State of the Dock 2018

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State of the Dock
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Two months af­ter writ­ing State of the Podcasts, where I talked about my go-to pod­casts in 2018, this post is about the apps that find their home on my lap­top’s dock. These apps are those I use most of­ten and make me much more pro­duc­tive.


I switched from a Firefox/Opera com­bi­na­tion to Chrome as my pri­mary web browser when it was re­leased in late 2008 be­cause it was fast and se­cure. Today, I use Chrome be­cause it’s still stan­dards-com­pli­ant and I’m very deep into the Google ecosys­tem. Chrome is­n’t the fastest browser out there any­more, but I can only switch to a new browser if it’s also made by Google (or an­other com­pany I can rely upon for cloud stor­age, email, search, etc., or in­te­grat­ing with Google.)


One of the two ma­jor switches in 2018 was from Boxy, a Mac client for Inbox by Google, to Airmail 2. This change was part of a large over­haul of my en­tire email sys­tem, but that’s a story for an­other day. Airmail is fast and ef­fi­cient, and lets me con­fig­ure mul­ti­ple in­boxes, sig­na­tures, and most other things I need. I still use Inbox on my phone.


Franz is a na­tive* client for mul­ti­ple mes­sag­ing apps. I think of it as a browser with per­pet­ual tabs for apps I need run­ning in the back­ground. I have it con­fig­ured with mul­ti­ple Slack work­spaces, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Web, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. Before Franz, I used sim­i­lar all-in-one apps.

VS Code

In 2017, I start­ing us­ing Visual Studio Code from Microsoft in­stead of my long-time fa­vorite Sublime Text as my go-to code ed­i­tor. In the past, I’ve used every­thing from (then Macromedia) DreamWeaver to fully fledged IDEs, but I fell in love with the cus­tomiza­tion and ex­ten­sion ecosys­tem of VS Code. I use the theme Atom One Dark with the lig­a­ture type­face Fira Code.


iTerm2 is the ter­mi­nal re­place­ment I use, pri­mar­ily be­cause of its fea­tures like mul­ti­ple panes, search, and bet­ter themes. Even sim­ple tings like copy-and-paste are sim­pler in iTerm2 and it’s na­tive to Mac (unlike other Electron-based ter­mi­nals.)


Termius is the most re­cent ad­di­tion to my dock. It’s a beau­ti­fully-de­signed SSH client which also lets me store keys and cre­den­tials. It’s far bet­ter than my pre­vi­ous at­tempt at SSH man­age­ment—writ­ing shell scripts and one-liner Slack notes.

Adobe Photoshop

Even though I switched to Sketch for UI de­sign when I bought a Mac, Photoshop has been my fa­vorite way to quickly cre­ate raster im­ages since I started us­ing the tool even be­fore I turned 10. I like the clas­sics like com­pres­sion and ex­port op­tions and new fea­tures like Content Aware fill.


Sketch, in gen­eral, is how I de­sign. I did a free­lance app UI de­sign pro­ject this year and ex­ten­sively made use of Sketch. It has a vi­brant ecosys­tem of plu­g­ins and an in­cred­i­bly ac­tive com­mu­nity.


Postman is the best way of de­vel­op­ing and shar­ing REST API end­points. I use it in al­most every pro­ject, be­cause it’s sim­ple yet pow­er­ful. It’s great for sim­ple POST re­quests but also great to col­lab­o­rate on col­lec­tions of pro­jects with hun­dreds of end­points.


I started us­ing Navicat in 2017 be­cause it lets me use all ma­jor data­base man­age­ment sys­tems and con­nect to both lo­cal and re­mote servers. I use it for MySQL on localhost, Oswald Labs’ MariaDB in pro­duc­tion, and PostgreSQL for new pro­jects.


Again, in 2017, I started with phys­i­cal com­put­ing as part of my cur­ricu­lum in Creative Technology. Today, I use Arduino for every­thing from uni­ver­sity pro­jects to IoT prod­ucts for clients. I don’t use the Arduino GUI (I have a setup in VS Code), but still need to go to the app to com­pile and up­load (note to self: con­fig­ure Arduino for VS Code).


Earlier this year, I moved from Apple Music to Spotify, pri­mar­ily be­cause Apple Music in India did not give me rec­om­men­da­tions I was look­ing for. Spotify makes me great playlists, lets me down­load them, and I love fea­tures like cross­fad­ing and Genius.


1Password is my pass­word man­ager and gen­er­a­tor. I use it for all my on­line pass­words (with the ex­cep­tion of Google and Facebook), credit cards, WiFi pass­word, etc. It’s sim­ple, and works with all my de­vices.

Screenshot of my dock