Hacker, IF Wizard
Ads Via The Deck
Hacker, IF Wizard
Right now I’m using a PowerMac G4 circa 2002 – it’s got nearly one whole gigahertz! The 17” Apple Studio Display that I bought with it died a couple of years ago (touch-sensitive power switch went wonky) so I dropped in a Dell U2410 monitor. The Dell is awfully nice, except that it has that OLED color oversaturation problem.
Behind me (my computer desks are oddly arranged, but the miracle of rotating office chairs makes up for all) is a 2006 MacBook Pro sitting up on a stand. I essentially never move it – I’m not a laptop person at heart, it turns out. In practice, this is my “heavy-duty” development machine. And graphics design station, because it doesn’t have the OLED problem.
Over to the side is a Windows box, which isn’t interesting enough to hyperlink. I put it together in 2003-ish (or rather, a Windows-aware friend built it for me) to play Myst Online – ironic in retrospect. But I still tend to play adventure games on it. It’s easier than worrying about what repeated game installs will do to my precious getting-stuff-done machines. (And their precious terminal window layouts. But I get ahead of myself.)
Both Macs are hooked up to USB mice; I like my peripherals wired. They’ve also got Matias TactilePro keyboards. Because if your typing doesn’t sound like a hailstorm on a tin roof, you’re not typing.
That sounds like an overwhelming wave of Apple fanboyism, but it’s… not as whelmed as you think. I held off getting an iPhone until the SDK was announced. (And I’ve held off upgrading, which is why my phone is ancient and non-3G and unitaskical.) The iPod Touch I got purely for development – I’m not going to be carrying it around. (A couple of older-generation iPod Touches will be arriving shortly.) The iPad is the only device that I bought in a cliche-ridden first-day rush. Well, that and the Apple TV which lurks out of sight.
Speaking of office chairs… okay, I got this one at IKEA. But then the back broke off! Now it’s sort of a rotating office stool. Best news my posture ever heard.
How old-fashioned am I? I measure monitors by the number of Terminal windows I can use at a time. (Six on the desktop monitor, but only two on the laptop.)
I always have Emacs up, in one Terminal. A couple more generally have Lynx. When I read email, I swear, I’m ssh’d into a shell account and running Pine. I’m thinking of switching to Alpine but I haven’t made the leap yet.
It’s just habit, is all. I set up my email in 1995 and I haven’t really had a reason to change it around since. Yes, it’s a hassle in some ways; my mail is procmail-sorted into mbox files, which means… cough, ahem… I can’t read my email on my iPhone. I cope.
It’s not all Terminal all the time. My text editing slides back and forth between Emacs and TextWrangler; neither is dispensable. I keep iChat running (for Jabber), and also Tweetie (it hasn’t been updated in forever, but it’s good enough for my low-level Twitter usage). Music and TV shows are set up in iTunes, with Audio Hijack Pro to redirect music out a USB port. (Yeah, I could use Apple’s Airplay rather than a third-party app. Maybe next year.)
(To be a really consistent codger, I’d install ClickToFlash. It’s on my list.)
So that’s what I have running all the time. The rest of my life is more intermittent, usually because I’m switching between different kinds of development work.
I also have iSSH on the iPad (and iPhone, etc). That lets me ssh into a server and run Emacs over 3G. Yes, this is my greatest computer dream. Emacs anywhere! (And Pine! See, I can read email remotely after all.) Control-key combos on the iPad aren’t great… well, to be honest, they’re pretty damn awkward. But I can get emergency work done.
You may have noticed that my desktop computer is an antique. (It can’t even play YouTube videos any more, which would be some kind of minimal functionality standard if Flash weren’t bleeding to death on Steve Jobs’s lawn. In any case, it’s slow.)
Well, for Winterfair this year I’m replacing that with a Mac Mini. I thought about an iMac, but this giant Dell monitor delights me more than it annoys me, so I’ll keep it and hook up a Mini. (But maybe I’ll stick a second monitor on the side, for color checking. And more Terminal windows.)
That’s the extent of my immediate upgrade-lust. Most of my software use doesn’t need any oomph.
As I said, the iPad (with iSSH) is an adequate way to do remote work. My ideal would be something like a Macbook Air, but with 3G. That would make a laptop person out of me. Some combination of a 3G hotspot device with an Air might add up to this, but I haven’t seen anything that convinces me… yet.
My dreams involve computerized tools, rather than computers per se. I’d like a laser cutter and some kind of 3D printing setup. I have no need for these things, but I’d like to mess with them. I’d like miles of programming color lighting.
Also, I want full-color e-ink displays that come on big rolls, like paper towels, and you just tear off a few feet and thumbtack it to the wall and it’s a display monitor. If you want a bigger monitor you thumbtack another sheet adjacent. It’s powered by wireless awesome.