Developer, T8 Webware
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Luke Amdor and I code a lot.
My work is as a developer at T8 Webware. I’m mainly involved with the backend platform that powers the magic behind our newest product Grip and much more to come. We’re very cross-functional developers at T8, involved with everything from architecture, to coding, to deployment and more. T8 Webware is based out of Cedar Falls, but a Des Moines office is in the works.
What hardware are you using?
My main workhorse is a System76 Gazelle Professional beast of a laptop. It’s pretty loaded with a quad core i7, 16 gigs of RAM, and a hybrid SSD. It’s definitely the fastest machine I’ve developed on, but isn’t one of the most mobile laptops I’ve used. It’s usually relegated to be docked on my desk. The battery life and weight aren’t as good as I’d like. I use a single 24” HP monitor as I’m not a big fan of the multi-monitor setups. I get distracted easily so I feel having only one thing in front of me allows me to focus on just that. Also in use is an external Apple keyboard with an old school Logitech mouse. I love the feel and action of Apple’s chiclet keyboards.
All of this sits on top of a poor man’s standing desk. I’ve basically put an IKEA coffee table on my regular desk to get everything to a height of 4 feet, which is perfect for me. The standing experiment started back in May of this year and I have been loving it. I no longer feel like I have any energy lows. Very recommended. I’m currently thinking of ways to add a treadmill to the mix, but have to figure out the logistics first.
For my mobile coding needs on the couch or the patio, I use a trusty 2009ish Macbook Pro. It has served me quite well over the years.
I use an iPhone 4 on the go and an iPad 2 to read news, RSS feeds, books, comics and pretty much consume all types of media.
And what software?
I’ve been a Mac user for about the last 7 or so years up until earlier this year when I finally switched over to Ubuntu. I have been becoming more disenfranchised with OS X’s developer package support and general bloat (Yes, I know about homebrew. I’ve actually contributed some formula to it. It’s just not quite comparable to other package managers. Don’t even get me started on macports.) I’ve flirted with Linux distros in the past. I was even a hardcore gentoo user at one time. So in a quest for greater minimalism and power, I’ve fallen into Ubuntu. I use it both on my system76 laptop and Macbook.
Emacs is pretty much my one and only workbench. I’d estimate I spend about 80% of my coding time in it. I believe it’s the programmer’s text editor as almost everything is written in and extendable using Emacs Lisp. There’s so much that one can do in Emacs. The tar pit of Emacs configuration that I use is up at Github.
The other time is split between Chrome, the terminal using zsh, and Spotify. I use xmonad for window management. My Swiss army knife for scripting is Ruby.
Being the GTD nerd that I am, I need a reliable system of trust for keeping things out of my mind. I’ve used OmniFocus on the Mac in the past, but moved over to using the awesome org-mode in Emacs and Evernote for keeping track of things. That’s worked pretty well so far. However, lately, I’ve been feeling that as my number of inboxes grows and my dependence on mobile devices grows, my current system isn’t growing with me. So being the hacker I am, I’ve been slowly developing my own opinionated system at my own pace. Sorta like a ifttt for task collection into a single inbox. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully I’ll be able to open it up more later.
At T8 we use a ton of open source: Scala, Akka, Unfiltered, Lift, Hadoop, HBase, Solr, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and more. Chef and Vagrant make our deployments sane. For team/project communication we’re currently using Campfire, Trello, Github, Skype, and the usual Google apps. We’re hoping to get a engineering blog set up sometime in the near future so we can tell more of our technical story. There’s some really cool stuff that we have going on.
Other stuff I’m currently hacking with are Haskell, Clojure, and the very promising ClojureScript. I also have a neglected hobby with music generation and music as code. So playing around with extempore and overtone are interesting right now.
The essential backup apps I use are Dropbox and Crashplan.
What would be your dream setup?
Tools and machines that grow with you and don’t limit you.