM in ~2000 and kept listening to it occasionally during the 2000s. Back then DI.FM was called Digitally Imported. Turns out they are one of the first internet radios. They’ve been online since 1999!

A few of weeks ago, I found DI.FM again! I like the idea that a living person curates music instead of an algorithm so now I’m a happy paying customer.

DM.FM (Digitally Imported)

Spotify

I’m constantly contemplating discontinue my Spotify subscription. It plays music and that’s about it. That is the job I hire Spotify for. Spotify does not see it that way, as it wants to push features that I don’t need. As soon as a better alternative hits my radar, the threshold for a switch is very minimal and Spotify goes bye-bye.

I’m already a paying customer. Using paying customers to growth hack more users feel like a dark pattern.

How I take notes

Apple Notes

This is a disappointment. The internet is filled with great note-taking apps but I’ve settled to Apple Notes. I don’t even know what’s the official name for it, is it Notes.app or Apple Notes or maybe iNotes? Yet, Apple Notes fills 90% of my use cases. Maybe the note-taking apps are so commoditized, there are so few differences between them that I don’t need to look elsewhere?

I’ve used several note-taking apps, I did use Bear several years until I just found myself using Notes more than Bear. Bear is a great piece of software, I just gravitated more towards Apple Notes.

Bear

Numi

Numi is an interesting combination of a calculator and a notepad. It’s a calculator but on steroids. It’s becoming an integral part of my workflows since I can use variables and write long “notes” that are actually calculations.

I’ve configured Numi to open with Option-§, it’s the button just below Escape-key in the Finnish keyboard layout.

Numi

Other Apps

iTerm

The Mac OS terminal is really close to iTerm feature-wise, but iTerm offers a bit more features and configuration. I’ve configured iTerm to open Sublime Text when I click a text that resembles a full path of a file name, like in Ruby on Rails error stack trace.

iTerm

Rectangle.app

Rectangle allows me to move and resize windows with hotkeys. Very simple and useful app! I just have a couple of hotkeys defined, move the window to left-half or right-half of the screen.

Rectangle

TweetBot

TweetBot is the best! It shows me a timeline without suggested tweets or ads. It only shows content from accounts that I follow. It makes Twitter feel like it’s 2010 again.

Tweetbot for iOS Tweetbot for Mac OS

Homebrew

Does not need any introductions, it’s the package manager for Mac OS.

Homebrew

Oh My Zsh

I just installed Oh My Zsh and without any configuration, I got a command-line prompt that shows Git status (branch!) and Git completion. No extra configuration was needed!

Oh My Zsh

VLC (VideoLAN Client)

I mostly use VLC to play DI.FM internet radio channels. I’d like to think that VLC (which is a native application) eats less battery than a browser playing DI.FM stream.

VideoLAN is a non-profit organization that develops VLC and related products. It was founded in 2009. The project originally started in 1996 as a student project and it’s been an open-source project since 1998.

VLC

F.lux

F.lux keeps me to sleep better. It adjusts the color temperature of my screen to match with my local time. It tints my screen red during the evenings, so my brain thinks we’re getting closer to bedtime. Brilliant!

I’m not sure how effective it is, but I have no plans living without F.lux.

F.lux