Robin Uses This

I really enjoy reading uses this to get some ideas about what kind of tooling other people use, and of course to borrow ideas, so I thought I’d do my own version of this, and maybe help someone else. A lot of thought goes into my tooling and workflowArguably too much. Recently, I was close to buy an iPad Pro + Pencil, because I effectively wanted digital paper.

, so this is going to be quite elaborate. This is also a page instead of a post, and I will try to keep it up to date, as my setup keeps changing.


My primary computer nowadays is a 2015 15" Macbook Pro, which is actually owned by my employer, but I get to take it home, and do whatever I want with it, so I use it as my only computer right now. The desktop workstation I had previously I left behind in Germany. Sometimes I do miss the raw power of a Xeon with effectively unlimited memory, but most of the time I prefer the mobility which allows me to work from anywhere.I do work regularly “from home”, which sometimes is just a coffeeshop.

MacOS is also very nice and tends to not get into the way too much. I have always tried to only have one computer, because I want to have all my things available everywhere, and keeping several computers in sync is just supremely difficult.Though iCloud allowing me to access my desktop from my phone is pretty neat.

At work I use a stand to bring the display up to eye-level, mostly because I don’t have an external display with sufficient pixel density to prevent eye-strain when staring at code all day long. Because of this I use an Apple Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. At home I generally have just the laptop, as I tend to sit on the couch or at the dinner table, and that is okay for shorter periods of time.

I have been using the Colemak keyboard layout for several years on all physical keyboards due to RSI issues, and also remap caps lock to control.

The most precious software I have on my computer is probably BetterTouchTool, which allows me to set up custom shortcuts and gestures, and also modify all kinds of details about my input devices, which Apple doesn’t expose. My setup allows me to use my computer both with just the keyboard or just the trackpad. I also have 1Password on all of my devices and synced via iCloud.

I write most of my code in Spacemacs, which is an Emacs distribution that basically emulates vim. It comes with mostly reasonable defaults and provides a much better experience out of the box.Which doesn’t prevent me from having several hundred lines of bespoke configuration anyway.

Despite that I also still use vim a fair bit, and my configuration mostly emulates Spacemacs’ behaviour.

When it comes to browsing, my work browser is currently Firefox Developer Edition, and my private browser is just Safari, because of iCloud synchronisation.


My phone is an iPhone X, which I am very happy with. Under regular use it only requires charging every 2 days, and it is my primary device when I’m out and about. I have a very simple and visually quiet matte black case on it, just because I fear that scratches and dents are going to be really ugly with the black[^space] finish. I currently use Bose QC35 II, which are amazing for flights, but also on trains and buses. I do have the Lightning Earpods in my bag pack, just in case, though.

The primary software on this is currently 2Do, which is a GTD-style task management app that controls large parts of my life. I also use Overcast as my podcast client, and I’m listening to podcasts basically whenever I’m out and not sitting down. While seated, I usually read articles, which are held in Instapaper. There is a random assortment of other more or less useful apps on there, but nothing really worth mentioning. I currently use Apple Notes to keep notes, and that does the job.I’m actually quite excited about the fact that it does OCR on handwritten notes, and it’s pretty good at that. One of the reasons I’m seriously considering the Pencil.