I’ve made 2015 about raising money for Macmillan by doing triathlons and more, and would love for you to find out why!

Tools of the trade

A little insight into the devices, programs, and products that I use on a day to day basis both at work at home.

Everyone has their own

Everyone works in a different way, with different tools, to produce their own results – that’s a great thing, and I’ve been asked a few times what my “setup“ is, but I’ve never really been able to give a full answer, I guess because it’s pretty darned complicated and is split across a few separate bits of my world.

I’ll do my best to keep this up-to-date as new things work their way into my workflow or if I’ve missed anything.

1. Working at home

I’ll start at home.

27" iMac

At home I use a 3.2GHz Quad-core Intel i5 27" 2013 iMac with an amazing 3TB Fusion Drive which gives the whole system a massive kick when it comes to working with multiple, high-intensity programs.

It’s also pretty good for watching movies, streaming to my Apple TV or being able to watch multiple football games at the same time.

iMac accessories

I use an Apple Magic Mouse, and wireless keyboard which I charge with Mobee Magic Charger and Magic Bar combo that sit under a little ledge that the iMac sits on. They’re great, massively efficient (haven’t used a battery in months) and I couldn’t recommend them any more highly.

The iMac is plugged into a set of Creative 2.1 speakers with a subwoofer that sits under the desk.

No fancy chair at home – I sit on a fifty-ish quid chair from IKEA and it’s great.

Adobe CC

Programs-wise this is probably one of my more used suites. I’ve always been a big Adobe guy, and when they introduced Creative Cloud I jumped at the opportunity to stop having to buy individual versions and risk falling behind by a CS or two.

Working at the University of Reading means I get the educational staff discount which keeps the price down, and more than worth it.

Sublime Text

I tend to jump straight from simple sketches straight into the browser. There are a lot of people with a similar process and a lot with a very different one – this one works for me, but you won’t find me pushing it down anyone’s throat – do what makes you most productive!

Anyhow, that means I need a pretty versatile text editor – Sublime Text has a great foundation, but the add-ons make it exponentially powerful and I’m forever discovering new ways to speed up my coding.

2. Working on the move

I attend the odd conference here and there, but the majority of my working from home is done on “Tottenham are at playing at home weekends“ given my season ticket and love for watching Spurs’ roller coaster of emotion.

15" Macbook Pro

My laptop has evolved from being my staple computer system during my degree to those weekends (and in bed when I can’t be bothered to sit at my desk on the iMac).

It’s a 2010 2.4GHz i5 15" Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM, and a kick-ass 500GB SSD which makes running anything and everything an absolute dream.

iPhone 4S

My Apple-everything approach continues. My first smartphone was an iPhone 3GS, I upgraded that to a 4S, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the 6 (if that’s what is on the horizon).

It helps keep me up-to-date with Twitter, email, and everything else on the move. It’s also pretty great for setting up as a personal hotspot to power the next baby on the list!

iPad Air

This one is less for work, but does make appearances at meetings, helps with browser testing, and makes for a lighter laptop when I don’t need the full functionality of my MBP.

I upgraded from an iPad 2 on launch day and the Air is a beauty!

Trusty notebook

I carry around a LEGO Moleskine notebook everywhere I go and anything that needs jotting down goes into it. It’s got everything from yesterday’s meeting notes to the results from my dissertation research. It’ll be full one day, and at that point I’ll buy an identical one and start again.

I’m a tad precious with my Macbook Pro – although I did drop a road sign on it 3 months after getting it – I refuse to litter it with stickers. With this considered my notebook is my sticker repository instead. It’s got everything from my trip to the states, LEGO men, and my favourite – the WDC 2013 yellow square.


This makes my stretched lifestyle possible – being able to sync easily and fluidly across my home iMac, work MBP and personal MBP without worry or delay is amazing.

It’s also an amazing way to send clients files. No brainer.

They’ve recently had some bad press, and I too don’t really agree with the Condi Rice situation; but similarly to the way I stuck with mediatemple, I’m giving Dropbox the benefit of the doubt until I feel that her appointment affects their great service.

3. Working at work

13" Macbook Pro

At work I use a second Macbook Pro, but with a twist. 90% of the time I work on a Windows partition – sadly the CMS we use at the University of Reading relies on the proprietary technology that is IE7 which means Windows or nothing at all, but I boot it into Mac every morning to get my day kicked off before the Windows-based-productivity-drop hits me.

I use it with a 24" Samsung monitor – identical to that which I used pre-iMac – and have a second Mobee Magic Charger there too. After a bit of key-remapping my CMD, CTRL and Shift keys sort-of do the same thing on Windows as they would on Mac, but I still find the odd time where I get @ and " mixed up, but I’d sooner have it this way than use anything other than the Apple wireless keyboard. I code with Sublime Text on there as well as it’s beautifully platform agnostic.

The shelf

I have a little shelf/side-bit-thing next to my desk, on which sits my knitted graduation owl from my dearest mother, a photo of my family, and a growing collection of Star Wars LEGO.

4. Pretty much else


This one is kind of working at home, on the move and at work, and ties into all of the devices that I use. Music helps me concentrate, stimulates my creativity and is great for a good sing song – the Frozen sound-track never gets sung I promise.

Spotify Premium is a must, and makes it a dream to listen to on the iPhone – normally whilst driving, but also running, walking anywhere, actually most of the time. It’s great!

Xbox One

A fair few years ago now, my then-girlfriend bought me an Xbox 360. That one still lives back at home in London (although it’s on the last toes of it’s last feet of it’s last legs). When I went to university I bought a new slim one, but that one packed up a couple of years in, and just happened to coincide with the launch of next-gen.

I found it hard to trust Sony after their hacking fiasco, and actually loved my experience with Xbox as a whole so it was a no brainer.

I’m not what you’d call a hardcore gamer. Annually you’ll find me buying FIFA each year, maybe the Call of Duty, and EVERY LEGO game there is – Marvel superheroes, The Hobbit, Batman… all of them.

Feel free to add my gamertag if you fancy some company on any of these games – RobSterlini.

Apple TV

This was a bit of a frivolous one when I bought it, but has proved invaluable. It allows me to beam BT Sport from my iPad to the TV. Allows me to show my family photos on the big screen. And looks like it’s only going to get better!

That’s it

I’m sure I’ve missed some bits, and I hope to get some photos in, in due course to give a more visual indicator of how I roll.

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