The Hiltmon

On walkabout in life and technology

The Work Computer Software Loadout

I got Back in the Saddle over three weeks ago and purchased a new Haswell 13-inch MacBook Air as my primary work computer. I plan to write more about it after at least 30 days use. But with the new computer, my plan was to only install that which I needed as and when I needed it. It turns out, I use a lot of different tools for work activities.

Note: No affiliate links were hurt in the creation of this post, all links are to the vendor’s sites, so it’s safe to click through to learn more about each product.

Primary Uses

The primary uses for this work computer are:

  • Programming new systems using a myriad of languages and tools, mostly via terminal, TextMate 2 and Xcode, to be run on Centos Servers against many different database servers. See A Simple C++ Project Structure.
  • Designing the new systems, from mind mapping, through diagramming, through wire-framing and artwork creation and, of course, writing documentation.
  • Maintaining a bunch of older web applications and moving them to newer technologies (and creating a bunch of new ones)
  • Systems administration of the servers, databases and routers of the business
  • The usual work-like things such as emails, contacts, calendaring and communications

Launchpad Pages

Page 1 of my Launchpad contains all the default Apple applications, with the addition of iWork and Xcode:

Quick notes:

  • Safari is my primary web browser
  • Mail is where I run all my email accounts
  • iMessage is running for chats and IM
  • Contacts manages my address book
  • Calendar stores my calendar, but I use Fantastical on the menu bar to manage it
  • Keynote is the only iWork app I have used so far on this new machine

Page 2 and 3 contain all my third party applications. Yes, in alphabetical order of course!

Dock and Menu Bar

For the apps I like to drop things on or click to launch, and really because they have just habitually been on the dock:

  • Finder, always first
  • LaunchPad, because I forget what I have installed
  • Mail, for all accounts
  • Safari, for all web browsing
  • Google Chrome, for when I need flash or an alternate login to the same site
  • iTerm 2, for all my local and remote terminal needs
  • BBEdit, for notes and text manipulation
  • TextMate 2, for programming
  • Tweetbot
  • Kiwi
  • iMessage
  • System Preferences, because I always forget they are on the Apple menu
  • OmniFocus, to see what to do next

I could, and will, remove PixelMator, VoodooPad and the Qt system as I am not using them anymore (replaced by Photoshop, BBEdit files and new code). I’d also would dearly like to toss Microsoft Office, but the finance industry runs on it and there are some files only it can open.

The two things that I am missing natively is a a copy of XenCenter that runs on OS X to manage server virtualization, I need to run that on a VMWare VM; and a native SQL Server database access tool. If I find a good one then Xamarin and Mono can go as well. Too bad SQL Grinder died with the Objective-C/Java bridge.

Using all these tools, I have been able to launch straight into the work at the new firm, and start off very productively. There is not much I cannot do with this loadout and laptop.

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