nuclearpengy - gear

My passion for the Internet and computers began with my second cellular phone; I did not have access to a computer when I was growing up. I worked and bought my first cellular phone when I was in primary school, I think it was a Motorola d520. Soon after this, WAP became a thing and I got myself a Nokia 6210, one of the first WAP-Enabled phones available in South Africa, what a solid device. This opened up my world to search and the concept of the Internet. I was in love.

I bought my first computer, an Acer laptop with 256MB RAM, a single core CPU and a 40GB HDD, when I was 19. During the 5 years I actively used it, I learned the basics of web development. The computer and basic software at the time cost about what you’d now pay for a relatively high end laptop with a dedicated GPU; Moore’s Law in action, I guess. I couldn’t really afford paid software at the time so I came to rely mostly on free and open source software. My second love affair begins. I’ve since had the opportunity to own a couple of Dell laptops and custom built desktops and eventually end up switching to Apple Mac as my primarily platform, and of course buy some software to make it all work well together, but I still prefer Open Source software for development and deployment related technologies.

I work from home so I get to spend unusually long periods “at work”. It also helps that I enjoy what I do. Here’s a list of what I’m using to stay productive, and have fun, at the moment.

Hardware

Workstation - Apple iMac Pro 2017

CPU: 3.2 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon W
RAM: 64GB 2666 MHz DDR4
GPU: AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 8GB
Operating System Volume: 2TB SSD
Input Devices: Apple Magic Mouse 2, Apple Magic Trackpad 2 and Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
OS: macOS Catalina

This is my primary workstation and my portal into the other systems I rely on. It’s on 24/7. I try not to install or use too many local applications and keep my system as clean as possible. It’s a beast of a machine but Google Chrome still manages to almost max out the memory. Go figure.

Before this, I had an Apple iMac 27” Mid 2011 which I really put through its paces and enjoyed using.

Laptop - Apple MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013

CPU: 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM: 4GB 1600 MHz DDR3
GPU: Intel HD graphics 5000 1536MB
Operating System Volume: 256GB SSD
OS: macOS Catalina

I primarily use this device for research, writing and processing email. I don’t use it as much as I should, or would like to, but when I do, I enjoy it.

Before this, I had an Apple MacBook Pro 15” Early 2011. If I end up replacing this, it’ll probably be with a bigger screened beefier device, like the new Apple MacBook Pro 16”.

Development Server - Custom Built

Case: Phanteks Eclipse P400S
PSU: Corsair CX Series™ CX650M — 650 Watt 80 PLUS® Bronze Certified Modular ATX PSU (2015 Edition)
Motherboard: MSI Z390-A Pro
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6GHz Octa Core Coffee Lake
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100x High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Rear exhaust fan: Phanteks PH-F120SP 120mm case fan
Top exhaust fans: 2 Phanteks PH-F140XP 140mm case fan
RAM: 32 GB / 2 G.Skill F4-2400C15D-16GVS Ripjaws 16GB kits
GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z
Operating System Volume: Kingston A400 2.5” 480GB SSD
Data Processing Volume: Kingston A400 2.5” 240GB SSD
Storage Volume: Western Digital Gold Enterprise 3.5” 2TB HDD
OS: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

I access this machine remotely via HTTPS, SSH and network file share and primarily use it for development and data processing. It’s running Let’s Encrypt, Apache, MariaDB, PHP, Jupyter Notebooks, Samba, Anaconda, Git and more.

Windows Server - HP ProLiant Microserver

CPU: 1.50 GHz AMD Turion II Neo N40L
RAM: 8GB DDR2
Operating System Volume: HP ProLiant Entry Level Hot Plug 3.5” 250GB HDD
Primary Storage Volume: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 3.5” 150GB HDD
Secondary Storage Volume: 2TB RAID 1 / 2 Western Digital Red Nas WD20EFRX 3.5” 2TB HDDs
OS: Window 7 Professional

I use this for the odd Windows application I might want to run and as a file server, and administer it remotely via Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Mobile

Apple iPhone 7 Plus 256GB Jet Black

This is my primary phone, the one people can phone me on. The only third party application I have installed on it is the Kindle app.

