The Setup

The Setup is a great website that interviews people asking them what they use. It asks all the really great questions like what hardware do they have and what software do they work with. Finally, the last question asks what is your dream setup? I'm going to be pretty egotistical / spoiled brat here and say I think I finally have (almost) the dream setup.

Hardware

I have a 13" 2.8 Ghz Macbook Pro with a 256 gig SSD. The iPhone 4 is fantastic with the occasional use of the original iPad. I have a Kindle 3 keyboard which I read on daily. I love the book arc because it just adds a touch of elegance to your desk. That along with a magic trackpad and apple wireless keyboard keep my desk pretty minimal. The last remaining part was the Thunderbolt Display, which just makes me giddy.

Software

I spend my life in vim in one form or another. I use vim in the terminal when I'm hacking bash or python scripts. I write blog posts and normal text with MacVim. If I'm writing Java, I'll use eclipse with the viplugin. For C and C++, since I'm in JIT compiled code all day, Visual Studio's debugger really is tremendously better than GDB. Visual Studio's debugger is just so much smarter because it knows the addresses of methods and shows you what method is going to be called right next to the x86 bits. In Visual Studio, both the ViEmu and Visual Assist X really seal the deal. I wish Codekana worked for Visual Studio 2010, but it's fantastic for Visual Studio 2008. I run Visual Studio through VMware Fusion running Windows 7.

I use Adium for chat, OS X mail for mail, iCal, and the twitter app from the app store. Omnigraffle is a really great drawing tool that makes scientific images pretty. I'd be terrified without Quicksilver which makes launching apps so much better. It just feels nicer and smarter than spotlight. I switch browsers every couple of months. Since Lion is out, I've switched to Safari simply because the two finger back swipe animation is delicious.

Dream Setup

I'm almost at the dream setup. So close I can taste it. A 15" Macbook Pro without a super drive, 16 gigs of ram, and a 512 gb SSD would be fantastic. Add the Herman Miller Sense Desk, an Aeron chair, and studio lighting and life would be grand.

Solid Colors Aren't Boring

I always wondered why people thought single colors were boring. And after a while I got it, I looked around and went "that building is really boring", or "that shirt is really plain". Most things are single colored though, yet some popped out as fantastic while others boring. Why was this the case?

Then it hit me. When you look at white, it's the best and worst color when standing alone. A white picket fence still looks ok, so do white light switches. Apple makes extensive use of white and still makes it look great. Most use of white, just looks tacky. It's not only the shade of white, but the texture of the material the white is put on. Clean white on a smooth surface feels clean. White on a textured surface looks tacky. Concrete slabs - boring. Green grass - interesting.

After talking with a friend about Google's redesign of their web apps, we wondered why even though the designs were clean and minimal, they still looked plain. It's because they have no texture to them, they just look like shades of gray brought together. The buttons don't pop out at you. There's no depth. Now checkout Apple's website and buttons. They have depth - which I think is just because of the drop shadow. That's it! Single colors are fantastic. It's textures that bore.