Uses This

Who are you what do you do?

I'm Richard White. I teach, run, play, climb, and travel. Mostly I teach, public school for many years, and now at a private school in Pasadena, California.

Most days I think I'm just about the luckiest guy I know.

What hardware do you use?

I use Apple laptops for day-to-day work—teaching, emailing, blogging, web development. My current machine is a Macbook Air 13", with maxed-out RAM and SSD. It's pretty sweet, and I'm happy to have more battery life over screen resolution. And seriously, can they make these things any thinner or lighter? I don't think so.

I have a couple of Western Digital My Passport 1TB external drives that I use for backing up the Air; one is a Time Machine backup, and one is a bootable backup made with Carbon Copy Cloner. I also use Backblaze to keep an off-site copy of my home folder. Additionally, because I have a lot of music and photo data, I keep a couple of mirrored 1- and 2-Terabyte external drives with long-term archives of old stuff that I don't necessarily need to have daily access to.

I often use a Logitech mouse. My printer is an ancient HP LaserJet 6MP, which I got new in 1996 for $1000, with the idea that I wouldn't need to buy another printer for a long time. Twenty years later that beast is still running.

For local machines I also have a Lenovo X100e ThinkPad that I run Windows 7 and Xubuntu on, although I really only use that for testing installation and workflow on those operating systems. A couple of years ago I put together an i3-based PC tower. There's no graphics card in it or anything—I'm not a big gamer. It's running Ubuntu 14.04LTS and has 4 hard drives in it that I use for media archiving and backup. It only has an old 17-inch LCD monitor, but the das keyboard connected to it is amazing. I have an iPad that I watch movies on. My iPhone 6s is indispensable.

I use JaguarPC for website hosting.

I use Pilot V5 pens, in red and black, for taking notes and grading papers. For sketching out ideas and code, I use a Pentel GraphGear 1000 (0.7mm). I use National Brand Engineer's Computation Pads for just about everything.

I make my morning coffee in a red, 6-cup Bialetti Moka Express.

I carry my stuff around in a ballistic Stealth Pack by Mountain Tools.

And what software?

I like Apple's ecosystem, in general, but am leery of getting too sucked in to it; they have a habit and a business model that often sees them heading off into new and exciting directions, directions with which I don't always agree. So while I use their Calendar program for day-to-day appointments, I use a Python script I wrote, running in the Terminal, to manage my tasks, projects, and to-do lists. I love Panic's Coda for managing websites, Navicat for managing databases, and Bare Bones's BBEdit for working with text files (although I use vim in class for teaching coding). I also use LibreOffice for things like classroom presentations and preparing paper documents like handouts and tests.

I'm preparing for the data apocalypse with open source alternatives. Much of my work is done in text files now, and new Word-compatible documents I'm preparing using the cross-platform, open source LibreOffice.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty much there. The MacBook Air has enough room for my day-to-day stuff, and duplicated external drives store my archives.

If I had a little more time to play I'd move my hosting to a Virtual Private Server somewhere.

And if I were doing all this from a beach in southern France, that'd be nice, too. Someday...

PC or Mac?

You can take this course on any machine running Microsoft's Windows, Apple's OS X, or Linux. The instructor runs machines with each of these operating systems, and will use each of them on occasion in class for demonstration purposes.

If you're interested in purchasing a new computer, read this.