Uses This

I’ve long had a love of voyeurism into the gear, environment and processes that others use. Whether it’s a rig rundown on Uses This, photos of people’s workspaces or even stickers.


  • Apple M1 Macbook Air, 8GPU, 16gig RAM, 1TB SSD. The best piece of gear I’ve ever owned.
  • Current chargers are from Aukey and RAVPower, because at the time both were more compelling than the GaN chargers from Anker. This is something I’ll be replacing soon. Both Aukey and RAVPower got kicked off Amazon for fake reviews so we’ll have to see.
  • Nomad charging cables and various no name “USB-C to X” convertor dongles. Having all charging be 100% USB-C is wonderful. Do you need $30+ USB-C cables? No. But I swear that you could tow a car with these things. No regrets.

The above is basically standalone, I don’t NEED anything but the laptop and the charger. I’m currently typing this on a couch, using a laptop in my lap for the first time in my life.

Desk Life

Most work days I’m in a spare bedroom converted to my office. Laptop gets plugged in to this.

  • LG 32UD59 32" 4K@60 monitor. I own two, I can only use one because the M1 can only drive one.
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 2S mouse. Not always used but nearby. I’m fairly adept at the apple trackpad.
  • Jabra Evolve UC 65 headset. Not fully satisfied but it’s paid for.
  • Logitech StreamCam I got really tired doing endless Zoom calls with my video looking like a 1980s camcorder. This is nowhere close to what I could get with a mirrorless camera and an HDMI convertor but it’s pretty good.
  • Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub Is it priced appropriately? No. Is it markedly better than the countless other USB-C hubs available? Also no. But this is the only hub I found that has a detachable cord. The socket for that cord is on the wrong side to match up with the Macbook’s “only on the left” usb-c ports so this hub has to either sit backwards or upside down. I’ve also had two instances where it refused to “charge through”. But man does it fit nicely in my bag for travel.
  • Fujitsu ix1600 document scanner. Not everyone needs this, but if you need it, you REALLY NEED it. This one replaces the older S1500 that I used for 11 years before it finally died. It’s fantastic.
  • Room lighting is various WiFi bulbs controlled through HomeAssistant.
  • The window behind me faces due West and midafternoon sun requires a real blackout shade. Being a nerd that means an IKEA Fyrtur motorized shade that speaks to Zigbee2MQTT and then back to Home Assistant.

Road Warrior

Let’s be clear, even pre-COVID I was not exactly traveling. I work from home, I rarely went anywhere except back and forth to the office. In both locations I had monitors and keyboards so that the laptop could just be plugged in, left closed and used as a “compute brick.” That said, I did have to maintain a small amount of Everyday Carry.

  • The Bag, the myth, the legend… The GoRuck GR-1. Mine is black and an older 26L type. It was the first thing I ever owned where I realized it will outlive me. My grandchildren will argue over who gets to own this. It’s just perfection as a bag.
  • BagSmart Electronics Organizer for all the cables and dongles, spare chargers, screen cleaning cloths, even a Spork.


I can get by with just a Macbook Air becuase there’s so much infrastructure hiding in the basement.

  • Raising Electronics 42U Rack holds most of the gear.
  • Server #1: DATA - 1U Chenbro case with Xeon 1230v2 and 32gig RAM. Holds nine Western Digital 14TB EasyStores “shucked” arranged into RAIDZ2 with a hot spare. Mirrored Intel enterprise SSDs for boot and another mirror pair for SLOG. This is the primary NAS storage for the house.
  • Server #2: ARTOO - 1U Chenbro case with Xeon 1230v2 and 32gig RAM. Holds all of the old drives I had lying around, currently eight Toshiba X300 4TB in RAIDZ1. Mirrored Intel enterprise SSDs for boot and another mirror pair for SLOG. This is the “Backup NAS”. The primary backs itself up here.
  • Server #3: THREEPIO - 2U PLINKUSA case self built. i9-9900K, 64gig RAM, mirrored Samsung 500gig SSD on root. This is the primary “heavy lifting server”.
  • Server #4: ULTRON - Ryzen 9 3900X, 64gig RAM. Boots from 1tb NVME. This is honestly hardware I couldn’t use elsewhere and just idles. It’s in a crappy gamer case that needs to be migrated to a 4U rackmount case I already own. May try to set this up for remote gaming.
  • Server #5 BLUESUN - SuperMicro X9SCL with Xeon 1230v2. The router, running OPNSense. This is also in a crappy case and needs rehomed into a rackmount case.
  • Primary internet connection is Spectrum 400meg.
  • Secondary internet connection is Cincinnati Bell 40meg DSL. The router will fail over to this in the event that the cable modem is down.
  • Three Unifi UAP-AC-Pro access points one each basement, first and second floors.
  • Unifi 48 port PoE Switch.
  • MicroTik CRS317-1G-16S+RM. All devices in the rack are on this for 10gig interconnect.

With this gear I can run things without worrying about doing it on my laptop.