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Why be Secret?

A bit of a technical self indulgent post this time, but hopefully somebody may get something useful from it.

In the spirit of transparency I thought I would document what as of September 2023 what we are using in the way of tools to do our job. Some of the following may be of no interest at all, but others like choice of email provider or what we use to edit photos may be of use, so here goes.

Firstly the hardware. My main machine is an Apple M2 MacBook Air (in navy blue), I replaced my Macbook Pro earlier this year, and while supposedly a lower range model, the Apple M2 chip is as least as fast and a lot more portable, to the extent that I rarely use my iPad and would certainly not replace it. The Air is docked to a 32" 4K monitor giving me portability when needed and a good amount of screen space to work in, and watch movies when at my desk!

Mandy exclusively uses her 12.9" iPad pro and an external keyboard which she loves, I offered her my old MacBook pro but she prefers the iPad. We are all different I guess.

My code editor of choice. Sublime Text, I have tried many over the years but keep coming back to this one, it's blazingly fast, runs on Mac, Unix and Windows and is extendable through plugins which give me all I need on a daily basis. If I have more niche needs any time such as AI code helpers I keep a copy of Microsoft's' VSCode editor as well.

Also for code we have all sites while developing running under version control which means we can experiment, make changes or try out new ideas and roll back at any time if things go wrong. We use the industry standard here (GIT) which we manage through Sublime Merge, the companion app to our text editor. Just as an aside we also use this to system to write and store our blogs, so it is just not for code.

Photo editing, for may years I used Adobe Photoshop, which was so standard it became a verb, to "Photoshop" an image, basically the same way that Hoover did with vacuuming. However a couple of years ago we switched to Pixelmator pro, a Mac only app as Adobes pricing model switched to a (rather expensive) annual subscription. Pixelmator pro is not as powerful, however it handles all we need, is fast and very easy to use when coming from Photoshop. Updates and improvements are frequent and again it's fast to load and process images.

Internet Browser, I am currently using Arc, a newcomer to the market, but with some interesting takes on the browser experience. I runs on both Mac and iPhone with a Windows version currently in development. It takes some setting up as it uses the concept of sidebars, create as many as you need, keep favourites in there and switch as needed. For example we have a "support" sidebar which has all the links we need for that role, links to domain name management, CMS access etc etc. We have another for development which has links to resources we use all the time. So far I can not recommend it highly enough. When developing sites I use Firefox browser as the debugging tools are top of the range and does not have the privacy issues of Google Chrome.

There are really two other tools we use daily, e-mail and task management/note taking. For email we use Fastmail and have done for many years. It supports custom domains and while it is a paid service it has none of the privacy concerns of "free" services such as gmail or hotmail. On my Mac I access mail through Mailmate, not the prettiest mail client but the most powerful with insane search and filtering rules allowing you file and find mail very quickly. Again something I have used for a good few years. On the phone I use Preside, again not pretty but the nearest thing to Mailmate available on iOS.

Task and Project Management. I have tried them all (nearly). At present I am using Noteplan which allows me to keep notes on things done, code snippets, support requests etc as well as things I need to do. For me at least at the moment it's the sweet spot between task management and note taking. It's Mac/iOS only but if you are on this system and need to be organised I would thoroughly recommend it.

I hope this post may help someone out there, if it does or you need any more details please contact us. We are always happy to try and help.

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