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?

Kevin Rodgers: Home Setup

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 readers, send an email to, 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

Walt Mossberg Says the 3G S is Super Speedy, Too

And Walt Mossberg Says the 3G S is Super Speedy, Too

From the Wall Street Journal:

To me, this is the most important feature of the new iPhone 3G S. In fact, the “S” in the name stands for speed. During my week of testing, the new model proved dramatically snappier in every way than my iPhone 3G. Its processor is 50% faster than in the prior model, and it sports a new graphics chip.

Applications opened much more quickly. Web pages loaded far faster. The camera was ready to use almost instantly. And I never once saw the occasional, annoying iPhone behavior where you strike a key while typing and it sits there, seemingly stuck, before you can continue.

Though I thought for sure the “S” in the name stood for Shawn.

Walt Mossberg Says the 3G S is Super Speedy, Too

Gizmodo’s iPhone 3G S Review

Gizmodo’s iPhone 3G S Review

Jason Chen on Gizmodo says, “once you start using it, the speed of the iPhone 3GS will amaze you.”

Funny, because on the aforelinked review by Engadget, Joshua Topolsky wasn’t all that excited about the speed jump. Saying, “the additions of video recording, a compass, and a speed bump just don’t seem that compelling to us.”

Not only that, but Gizmodo’s review of the 3G S’s battery life says it is what Apple claims it to be: better. Joshua’s review on Engadget said that the new battery is virtually the same as the original 3G.

Apparently, results may vary.

Gizmodo’s iPhone 3G S Review

AT&T Offeres Best Upgrade Price to iPhone 3G S for 3G Owners

AT&T Offers Best Upgrade Price to the iPhone 3G S for 3G Owners

From the AT&T Newsroom:

We’re now pleased to offer our iPhone 3G customers who are upgrade eligible in July, August or September 2009 our best upgrade pricing, beginning Thursday, June 18.


If you’re one of the customers who benefits from this change, and you’ve already preordered from an AT&T store, we’ll adjust the price of the device when you pick it up. If you benefit from the change and you pre-ordered from AT&T online, we’ll send you an e-mail and issue you a credit.

(Via @film_girl.)

AT&T Offeres Best Upgrade Price to iPhone 3G S for 3G Owners

Fever Really is That Hot

Shaun Inman has taken the problem of individual RSS overload and solved it with a brilliant, beautiful web-based feed reader called Fever.

I had the honor of helping beta test Fever over the past year, and six months ago I actually switched away from NetNewsWire and now use Fever exclusively.

It really is that hot.

The reason I switched is because the selling point of Fever (subscribe to as many feeds as humanly possible, and never feel stressed about not being able to keep up with all of them) actually translated to my experience. Fever is much more than a good idea with a pretty face — Fever really works.

Up until now feed readers have pretty much had only one function, and that is to collect all your unread items. Which is why the only solution to feed-reader overload is to slash and hack your subscription list.

Naturally, Fever works splendidly as a standard feed reader. You can group and browse your feeds just like you always have. But it doesn’t stop there, and neither should you.

Suppose you want to simply check in quickly and see if anything new or exciting is going on. In any other reader you would have to scan through all your feeds, and mentally assess what’s going on. That’s a lot of thinking, and it certainly doesn’t happen quickly. Which is why people are constantly feeling the need to cut back on feeds.

Yet this is the main point of Fever.

As Shaun put it, “Fever takes the temperature of your slice of the web and shows you what’s hot.” Which means the more feeds you’re subscribed to, the better Fever works. Go nuts! Subscribe to as many feeds as you can.

All these extra feeds are called “Sparks”. Once you subscribe to them, you never have to look at them, sort through them, or worry about them again. But you DO get to use them to help keep your Hot tab alive and active.

It’s Hotter in a Site-Specific Browser

The way I check feeds in Fever is the same way I used to check feeds in NetNewsWire: using the arrow keys exclusively to find new articles, but reading the articles on their respective websites. This is why I prefer to run Fever in Fluid.

In Fluid’s preferences, under Behavior, I checked the box for links sent to default browser to open in the background. Since I like to read articles in their perspective author’s site, when I right-arrow out to an article or a link it then opens up in Safari, and in the background. Once I’ve opened up the small handful of things I want to read, I close Fever and begin reading.

If Fluid is opening an additional tab or window every time you arrow out to an article then go to Fever’s preferences (not Fluid’s), and de-select “open links in new window/tab”.

Hot Tips

  • Make sure you put the Feedlet into your browser’s bookmark bar. You can’t set Fever as your default RSS reader in Safari’s preferences, so clicking on the RSS icon in the Address Bar won’t subscribe you to the feed in Fever.
  • The main keyboard shortcuts I use are “a” (for marking an entire feed as read), and “s” (for saving an article). Fever has a slew of keyboard shortcuts; you can find them in Fever’s main menu.
  • Selecting “Show Unread” from the menu, or pressing “u”, will show you only the feeds that actually have unread items in them. Removing the clutter of lots of feeds that have old articles you already read last month.
  • Though the iPhone interface of Fever is extremely slick, it can get a bit borked when you visit a webpage. A quick tilt of the phone to change the orientation will fix it.
  • Fever installs automatically, and its updates are pushed automatically (not unlike WordPress’ in-app update feature).
  • In Fluid’s General Preferences I’ve checked to show the dock badge. This way you can see your unread count in the dock (assuming you want to).

If you need some help getting Fever populated, here is my current OPML file, which includes about 200 feeds altogether.

More Reviews

This is just one of a handful of winded and entertaining software reviews.

Fever Really is That Hot