Herding Code: Herding Code 127: Setting up your Computer and Work Area

Herding Code

On this episode of Herding Code, the guys discuss computer and work area setup, from installation and file management to ergonomic work areas and animated GIF’s. Kevin and K Scott both just got MacBooks, they discuss what they are doing with them, such as using the emulator to test HTML5 apps for.

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On this episode of Herding Code, the guys discuss computer and work area setup, from installation and file management to ergonomic work areas and animated GIF’s.

  • Kevin and K Scott both just got MacBooks, they discuss what they are doing with them, such as using the emulator to test HTML5 apps for iPhone/iPad.
  • Jon asks, “When you get a new mac, you open it up and rainbows come out of it. Do you have to install anything? How does that setup process work?”
  • Kevin talks about development tooling such as HomeBrew and XCode. They discuss different tools and apps that they need to do development.
  • Jon asks about twitter apps. K Scott uses the browser; Kevin is using the official Twitter app which seems pretty good except when it won’t launch the browser when clicking on the links in tweets.
  • When upgrading, do you go through fresh install or remove programs? Jon talks about using Ninite to install programs you use a lot such as 7Zip, Audacity, Chrome, FileZilla, Skype, etc, because it manages everything for you and you don’t have to click through all the install dialogs.
  • Also talks about using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to get all of the web development stuff.
  • They talk about the pros and cons of using Microsoft Office, and discuss using the Mac apps or Google docs or Office.Live.com.
  • Jon is using Mesh to share between computer and sky drive; what kind of file sharing? K Scott is using Dropbox, says Live Mesh is important because of the remote desktop feature of Mesh. They talk about different file sharing companies and features, and talk about iCloud.
  • Jon talks about the Windows Home Group feature, and how easy it is to share files, printers, media, etc., and talks about doing backups. Uses Space Sniffer to find big files.
  • Jon got an SSD, so he made the old drive his D drive and used the SSD as his primary drive. If the SSD failed (which it did), he could just boot off the D drive.
  • They discuss the placement of the files on the computer, whether to move to a second hard drive or partition, etc., and whether to use Libraries; they talk about searching for files in Windows. Some software apps disable the file indexer in Windows. When you install on an SSD, they disable some services like defrag, prefetch – it also disabled search.
  • K Scott asks what kind of SSD Jon is using that is failing. Jon says it’s an OCZ Vertex 2, but he’s not sure it’s the drive versus the computer – gets blue screen on Windows, thinks it might be a hardware problem with his evil computer.
  • Jon asks if they use Hibernate or Sleep? How often do they reboot?
  • Kevin never uses hibernate. Jon will have a bunch of stuff running and will hibernate to save the battery on his laptop. Kevin thinks it burns slowly enough on Sleep, only hibernates when doing a full day of travel. Not worth it for a couple of hours.
  • With newer laptop (16gb of ram), hibernating is a big deal. Jon ended up setting hibernate file size and tweaking the hibernate settings.
  • MacBooks have pretty good battery life. The Air says it has almost 8 hours remaining; thinks that’s a little high, but it’s pretty good. Jon’s ThinkPad W520 is big, but gets around 7 hours, doesn’t have to worry about battery life; some optimizing settings make it difficult to use a projector.
  • They discuss how often they repave their machines and the effect of using beta versions of software, how they go about getting back to work after repaving. How do you save your settings and reapply them after repaving?
  • K Scott – windows get stuck off screen, can’t get them back on the main screen. Kevin has a utility that can help with that; it’s on his blog. Shows list of off-screen windows – can pick one and it will move it back to the main window.
  • Jon finds uninstall really works pretty well now, whereas before it was just a cruel joke.
  • K Scott talks about pulling pictures off of a Windows 6 phone. Doesn’t attach as an external drive, it installs Windows Mobile Device Center. Nooooo!!!!!
  • Jon finished his office and moved into it. What about a standup desk? Found something simple from IKEA that could be used for part of the day. They talk about the idea of a standup desk.
  • What about doing your work on a treadmill with a laptop? (Idea from a Neal Stephenson book). What if you did that for 15 to 30 minutes a day? Several people on twitter responded with information about their setups doing this.
  • Simple way – found something for forty bucks on amazon that the laptop would rest in. Would just walk, not jog. Others have taken the control thing apart and put in a desk. Let us know if you’ve tried something like this.
  • They discuss ergo keyboards, and using Synergy or Input Director for sharing a keyboard and mouse across multiple computers.
  • K Scott has a problem with the keyboard on the Mac; bothers his hands, especially when using it for hours. They like Lenovo keyboards.
  • Jon – some keys don’t map between Mac and Windows. Kevin uses a Microsoft ergo keyboard with the Mac, and out of habit still uses those keys, and it sometimes has a weird impact.
  • They talk about Vim and Mac Vim.
  • Jon switched from using a mouse to using a tablet. Mouse is what really hurts your wrist. Kevin moved his mouse to the left for years for the same reason. K Scott likes the TrackPoint pointing stick on the Lenovo.  Kevin’s never been a fan of the trackpad on the laptops, but the Mac trackpad is brilliant.
  • Talk about using different software to help readability, like Readable, which uses Google web fonts. Can customize it to meet your needs. Makes it easier to read web pages.
  • Jeff Atwood posted a blog entry about backlights behind the monitor like LED glowstrips. You can have a dark workspace and lower the contrast using backlights.
  • And now for something completely different . a lightning round.
    • What’s your favorite browser?
    • What’s your favorite Javascript library this week?
    • Did Adobe really kill Flash? Does the lightning round really work? Does anyone expect the Spanish Inquisition? Why do people keep making websites that exclusively use Flash, especially restaurants? Is the future of video really animated gifs?


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Herding Code 127: Setting up your Computer and Work Area

This week’s show notes were typed up by @RobinDotNet – Thanks!!!

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