Reader Setup: Kevin Rodgers

Kicking off the first of the reader’s setups is Kevin Rodgers. Kevin is a Senior Systems Engineer for a K-12 public school district in New Jersey. Computers are his forté.

Kevin’s Setup:

1. What does your setup look like?

Home: Kevin Rodgers: Home Setup

Work: Kevin Rodgers: Work Setup

2. What is your current Mac setup?

A 15″ 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 2 GB of RAM that I purchased in March 2007. I use it at home and at work.

At home, I connect to a 20″ Apple Cinema Display (ACD), a LaCie 250 GB External FireWire drive, and JBL Spot speakers. The external display at work is a 22″ Dell E228WFP that has the same resolution as the ACD.

In each location, I have an Apple wired keyboard, a Logitech MX Revolution mouse, and a Griffin Elevator desktop stand. A pair of Sony MDR-EX85LP headphones drown out the ambient noises at the office and help me focus on my work.

3. Why are you using this setup?

OS X is the finest operating system I’ve ever used, and the MacBook Pro is powerful enough for everything I need to do. Using the same computer for both home and work means I only have to buy one copy of the applications I use and also negates synchronization problems. I’ve read how people attempt to keep multiple computers in synch, but for me this is a non-issue.

With the laptop situated to the right of an external display, I run all my communication apps on the MacBook Pro’s screen. It’s far enough to the side to not be distracting and close enough for glancing at new items.

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

  • OS X Mail: I have three email accounts setup: one Mobile Me and two Gmail.
  • Microsoft Entourage 2008: I currently use Entourage to connect to our Exchange Server, but will move to OS X Mail on Snow Leopard when it comes out. I’ve tried using Leopard’s Mail for sending and receiving messages, but things got tricky with meeting requests, so I went back to Entourage.
  • iCal: I have Entourage synching with iCal so all my work and personal appointments are available. I also use it to track when my bills are due.
  • Adium: I like Adium for instant messaging primarily for the border-less window appearance.
  • 1Password: Working in the IT field means I have a lot passwords to track (currently over 130). For a while, I was storing them in Yojimbo, but the amount of steps required to access them was slowing me down. 1Password takes care of that with its browser integration and one-click copy button.
  • Terminal: I use the Terminal quite a bit for network troubleshooting. Ping, dig, host, and traceroute are some of the most often used utilities. I also use it to connect to network devices and servers over SSH. The display is currently set to 13 pt. white Anonymous Pro (no antialias) on a black background.
  • Things: By far, my favorite application for keeping track of all my work and home projects and tasks.
  • Yojimbo: This is where I store software serial numbers and license codes, bookmarks for KB articles, quotes from vendors, and web receipts. After I purchase something online, I use the Save PDF to Yojimbo feature to save the confirmation page.
  • TextExpander: I use this for expanding email signatures, some canned email responses, and a few Terminal commands. So far, it has saved me from typing over 200,000 characters.
  • Google Quick Search Box: For application launching, queuing iTunes music, and showing contact phone numbers in large type.
  • SuperDuper!: I let Time Machine handle regular backups and supplement it with full HD clones from SuperDuper! On average, I remember to execute the backup about 3-4 times a week. OK, more like 2-3 times a week.
  • Remote Desktop Connection Client 2: Part of my job is working with Windows Servers. The RDC client works perfectly for connecting to them.

5. Do you own any other Mac gear?

I have an 802.11g Airport Express and four iPods:

  • 1st generation blue 4GB iPod mini: For the iHome alarm clock
  • 40GB iPod photo (also known as iPod with color display): For the car
  • 2nd generation silver 1GB iPod Shuffle: For working out
  • 1st generation 8GB iPod Touch: For the apps

6. Do you have any future upgrades planned?

I’ve had me eye on an Apple TV and might pick one up soon. I’ll probably buy it from Apple’s Refurbished items store. You get the same product with the same warranty at a cheaper price. Plus, all refurbished products are tested and certified by Apple. Something which cannot be stated for the brand new ones.

More Sweet Setups

Kevin’s setup is just one in a series of Sweet Mac Setups.

Reader Setup: Kevin Rodgers

An Invitation for Reader’s Mac Setups

There has been an unexpectedly great response to the Sweet Mac Setup posts. Quite a few people emailed just to say how much they were geeking out over the series. And many also suggested that I feature a broader demographic of people in various professions — which I think is a great idea.

But instead of hunting down more people, I thought it would be fun to feature the setups of those who are already reading the same site you are.1

If you want to showcase your (cool/dorky, clean/messy, old/new, etc.) setup to other shawnblanc.net readers, send an email to sbnet@mac.com, and I’ll reply back to you with the details.

