Lanny Heidbreder: My Setup

and software setups. The theory, I suppose, is that if you use the same tools as incredibly productive and smart people, you might become as incredibly productive and smart as they are. There are a few sites dedicated to such articles, serving as inspiration to the unwashed masses.

I myself am not famous, not really a designer or programmer or writer, not incredibly productive or smart and probably not particularly inspiring. I am in fact part of the aforementioned unwashed masses. But I fantasize a lot about being important, and our project manager Abbi says I have to write a blog post about something, so for your enjoyment today I'm going to pretend that I'm super popular and that you're dying to know how I get my stuff done every day. Here goes:

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Lanny Heidbreder. I'm a jack-of-all-trades at Pleth, and I'm a future multi-million-selling Mac and iOS developer. No, really. Just you wait.

What hardware are you using?

My beloved 17" Unibody MacBook Pro goes almost everywhere I go. It's the only computer I use at the moment. At work and home I hook it up to the same model of adequate 24" Samsung display, which I believe is no longer manufactured.

Inside the MacBook Pro is a blazing fast 240 GB solid state drive, from Other World Computing, naturally. It makes the Mac scream (and it made my wallet scream, too). I will never ever buy another computer that does not boot from an SSD. Sitting on my desk at work is a NewerTech Voyager Q with a 1 TB hard drive for backups.

I adore the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad that Apple currently sells; I type faster on it than on any keyboard I've ever used, and especially faster than on ergonomic keyboards where the keys aren't in the right places.

I use the cheapest wireless HP mouse I could find; my main requirement for a mouse is that it not be ergonomic. Ergonomic mice tend to have a narrow grip, which cramps my hand, especially when playing games.

My 32 GB iPhone 3GS goes absolutely everywhere I go. It's my only iPod and is full to the brim with music and apps.

And what software?

The most important piece of software I run is, of course, Mac OS X, which makes it possible for most of the other software I run to not be crap.

I spend most of the day in Safari, which I use for casual browsing as well as developing. Firefox traditionally has better tools for developers, foremost among which are Firebug and Web Developer, but at some point I switched to Safari for reasons that are long forgotten, and I do fine with it.

Most of my non-browser time is spent in my text editor, and my text editor of choice is Sublime Text 2. It's not the most Mac-like or elegant editing app, but its implementation of a couple of features (multiple select/block select and regex search) are unique, and they're vital enough that I can no longer use any editor without them.

For FTP, you can't beat Transmit by Panic.

I used to use Coda, also by Panic, for editing and FTP and SSH, but its all-in-oneness has gradually become unsuitable for the way I work, so it sits unused most of the time. I still use it to remember my SSH servers, but I really probably ought to find a dedicated terminal app.

I spend a lot of time extracting images from Photoshop mockups, so Photoshop is an unfortunate necessity. I try to do as much original stuff as I can in Acorn, but I always find myself struggling to do things that are relatively simple in Photoshop, even as I curse and grumble about Photoshop's bloat and other quirks.

For version control we use Git, and my Git client of choice at the moment is Tower. It's very nicely designed, though sometimes slow. At Stack Overflow there's a great comparison of Mac Git clients from January.

When I was on Windows, ManicTime was invaluable for time management, but I've never found a suitable replacement for Mac.

For my sparse and seldom need to work with office documents I use Apple's excellent iWork suite. I haven't yet ever needed to install Microsoft Office and I hope I never do.

TaskPaper is the perfect to-do app for me. It does just what I need it to do and no more. It's a little pricey (I got it when it was on sale at five sixth's discount but for certain kinds of people, it's worth it.

1Password comes up with and remembers all my passwords. If you're not using a password manager, you should be.

Pinboard is the bomb for bookmarking. For $25 per year, it archives a copy of all your bookmarks so you can see them later on down the road, even if they've turned into 404s on the web.

SuperDuper! is invaluable for full disk cloning. And a 50 GB Dropbox account that handles backup and syncing for all my files.

I use Twitterrific for Twitter. I mostly prefer Twitter for Mac, but until all clients resolve its mandatory URLs on display, I can't use it.

Divvy is the best window managing utility out there. All others do a fraction of what Divvy does with a fraction of the ease and thoughtfulness. And there's a Windows version, too.

Adium for IM, Colloquy for IRC.

I run YOURLS on Dreamhost to run my personal URL shortener.

Finally, I use Sparrow for mail, but they've taken a turn for the scummy lately (posting to my Facebook wall without even notifying me of it) so I'm not sure I can recommend it.

What would be your dream setup?

Hardware-wise, I'm very eager for Thunderbolt to catch on, and then for the day when MacBook Pros can drive multiple external displays through one port. (Or maybe just for them to have more than one Thunderbolt port.)

My current 24" Samsung monitors are fine, but I would be happiest with a 30" IPS display (or two!) at home and work.

I also can't wait for solid state drives to come down in price per gigabyte. My 240 GB laptop drive is starting to feel cramped.

I seriously need to get a rotation of three or four 1 TB hard drives for backups. Right now I only use one (plus Dropbox), which is pretty grossly irresponsible.

I somewhat wish for a Mac Pro, but I think I'll actually someday build a dedicated Windows gaming PC instead.

Software-wise, what I wish for the most is a graphics app tailored for web designers and developers — what Fireworks is supposed to be, but done right. Acorn and Pixelmator are not it. I am waiting with bated breath to see what Panic does with Coda 2.