My Setup, Part I: The Hardware

With surprising frequency, readers of this site write in to ask what computer, peripherals, and software you use on a daily basis. You have decided to answer this question as a two-part article, providing details about these tools, in the hopes that your readers may find them useful as well.

This is Part I of the series, detailing the computer hardware and related “gear.” Part II will cover the configuration, customization, and applications you use.

The Computer

Your primary machine is currently a 15” PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz, with 1.5GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a ComboDrive. It’s an “early 2005” model, slightly pre-dating the one Gruber writes about in his inspired article, Full Metal Jacket.

The PowerBook is named “Guru.”

In the past, you’ve alternated between using a high-end laptop, versus a desktop/cheap-laptop combo just as Gruber describes in his article (who do you think gave him the idea, after all). Prior to purchasing the Powerbook, you were using a PowerMac Dual-G5 1.8Ghz with 2GB of RAM. You also owned a 12” iBook for use when traveling.

Switching back to a single laptop (rather than the desktop/laptop combo) has been a joy, and the switch has helped eliminate numerous issues (synchronization of files and data, for example). You rarely used the full power of the G5, and the iBook always seemed just a tad under-powered for your needs.

When at the office, you work with the PowerBook’s lid closed and use a 23” Cinema Display. Heat (even here in the tropics) seems to be a non-issue as the newer PowerBooks dissipate heat from the rear and bottom rather than through the keyboard, so keeping the lid shut works just fine. Further, the when at the desk, the PowerBook sits on top of an iCurve – which helps dissipate heat even further, and raises the PowerBook to a nice height when using dual-screens is appropriate.

It would seem that this setup is quite popular with several of your friends. Dan Cederholm, DHH, Justin French (details), Jeffrey Zeldman, Kevin Byrd, Drew McLellan (proof), and John Gruber all work with a similar (or identical) configurations.

The Peripherals

You use a number of peripherals that you couldn’t imagine getting by without. Here’s a list:

Mighty Mouse

Just switched to this a month or so ago. So far: great.

Standard Apple Keyboard

You’ve tried keyboards from other manufacturers, as well as the BlueTooth version of this keyboard. In the end, Apple’s Standard Keyboard, the one that comes with every Mac, is still your favorite currently available offering. Cheap and reliable.

23-inch Apple Cinema Display

The screen might not be as crisp as the 20” version, but the extra real-estate is great.

Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub

Just about every peripheral you own can plug into this nice, compact, stackable hub. It even has two top-loading ports for an iPod Shuffle or similar devices.

Epson Stylus Photo R200

Decent inkjet printer, came free with the PowerBook. Plugged into the Belkin. Your wife has a much nicer printer which you use when higher quality print-outs are needed.

LaCie d2 USB/FireWire DVD Burner

Portable and sturdy, allows you to burn DVDs from any of your Macs. Plugged into the Belkin.

LaCie Big Disk Extreme Triple Interface

Solid (and somewhat loud) RAID 0 500GB external drive for cloning and backups. Plugged into the FireWire 800 port on the PowerMac.

iPod Nano

Black (of course), and named “Dano.”

iPod Shuffle

512MB, perfect for jogging with, named “JogPod.”

Bose Companion 3 Multimedia Speaker System

Because you can’t put a price-tag on good sound.

Boa XM Booqbag

You could dedicate an entire article talking about this bag. Simply put, it’s the best bag you’ve ever owned. Sturdy, lightweight, protective, hip enough for the coffee shop and professional enough for the business meeting. An all-around winner.

What Else

Nothing. That’s your setup. The next article will detail how you configure, customize, and use these tools in your day-to-day work.

More articles in the Archive →