The Setup

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

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Divya Manian

Divya Manian

Web developer (Opera, W3C, HTML5 Boilerplate)

Posted

Who are you, and what do you do?

I hack on HTML5 Boilerplate, Move the web forward, am a member of the W3C and a Web Opener for Opera.

What hardware do you use?

I have a 13" MacBook Air with a 128GB hard drive. I mostly use it with a Dell 30" monitor using a Mini-displayport to Dual-Link DVI adapter.

I used to have terrible pain in my fingers and wrists before I started using a Kinesis Advantage keyboard with the Magic Trackpad. I used to own an Aeron chair but since moving from Singapore I have settled for an Office Depot look-alike which seems as comfortable.

I try to not acquire too many gadgets or splurge on hardware. Instead of setting up Surround Sound Systems or TVs, I use my 30" monitor for most needs that TVs fulfill, and stream the audio to Sherwood RX-4109 receiver connected to Sony Bookshelf Speakers. When I do need long hours of music, Bose Noise-canceling headphones work for me.

In the middle of 2011, I got a Nexus S. Previously I was using the $40 Nokia 1208 feature phone.

When I am on the go, I cannot do without a universal plug-adapter that works for most countries. I used to have an iPod shuffle for listening to music, but that has been now replaced by the Nexus S.

I read books on my Kindle before I sleep. I have the older 3G version that allows unlimited 3G access on the Kindle in a lot of countries. It was very useful when I took it with me while backpacking in Australia where I was able to - with some effort - check email and be in touch with people I was meeting with for free.

I have an iPad 1G that sometimes substitutes Kindle as my bedside companion.

I doodle ideas for projects or write to-dos/goals when I am offline on a moleskine notebook.

When I need my gadgets on the go, I have a wonderful satchel I found in a second-hand clothing store that holds my wallet, Nexus s, moleskine, Macbook Air, and a power cord.

And what software?

Opera is my default browser. I use vertical tabs and tab groups to organize unread pages. Opera also has a feed reader which I use to subscribe to internal Opera feeds. I use Gmail for personal email, Google Reader for feeds in general, and the Twitter app for tracking several Twitter accounts. I use Adium for IRC and general Instant Messaging.

Gyazo is my favourite no-nonsense screencapture app. I purchased Screenflow which is a very user-friendly video creating/editing app for anything that requires a video capture. Alfred is my QuickSilver replacement and VLC is the default video player.

Spotify is my music app. Dropbox is where anything I need to preserve goes. I don't like storing photos, because they are only ephemerally relevant, whatever few photos I take, go to Flickr. I have Microsoft Office out of necessity of dealing with antiquated documents that I sometimes get sent.

I use zsh with oh-my-zsh. This is where most of my work gets done. I use MacVim for coding. Python's SimpleHTTPServer is sufficient for setting up a local server. For shared testing, I use Dropbox's Public folder if I need to share it with someone else. Any code goes into a git repo that is either deployed to Github or other remote git repos. For quick bug testing, jsfiddle or jsbin are my tools of choice along with Opera Dragonfly. I also have the latest stable releases of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 9 (in an Image using VirtualBox which also has Windows versions of these browsers) for testing.

I recently ported my blog to Jekyll - all 7 years of it! It is now hosted on Github, and I deploy it from the command line. Each post has a link to its source, so anyone can suggest fixes and updates. It seems to be useful as I get pull requests to fix mistakes in my blog post or even make my website faster!

I find Github issues pretty useful place to track what I need to do with various projects of mine. Piratepad and other Etherpad clones help in collaborating on drafts of articles/comments.

On the iPad, I almost only use the Reeder and Instapaper. On the Nexus S, I use Opera Mobile and Opera Mini (when the network sucks) for browsing and Spotify app for music.

What would be your dream setup?

I think Macbook Air is pretty much all I want in my primary computer. But I would love to have even longer battery life. I wish there was a Kinesis Advantage keyboard that is travel-friendly (or maybe a better wrist-friendly keyboard for Macbook Air).