My buddy Nick Janetakis, a solid guy and Docker Captain wrote an interesting thing on his blog: The Tools I Use. So I thought I'd take a shot at authoring the same thing only from an OSX perspective. I am going to shamelessly steal his organization and approach to this topic.


Much to my regret my principal OS is Mac OSX Seira. I've seen Apple's OS stability go down release by release from Snow Leopard forward and I find Seira to be the absolute worst yet. Yes I'm a developer and my usage of iTerm is intense but a Unix box (and that's what all Mac's actually are) having an update of less than 30 days is disturbing at best. Right now I have an 11 day uptime but lately I've been averaging about 2 days before my 6 month old box forcibly restarts all on its own. Stack traces available on request if you care.

Code Editor and Terminal

I use TextMate 2, a damn near antiquated editor by today's standards and I have a real love / hate relationship with it but I've written more code in than anything else except for VIM and it works fine for my needs. A new editor would be wise but nothing feels as good as TextMate to me.

I use iTerm as a terminal and I regularly run an absolutely disturbing about of terminal sessions managed by Tmux which remains a stellar bit of technology. Kudos to Dv for hooking me on Tmux back in 2015; it genuinely improved my life.

Notable Apps

Other than a text editor, terminal and Tmux, I use pretty little software but here goes:

  • Chrome or Firefox for a browser with Brave on the side
  • Activity Monitor at all times to shut down rogue Firefox sessions due to memory bloat
  • Pages and Numbers for classical productivity although I do less and less of that every year
  • Docker for containers
  • Transmit by Panic as an FTP / S3 client
  • Fantastical 2
  • ngrok for http connection sharing (if you've never used ngrok and you're a developer, run, not walk and get it – it is that good)
  • Apple Mail for mail
  • Slack because, well, Slack
  • Skype (which gets worse and worse ever year it seems)
  • TweetBot
  • Wunderlist
  • Acorn
  • Keypad Layout 2 for command key drive window resizing; yes I have the keyboard grid taped to my mac, it is that useful
  • Alfred 3
  • Enpass as a digital wallet
  • Dropbox without which I simply could not function
  • Deckset for converting Markdown files to simple presentations
  • Jekyll for blogging; so much of everything I do comes from Open Source but I wanted to call out Jekyll because, well, I'm using it right this second

Computer, Desk and Phone

Here are the physical things I use:

  • I run almost exclusively on a series of Mac laptops:
    • An old 15" Macbook Pro which runs the family media server
    • A Macbook Air which is my blogging / writing / backup dev box
    • A 15" Macbook Pro which is my secondary backup dev box but too slow for anything intensive
    • A 13" Macbook Pro, last generation, maxed out on ram and SSD to be as fast as possible (note to Apple - we need vastly more than 16 gigs)
    • I also have an Intel NUC as a Linux box but I don't use it all that much
    • All my Macs are configured with Ansible
  • Apple iPhone 6; I didn't find the iPhone 7 improvements in the small form factor (non plus) to be enough to justify the upgrade and now I'm hoping it lasts thru the iPhone 8 launch
  • I built my own desk (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3) about 18 months ago and I love it. I have an 8 foot long desk with plenty of space.
  • I use iPads to monitor long running jobs using Transmit's late StatusBoard app. Pity that went away.

Recording and Music

I don't do a lot of this but what I do use is:

  • ScreenFlow for recording screencasts
  • iTunes for music
  • Audacity for audio editing on the rare occasion when I need that
  • Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones Wired for pair programming
  • Bost Quiet Comfort Headphones BlueTooth for listening to music and isolating out the world in coffee shops