J. Austin Hughey
A Mad Scientist's Notebook

A Mad Scientist's Notebook

This Is My Stack

There are many like it, but this one is mine.

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J. Austin Hughey
·Mar 24, 2022·

4 min read

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This post is a work in progress and will likely change over time.

In an effort to create future reference material should it be needed when it inevitably will be necessary to save my proverbial bacon, I'm documenting various elements of my "stack" for personal and professional use here. I'm always interested in hearing about other people's chosen tooling, since I value a low-friction, quality UX workflow above just above everything in my day-to-day life (you wouldn't believe the compound gains that enables over a series of years! the most unsexy life hack there ever was, but by a massive margin the most powerful!), so others may find this interesting too.

Network

Security

  • AV: BitDefender
    • I want to replace this with something less spammy and broken, just haven't got around to it yet. God awful experience, and I am very uncomfortable with any possible "agent" running on my machine whatsoever.
    • Possibly a moot point if I change over to using something like Qubes eventually
  • Passwords: 1Password (latest version)
    • Not happy with the subscription model, but I have yet to find anything as well-balanced between trustworthiness (been an Agile Bits customer for many years), security, and great UX.
    • That tune may change once I have experience using the latest app(s) in Linux.
    • Love the SSH keys integration, though. That shit's a game changer.

Backup

  • Personal Files/Projects/Code: Arq on MacOS
    • No Linux version afaik, so gonna have to replace that
  • System: Time Machine on MacOS
    • Again, Linux coming up, so gonna kill that, stop-gap only for now

Media

  • Storage: Synology NAS appliance, works well, need more disks :)
  • Backup for storage: I need to get on that, and soon.
  • Emby lifetime. Not a fan of Plex. Would like to roll Jellyfin, but it's just not mature enough yet.
  • Music: Apple Music. Got a free 6 month sub when I bought the Air Pods.
    • Desperately want to replace this with an offline ecosystem that has native desktop and mobile apps cross platform and on iOS/Android as well as Linux.
    • Needs to store files on computer, create playlist on computer, sync over wifi automatically (no cables needed)
    • No streaming, no subs
    • AFAIK nothing like that exists right now, and Apple would probably block it from ever seeing the light of day if I released it for any of their crApp stores

Communication + Coordination

  • Fantastical on MacOS, iOS
  • Spark (email client) on MacOS, iOS
  • Contacts.app on MacOS, iOS
  • All of the above use fastmail.com for CalDAV, CardDAV, IMAP and SMTP
    • Haven't checked my Google mail account in at least 6 months, don't miss it whatsoever.
  • iMessage on Mac/iOS
    • Really want to replace this but pretty locked in right now. Matrix server abstraction in future?
  • Forced to use Zoom for work. I hate it, I don't trust it, and i think their execs should be serving jail time. Actively seeking ways to replace or "fake" it out so I can get rid of that malware.

Browsers

We desperately need a web browser that isn't a total shit show right now. Chrome and its derivatives (possibly minus Vivaldi) are a god awful nightmare for privacy and performance, and Mozilla has really screwed the pooch on Firefox, mismanaging it into the damn ground. iOS is an exercise in stupidity since Apple prohibits any non-webkit engine implementation that isn't the one installed by default, which is a massive privacy risk that got exploited against millions of people just a few months ago. Android is a laughable shitstorm of fail anyway so I'm not even going there.

So yeah, right now, Vivaldi. Not great, but has some nice features the others don't. I absolutely refuse to install any Google or Microsoft product, full stop.

Digital Asset Production (images, etc.)

Rarely do I ever do any "art" stuff (I am no artist at all), but I like Affinity Designer for that rare occasion where I'm stupid enough to try to make pretty pictures (it never goes well). When I switch to Linux later this year I expect Krita will get the job done just as well in my case.

All products from Adobe are 100% malware and I refuse to install them under any circumstances.

Development Work

  • Sublime Text 4
    • Was using Nova.app on MacOS, which is nice, though not as performant by a long shot. Also not as mature or as large an ecossytem, and no options outside of MacOS, which I'm in the process of escaping anyway. ST4 is quite nice IMO, works well.
  • iTerm2, investigating Wezterm (so far not as smooth a UX but not bad, lots of very advanced features, way faster performance)
  • brew is ❤️