How I Work

I love reading the how-i-work posts on life hacker. They aren’t the first to do that sort of series, but I love the mix of writers, industry leaders, software engineers and designers that contribute to it. With that, this is my contribution.

Current gig: Software Engineer
Location: Centerville, Ohio, USA
Current mobile device: Google Glass, Samsung S4, Nexus 10
Current computer: Apple Macbook Pro, System76 Ratel Performance
One word that best describes how you work: Furiously

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

A solid Linux install that keeps itself clean and up to date so that I don’t have to deal with that. Currently using Ubuntu but have a long history with Red Hat and Gentoo. I use sublime text whenever I’mn ot using Vim. I’ve been using Chrome for a few years now, although I’m considering moving back to Firefox with all of the improvements they’ve made.

For Java development, I really couldn’t live without Intellij. I use it for both professional and personal projects and gladly paid for a license to use at home.

To manage the constant flood of information, I use pinboard and Digg reader. Being a former engineer, I’ve got well over 5k bookmarks and add new links and notes daily. When Google Reader went away, I hopped between a few different feed readers but settled on the one that Digg created.

When gaming, I either stick with my PS3 or games purchased through Steam. The two games that I’ve been playing the most recently are Starbound and Hearthstone.

What’s your workspace setup like?

I have a home office and work remotely. I have a sturdy glass desk that has a two monitor arm that I picked up off of Amazon a while back. One monitor runs off my of laptop and the other is for my desktop. I use Synergy to share a single keyboard and mouse across the two. My current keyboard is the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate with blue switches and my mouse is a Logitech M500.

Next to my desk is a large bookshelf that I use for keepsakes, books and misc storage. I’ve got a bunch of signed games from working at Blizzard and a few from when I was at EA. Most everything else was either made or gifted.

What do you listen to while you work?

I’m a big supporter of Pandora and have been for a while. A few years ago I copied all of my music into Amazon Cloudplayer and use the two services regularly. Every now and then I try Spotify, but don’t find it compelling. I used to spend a lot of time managing playlists and whatnot, but over the years came to the conclusion that I listen to music to help me think and code (for the most part) so I don’t really care what it is.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Doing one thing at a time. I put a lot of effort into not multi-tasking. If I need to change or context switch, I’ll close everything out so that the next thing has 100% of my attention and focus.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

At work I use Jira. At home, I stick to a todo.txt file.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

Google Glass, without question. Although I don’t use it for taking pictures or recording videos that much, I find the notifications and information really helpful.