Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Paul Hagon, web developer at the National Library of Australia. I’ve been working in libraries and museums for nearly 20 years now – always on websites. I’ve been so lucky to work in major institutions and magnificent buildings. I don’t know how much strict designing I do these days (in the sense of picking colours etc). My job covers so many aspects of front end design (HTML, CSS, JS), user experience, analysis and accessibility.
What hardware do you use?
I spend most of my time at work on a late 2014 27″ iMac. The massive retina screen is beautiful. I use anÂ iPad Air 2 for testing sites and apps, meetings etc.
My personal machine is a mid 2011 11″ MacBook Air. This is the best laptop I’ve ever owned & I can’t believe that it’s just about to hit the obsolete list in Apple hardware. It’s 6 years old & still going strong. I am glad I maxed out the processor, memory and storage when I bought it, although these days it would be nice to have more than the 4Gb memory in it, but I can cope.
I communicate and develop websites on an iPhone 5s. I seem to be on a cycle where I keep my laptops for at least 5+ years and my phones for 4 years. You’ll see a little trend developing here. I’m not one to be replacing my gear on a regular basis if it still works fine. Money spent on a holiday provides much better memories than money spent so I can use my phone as a credit card. The only reason I would like to upgrade is for the better cameras you get in the latest models.
I’m not a big gamer or video editor so my hardware needs are fairly basic.
Whichever machine I’m using there’s usually music in the background. I’ll be listening in my own little world via Bose AE2 bluetooth headphones. I can highly recommend bluetooth headphones. Not getting caught up wires is so liberating.
I use an EyeTV USB receiver that handles recording TV shows when needed.
To get from point A to point B and for general exercise I’m on my bike. It hasÂ Campagnolo components. I’ve been riding with them for 25 years & the design, quality & efficiency is fantastic. These components just work.
All this coding and cycling makes you hungry – in the kitchen a good set of knives is a must, I use Global. I’m always making pasta using pasta rollers and cutters attached to aÂ kitchenaid mixer. Having both hands free to manipulate the pasta is so convenient. My current favourite gadget is Global pinboning tweezers. I also love my Alessi kettle. It’s always used as an example of impractical design (you burn yourself on steam removing the bird), practicalities aside it is a thing of beauty and doesn’t drip when it pours.
And what software?
The most valuable and essential piece of software I use is 1Password – this password manager holds everything – my life would be a shambles without it.
Much of my day is spent in my preferred code editor, Coda. I’ve tried various coding fonts but have settled on SF Mono at the moment as it complements the rest of the Apple interfaces. I configure Coda with the Monokai theme. Spending so much time in an editor, a nice colour scheme and font become important. Generally if there is a dark theme for software it’s enabled.
Being a web developer I have all the different browsers installed. I use Safari for personal use, Chrome for work (only because it’s what most users out there are using so it makes sense to use it). Both have great developer tools & do the job just fine.
I use Sequel Pro for wrangling with MySQL databases.
All code is in Git repositories managed by Tower. Generally if there’s a GUI interface for something that’s my preference. There’s some things that need to be run from the command line so a Terminal window is always open in the background.
For making things look pretty I now use Sketch for prototyping designs. I did use Fireworks for layout work & was so sad when Adobe stopped developing it.
iTunes is always delivering tunes & the occasional movie or TV show. I prefer to own physical copies of media rather than digital only versions.
Keynote handles all presentation tasks and sometimes layouts and interaction designs. I try to avoid any of the Office apps as much as possible although it’s inevitable that I have to use them. I always feel like I’m fighting with them to get it to do what I want.
What would be your dream setup?
I don’t know if I have a dream setup. My needs are limited. I value portability over power. I get excited by the thought of all the fancy features in OS releases, but in reality I don’t use them as the promise isn’t delivered. I’m sure it will one day & I’ll be able to just think of things and it will be done. Until then I just want software that works and a stable configuration.
Oh … and knives that never need sharpening.