Apple Watch Series 3 42mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band

I almost never take it off. I make use of Siri a lot, especially to operate timers while I’m cooking, and am really looking forward to when the cellular model is available in South Africa.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus 128GB Space Grey

This is my secondary device and as such, I don’t mind if the battery dies when I’m not at home so I have more, a lot more, third party applications installed on it: Slack, Google Hangouts, Gmail, Skype, Evernote, Twitter, Instagram, iA Writer, Kindle Pocket, Feedly, Google Maps, FNB, SnapScan, Google Calender, Google Meet, Google Chat, Prompt, Netflix and Showmax. When this device is eventually decommissioned, I’ll probably install fewer apps on the device that replaces it. My goal is ultimately to have as few as possible apps installed on my mobile devices.

Headphones

I currently alternative between Apple AirPods and Bose QuietComfort35 II. The AirPods feel like magic and the QC35s are pretty incredible too. I used to be strongly against wireless headphones but after trying them, the thought of plugging in headphones feels a bit outdated.

I’ve previously owned Behringer HPX4000, Stanton DJ Pro 3000, Aerial7 Tanks and a couple pairs of Skullcandy wired earbuds.

Chair

I have a Black GetOne Highback from Ergotherapy to keep me comfortable and productive.

Connectivity and Networking

Primary connection - 40Mbps down / 10Mbps up VDSL
Secondary connection - 20Mbps down / 20Mbps up wireless link
DNS caching and custom routing - Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Pro
Core wired network - D-Link DGS-1024D 24-Port Gigbit Switch
Main office WiFi, and backup drive - Apple AirPort Time Capsule
Secondary office WiFi - Apple AirPort Express

Air Conditioning

A Midea 12,000 BTU mid wall split unit inverter keeps me and my equipment cool.

Load shedding mitigation

All this gear needs to be powered. My office and network is shielded from load shedding with two PylonTech US2000 2.4kWh Lithium Ion batteries and a Mecer Axpert King SOL-I-AX-5KP 5KW hybrid pure sine wave inverter, enough power to keep working and boil the kettle to make coffee. No solar panels yet but hopefully soon.

Software, Subscriptions and The Cloud

Sadly, all this hardware can’t do much without a lot of software and a good few cloud services.

On the design front, I have Sketch and Pixelmator and I use OmniGraffle Pro for workflows.

I turn to iA Writer for Markdown and alternate between TextMate and Atom for editing code. And, yes, I have tried Visual Studio Code but don’t use it much. Kaleidoscope serves me well for running diffs on a variety of file formats and I’ve come to rely on Postman for interacting with APIs during development and heavily depend on Bitbucket and GitHub for source version control and project management. And, to my shock and horror, I’ve come to use Jira almost daily.

I primarily use Safari and Google Chrome to browse the web but still have Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer at the ready for testing.

From a messaging perspective, I primarily use iMessage for personal messaging, Google Hangouts for internal business conversations and Skype and Slack for engaging with clients and external teams.

I currently use Evernote for notes, G Suite Business for cloud productivity and Dropbox and iCloud for cloud synhronisation.

On the business front, I use Harvest for time tracking and Sage One Accounting and Sage One Payroll for their respective functions.

For entertainment, I subscribe to Apple Music, Showmax and Netflix.

I read books in the Kindle application on my iPhone, follow blogs with Feedly and save articles with Pocket.

From a hosting and infrastructure perspective, I primarily leverage Digital Ocean Droplets, Amazon AWS SES, Cloudflare, Xneelo, Mailgun and Ghost (Pro). This particular site however is hosted on GitHub Pages.

Last updated: Friday, 23-03-2020