Table of Contents

What I Use

This page is for those who are curious about the programs and equipment I use to get work done. It is inspired by uses.tech.

Hardware

Desktop

You can see the original build that I did, along with the cost for each item in Canadian dollars at the time that it was purchased, by clicking this link to a PCPartPicker build list. RAM prices at the time (November, 2017) were absolutely horrendous.

Laptops

I own a Thinkpad T440s (I don’t actually mind the trackpad) which I purchased second-hand off of eBay for a grand total of $215 USD after shipping/etc with the following specifications:

I also bought a T420s which tends to get a bit more use around the home:

Tablets

Phone

Purchased in 2015 and still going strong almost 5 years later. I haven’t even had to swap the battery yet.

Once this phone becomes unusable, I’ll be replacing it with a PinePhone.

Server Equipment

I try to self-host most of my services and I aim for low-cost, power-efficient, and silent equipment. Below is a list of the equipment which I currently use:

OPNSense Router

I got this computer as a reward for helping a friend build a PC. I added 2 more gigabit NICs with a PCIe card for a total of three (one WAN, one LAN, one Wi-Fi). It has more horsepower than a router typically needs, but it also does more than a typical router. For example, it runs intrusion detection software which scans every packet. It also typically only draws 15-20W and stays very quiet. Here are the specifications:

Proxmox Server

This is one of my old laptops. I’ve owned it for at least 7 years if not longer and I’m pretty sure it was my second laptop ever.

Git Server

Purchased for $20 including a case from a local seller.

Hostnames

These are the names I give my computers/VMs. They are chosen from elements of the Greek Underworld mythology.

Name Description Current Use
Acheron River of pain Router/Firewall
Lethe River of forgetfullness Git server
Oceanus River that encircles the world, marks edge of Underworld Dell Venue Tablet
Curae Anxiety Matrix Server
Geras Old Age Thinkpad T420s
Eris Discord Pleroma Instance
Charon The ferryman of the dead Web Server and Reverse Proxy
Cerberus Guardian of the gates to the Underworld Proxmox VE
Hades God of the Underworld Desktop Computer
Tartarus Pits of oblivion, dungeon of torment and suffering Mail Server

Software

A picture
    of my desktop with neofetch open.

I try to stay as far away from proprietary applications as I possibly can. I typically use terminal-based applications over GUI ones as I find that they feel more efficient once I’ve learned how to use them. Many also support vim-like keybindings which are burned into my muscle memory now.

View my dotfiles (mirror).

Operating System(s)

My operating system of choice is Artix GNU/Linux for the two main reasons that it has excellent software availability and doesn’t run systemd.

I am not evangelistic about running specific Linux distributions and prefer to encourage others to use whichever distribution they are most comfortable with.

Desktop Environment/Window Manager

I use a tiling window manager and have essentially built my own desktop environment from the ground up by gluing together different components à la the Unix philosophy. I don’t use a display manager; the environment is started with startx.

I use:

Colourscheme

I use the iceberg colourscheme and try to make the rest of my desktop environment follow that colourscheme.

Fonts

I am partial to the DejaVu font family. I use them pretty much everywhere.

Terminal

I use st (aka Simple Terminal). I actually really like the model of patching a minimal piece of software with the features that I need and I enjoy the simplicity, speed, and light feeling of it.

I used to use urxvt but it didn’t handle unicode that well and lacked truecolour support so I switched to st.

File Manager

I don’t use one. I find the tools available on the command line (mv, rm, etc) allow me to accomplish what I need to do faster than a dedicated file manager.

Text Editor/IDE

I use Neovim. I am very comfortable with the keybindings and modal nature of vim and vim-like editors. I use a select few plugins and a colour scheme but try to keep things as minimal as possible.

Web Browser

Firefox. I tried using some other browsers such as qutebrowser but always kept coming back to Firefox thanks to its focus on privacy, excellent ad-blocking support, and general usability. I also use lynx for browsing on the command line.

I use Firefox with the following addons:

Mail Client

I use aerc. It’s light, fast, and lets me efficiently manage my mail. When I need to go offline, I synchronize my mail with mbsync.

IRC Client

I use weechat as my client. It’s customizable, powerful, and yet simple with sane defaults.

Instant Messaging

I use Riot for Matrix-based communication and Signal with people for whom Matrix would be a bit too complicated.

Password Manager

I use KeepassXC. I chose it for being really simple to manage compared to something like BitWarden and because I really like the user interface.

Music Player

I now use cmus for its simplicity and ease-of-use. It does everything I need from a music player.

Video Player

mpv is my video player of choice. It’s light, simple, and versatile. It also integrates with youtube-dl so I can watch Youtube videos or Twitch streams without opening my web browser.

RSS Feed Reader

Newsboat because it’s simple, easy, terminal-based, and I can program a bunch of macros to open up whichever feed in whichever application I want (e.g. open a Youtube feed in MPV).

Document Creation

I will typically write documents in either markdown or LaTeX. For instances where I need to interact with .docx files and whatnot, I use Libreoffice.

Presentations

I prefer using sent because I like the style of presentation that the tool produces. If I ever need anything more complex I opt for Beamer.

Day Planning/Organization/Notes

I use pen and paper for this. For whatever reason, I find it cumbersome to use electronic organizers/calendars for keeping track of my life and I much prefer having something physical to store this information. If you’re curious, I use a Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dot Grid Notebook and a Burgundy/Gold Parker 51 with Waterman Inspired Blue ink.

Image Viewing

sxiv since it handles all the image types I need it to and has nice keybindings.

PDF Viewer

Zathura for its excellent keybindings, nearly instant launching compared to something like Evince, and for being a very nice minimalist piece of software. Chosen over MuPDF because Zathura has an index mode.