Reader’s Setup: Toby Leftly

Toby Leftly is a UK-born, Ontario-based web developer and IT consultant. His love of the web, Apple and all things tech position him as a mild annoyance to friends and family, and a goldmine of useless, obsolete knowledge to everyone around him.

Toby’s Setup:

1. What does your desk look like?

Toby Leftly's Setup

Toby Leftly's Setup

2. What is your current Mac setup?

My Current Mac is a unibody 13.3″ MacBook 2.4ghz with 4gb of RAM. I purchased the 15″ unibody the week it was announced but found it too cumbersome to be truly portable and downgraded when the opportunity arose. At home I connect it to an older 23″ Apple Cinema Display which doesn’t even come close to satisfying my need for pixel real estate.

I use a Microsoft Bluetooth 8000 Laser Mouse and the older white Apple Pro Keyboard. The laptop stand in the pictures is actually an Ikea Hack, but it works surprisingly well.

The last possibly unidentified item on my desk is a Thermaltake Hard Drive Docking Station. because my last system was a Mac Pro, I have three SATA hard drives with various backups and data stored on them, this seemed like the easiest way to continue accessing them.

3. Why are you using this setup?

My previous Mac was a quad core Mac Pro which was fantastic. But since I spend a great deal of time visiting clients, a laptop makes much more sense. And with every revision, Apple’s laptops get closer to the power and capability of traditional desktop systems.

My wife was tempted into the Apple realm by a trusty old Mac mini 1.25ghz Core Solo (boo!) but is hoping to get her hands on my laptop after my next upgrade. At that point I’ll hook the Mac mini up to our big screen TV as a media server.

4. What software do you use on a daily basis, and for what do you use it?

I use a wide range of software on a daily basis, but the applications you’ll find open in my dock at all times are:

  • Mailplane (I’m a huge Google Apps fan)
  • Tweetie (the best Mac Twitter client in my humble opinion)
  • Yojimbo
  • Last.fm (scrobble scrobble)
  • TextMate
  • Safari (can’t get along with the Firefox GUI, despite all the great add-ons)
  • Terminal (slowly becoming more proficient with SSH)

Photoshop and Illustrator are the main apps I use for graphics work, although I long for the day when I can summon the courage to replace them with Pixelmator and Lineform. For cramming previously mentioned graphics into otherwise dull blocks of code I mostly use TextMate, although I’m buy-curious about Coda and Espresso.

I use Google Picasa for managing images on a large scale, Panic’s Transmit for pushing, shoving and pulling files, Skype for calling overseas and audio/video chat with friends and co-conspirators, and Google Apps for anything and everything else — email, calendars, contacts and very rarely spreadsheets.

I’ve recently discovered Firebug Lite, not officially an app but a very useful tool. I use Chyrp for blogging and Mint for web stats.

5. Do you own any other Mac gear?

My wife and I both own iPods — her’s a 16gb green Nano, mine an 8gb first gen touch which I love.

I’ve considered other Apple equipment, such as the iPhone, Apple TV and a Time Capsule, but ended up passing on all of them – the Mac and OS X really are Apple’s finest creations.

I use a regular old Motorola phone right now but when I do eventually upgrade to a smart phone it will most likely be the iPhone, although I had high hopes for the Pre (dismissed because of the superior build quality of the iPhone and the Pre’s questionable iTunes sync method).

6. Do you have any future upgrades planned?

I’d love a 30″ display, but I’m assuming Apple plans to update these eventually.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Apple does with the Macbook Air – with more RAM and slightly better specs it could be tempting enough for my next big purchase.

A small purchase I’m looking forward to is the Wireless Apple keyboard to replace my aging white Pro keyboard.

Not exactly an Apple product, my next upgrade will most likely be a hosting one – my current host, Media Temple, is beta testing Leopard Server hosting, which has me salivating like crazy.

More Sweet Setups

Toby’s setup is just one in a series of sweet Mac Setups.

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