Thanks for reading, and, as always, thanks for being awesome.

— Shawn


  1. A concept not unlike what Greg Storey did last year with “Airbag: As Seen From Around the World“.
An Invitation for Reader’s Mac Setups

Sweet Mac Setup: Sebastiaan de With

Sebastiaan de With specializes in icon and visual interface design, teaches people how to design icons, makes sweet t-shrits, and, most importantly, is a genuinely quality guy.

Sebastiaan’s Setup:

1. What does your desk look like?

Mac Setup: Sebastiaan de With

Mac Setup: Sebastiaan de With

Mac Setup: Sebastiaan de With

2. What is your current Mac setup?

I’m currently using a Mac Pro as my primary workstation, with a 30″ Apple Cinema Display and Wacom Cintiq 12WX attached. I use the Cintiq for occasional drawing, sketching, and signing off paperwork, but as a very ‘posable’ secondary display it’s also quite useful. My desktop hardware is always surrounded by figures and models.

I was using an old first-generation MacBook Pro as my first Mac and out of the office: it used to be a real pain as it has almost completely broke down. The first run of the MacBook Pro was pretty unreliable, and my first unit literally melted. I very happy to have obtained a new laptop during my week in San Francisco at WWDC, the 17″ Macbook Pro.

3. Why are you using this setup?

I got a Mac Pro after saving up enough money because I realized how severely limiting my laptop was. I often found myself back tapping on the laptop case as it was performing some sort of Photoshop operation and being annoyed at the heat it made during operation. It was fantastic to go to a workstation with such raw power, and being able to pick my own display and swap out hardware was a huge plus for me. I never regretted that, as I’ve expanded its graphics, RAM, and storage abilities quite a few times since I got it.

The Cintiq was a hard choice, but very much worth it. I wanted to get back into artistic and ‘freestyle’ art a bit more, and it has really helped.

The 17″ MacBook Pro had been on my wishlist since the unibodies got shown off. The screen simply blows my 30″ Cinema Display out of the water, it’s quite light for its size, and extremely fast. As a plus side, the battery easily lasts for 8 hours. The latest update just adds more beefy specs, and I enjoy still having the ExpressCard slot; I may be that single digit percentage of the Mac userbase that finds those extremely useful for 3G hardware (I’d like to keep my USB ports available, thanks), network adaptors, eSATA, and more.

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

I’d say my top 10 of apps is Photoshop CS4, Mail, Safari 4, NetNewsWire, Billings, iPhoto, LittleSnapper, iChat, Tweetie, and Quicktime.

I do all my work, without exception, in Photoshop, so it is almost always open. I get a big pile of email each day, so I have Mail open without exception (it starts when I log in). I do all my blog posting, half my tweeting, and most of my reading in Safari 4. I have almost 300 news sources in NetNewsWire, but they’re never a distraction. I consider it a part of my work to stay on top of everything that’s happening in my professional world. I do all my business work like invoicing, time tracking, and project estimation in Billings.

The rest sort of speak for themselves; I take a lot of photos, I use LittleSnapper with a huge gallery of icon and UI inspiration, keep in touch with iChat and Tweetie and watch videos with Quicktime + Perian.

5. Do you own any other Mac gear?

Naturally. I have a third-generation iPod 40 GB (still works!) which I saved up for by working as a dishwasher back in my younger years and serves as a testament to doing hard work to attain beautiful design, an iPod nano (second-generation), a first-generation iPhone and an iPhone 3G. I used to have three iPhones in total; since I live in the Netherlands, I had to buy them off eBay before the iPhone 3G came around. One broke, and I got a new one. The broken iPhone was later replaced in the US by Apple for a completely new unit, so I sold off my spare iPhone to my mom. True story.

I keep the iPhones in xStands: nice, aluminium Cinema Display foot-style holders for iPhones.

6. Do you have any future upgrades planned?

I keep hoping for a 30″ LED Cinema Display. The iPhone 3G S will be a sure buy later this year, considering how I’d like to test its color profile and specs for software I am making for iPhone and iPhone design / development. I won’t be bothered with supporting my local carrier, though: T-Mobile in the Netherlands is as bad as AT&T, and has no plans to support tethering or make attractive plans. I’ll be buying the iPhone 3G S in Belgium, without a SIM-lock and without a contract.

Accessory-wise, I’d like the mStand for my laptop. It’s a nice stand, similar to the xStand and Cinema Display foot I already have. It’s quite pricy, though.

More Sweet Setups

Sebastiaan’s setup is just one in a series of Sweet Mac Setups.

Sweet Mac Setup: Sebastiaan de With