I’ve been a fan of usesthis.com for quite a while. A couple of days ago I decided that it’s my time to write about my setup. So here is my usesthis.com-like post!
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Anton Podkopaev. Currently, I’m a PhD student @ SPbU and a researcher @ JetBrains Research. I study CS mostly in the area of formal methods, so I spend most of my time writing proofs!
In my rare spare time I like to take pictures, pretending to do art.
What hardware do you use?
My main machine is Dell XPS 13. I absolutely adore it for being extremely light and compact, having a powerful enough CPU and long-lasting battery. I connect it to two Dell 24” displays, one of which is vertical oriented, via a nice TB3->2xDisplayPort adapter at work and to one Dell 24” at home. I’m fond of these displays for 16:10 ratio and an adjustable stand. I highly recommend to have more than one laptop adapter: I have one at a work desk, one at a home desk, and one extra for traveling. This and an exceptionally good laptop battery allow me not to take an adapter most of the time.
I have RSI-related problems in my hands, so I try to use good keyboards as often as possible. At work I have Kinesis Advantage, which is the best keyboard I’ve ever touched by far. It looks weird and it’s impossible to type on for my desk guests, but the only its real disAdvantage is that it’s completely non-portable. This is the reason why I have Vortex Pok3r keyboard–a 60%-keyboard. It doesn’t have arrow keys but emulates them with Fn+HJKL, which is an advantage for me, as I can’t imagine my life w/o Vim navigation (more on the topic in the software section :).
By the way, I’ve got two PowerBalls (one at work, one at home), which I use to prevent RSI-related numbness in my wrists. I used to have a fancy PowerBall with a speed counter, but the counter is useless as there is no way to take a look at it w/o stopping doing an exercise, so now I have the cheapest ones.
I take pictures with Canon 50D. It’s a magnificent camera, even though, from time to time I think about buying a new lighter one.
My cell phone is Meizu M3s. Its main advantages are a metal case and a modest price (~200$ in Russia). It’s quite durable as well–it’s fallen many times to different surfaces including asphalt and porcelain tiles during the half of the year I’ve been using it, but it got only a couple of minor scrapes on the case. Unfortunately, it runs some Chinese version of Android, which causes some minor inconveniences, but it’s totally compensated by the price difference to Samsungs and iPhones.
Another gadget I try to take everywhere with me is a Kindle Paperwhite. Before buying it I was skeptical about touchscreen e-books, but now I think that it’s a must-have feature– it allows to take a look at a definition of a word just by pressing at it! Obviously, it’s extremely useful for reading in foreign languages.
My backpack is Ogio Renegade Rss 17. It’s big enough, has lots of small sections, which are extremely useful, but a downside is quite big weight.
And what software?
I’m a Linux user. Long time ago I used Mandriva, then Ubuntu, and I’ve been using Arch Linux since my first year at university. It has rolling releases and packages are not outdated as in the Ubuntu case. I wanna try macOS, but, strangely, current MacBooks as a piece of hardware are worse (at least heavier) than Dell’s, ThinkPad’s, and others and the OS isn’t as customizable as Linux, so I have a strong feeling that I’d be disappointed in macOS in case I buy a MacBook. But I’m still looking for a cheap opportunity to give it a try.
I use a tiling window manager, i3, which I extremely recommend as it allows to forget about a mouse.
When I was a freshman, I started to use Vim. Even though, I rarely open it nowadays, I use applications and plugins with Vim-like shortcuts as much as it’s possible: Vimium and wasavi in Chromium; vim plugin in IntelliJ IDEA; ranger, a console file manager; zathura, a PDF-viewer; EVIL plugin in Emacs. I love a concept of Vim modes as much that I get pissed off every time I have to edit anything in an editor without them.
My main editor is Emacs. The best quote about it is that Emacs is a “great operating system, lacking only a decent editor,” but once you install EVIL plugin it gets the best editor ever :) One of best things about Emacs is high customizability and a great plugin library. One of my favorite plugins is MaGit, which makes my Git-related part of life slightly easier.
I use Yandex Music to listen to music. I used to have a Google Music subscription, but the set of albums in Yandex Music suits my taste better.
What would be your dream setup?
I guess I have mostly everything I want.