What Tech I Am Using
July 2019 Software
Here are the software applications that I use, sorted from the most to the least, with their current versions as of July 1st, 2019.
Here are the software tools that I use from a command prompt and in scripts. All of these I build myself regularly, and I use these more than the apps above.
I use them on macOS, Windows via cygwin, FreeBSD, and Linux. I would use them on iOS but iOS sadly has no command-line world. These tools are listed alphabetically.
- Terminal 2.9.5 - the single most important app on macOS! My life is spent here. Until iOS gets its own Terminal, iOS is an absolute toy & largely useless to me.
- Safari 12.1.1 - favorite web browser, not as good of UI as 5 years ago, but still 1st choice.
- Firefox 67.0.4 - 2nd favorite web browser, and my main browser on Windows.
- Preview 10.1 - fast and decent PDF and photo viewer on macOS; much of my basic photo editing is done here as well.
- Tweetbot 2.5.8 - Mac Twitter client; another version is on my iOS devices. Pretty good link to what's happening.
- Eddie 3.4.1 - great Mac text editor, opens large files fast, most of my involved programming done here; great tech support too!
- Notes 4.6 - excellent app on the Mac and iOS! More and more of my life is in here due to iCloud sync, support for photos & other attachments, cool photo features of scanning business cards and other files even when photographed at angles; handy drawing tools.
- TextEdit 1.14 - very good rich text editor, so good that I rarely need MS Word any more. Mac only.
- Free42 2.2.1 - great HP calculator used daily; newer versions treat 0^0 wrong, so I am sticking with this one; I use it on macOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, & FreeBSD.
- Excel 12.3.6 - this part of Microsoft Mac Office from 2008 barely runs, but is still the best UI & user experience for spreadsheets.
- Numbers 6.1 - Apple's attempt at Excel still pales by comparison; macOS & iOS.
- LibreOffice 6.2.4 - I occasionally use this on macOS; it is my main spreadsheet on Windows at present. Font sizes always seem off. Not a favorite.
- iTunes 12.9.5 - the last iTunes, much better UI back in 2012 in version 10.7; I use my own cmd line play tool more and more and iTunes less and less.
- VLC 188.8.131.52 - main video viewer, supports many formats, UI clunky; I use it on macOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, & FreeBSD.
- HandBrake 1.2.2 - main video ripper, supports many formats, very well done; I use it on macOS, Windows, & FreeBSD.
- Mail 12.4 - this Mac mail program is my favorite & works well.
- Calender 11.0 - pretty decent calendar, iCloud syncing great.
- Contacts 12.0 - horrible UI, I only use this because the iCloud syncing is handy.
- Reminders 6.0 - handy, iCloud syncing nice; they are redoing it for Catalina, which will probably end up ruining the app.
- Stickies 10.2 - One of the few truly old MacOSX apps still around, I use it occasionally.
- Books 1.19 - one of Apple's worst apps, rarely use it, but had such high hopes for it; UI riddled with bugs and inability to do basic things.
- Cygwin 3.0.7 - the single most important app on Windows! My life is spent here when I must be on Windows. This gives basic Unix tools. I'd rather be on macOS though.
- Visual Studio Community 2019 16.1.4 - intuitive IDE, jumpy text editor, good tools; for Windows 10 dev, this is it. Still pretty good, and it is the best benefit of using Windows.
- Visual Studio Code 1.35.1 - better than Xcode, but getting huge, not too bad of an editor. I use it on Mac, but not on Windows because there I have the real, full blown VS.
- Xcode 10.2.1 - bad UI, a crappy text editor, but high quality dev tools under the hood; I try and use this as little as possible. Terminal is sooo much better. Xcode is Mac's Achilles heel. (Window's Achilles' heel is the whole UI.)
- Google Earth Pro 7.3 - fantastic for armchair exploring the world; insidious daemons always installed by the app lessens my opinion of it.
- Google Maps - best online map database, although I hope that Apple beats them at their own game eventually. (Apple Maps is still horribly inaccurate with a very substandard database of waypoints that are out-of-date, and many waypoints are missing. Garmin has the best maps that you can put on your computer.)
- Geekbench 4.3.4 - Benchmarking app for macOS, iOS, Windows.
- LockRattler 4.18 - macOS app to stay current on Mac Gatekeeper and other little-known system security files.
- Reunion 12.0 - a great app for doing family history and geneology work, supports GEDCOM format. Mac only.
- Waterfox 56.2.11 - 3rd favorite web browser and a derivative of Firefox, could eventually replace Firefox but still new to me.
Finally, I have my own suite of tools written in C, some of which are described in my book. I have worked on these since 1982!
- agrep 2.04 - 49 KB fuzzy search tool, still useful.
- awk 20121220 - 144 KB simple, powerful language used for everything. FreeBSD fixes added. Absolutely essential. Thank you Brian Kernighan!
- cpdf 2.3 - a handy PDF tool for merging PDFs and other tasks.
- curl 7.65.1 - a download tool that supports SSL and many protocols.
- exiftool 11.50 - a Perl tool that can set and get metadata in many different file formats, especially JPEGs and PDFs.
- ffmpeg 4.1 - an audio & video transcoding tool.
- gcc 9.1.1 - the GNU C compiler. Used to build everything here.
- gnugrep 3.1 - the GNU find tool. Fastest text search tool around.
- lynx 2.8.9 - a just text terminal web browser, good for reading news and not being distracted by ads, photos, videos, etc.
- perl 5.28.2 - extremely flexible and useful programming language used for a million tasks. If awk can't do it, perl can.
- ghostscript 9.25 - a tool for dealing with PostScript and PDF files.
- mupdf 1.15 - a PDF viewer that on macOS sometimes works better than Preview; my primary PDF viewer on Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD.
- rsync 3.1.3 - the best backup tool in the world! My custom macOS build maintains creation dates & resource forks; 400 KB. Absolutely essential.
- sqlite3 3.28.0 - a 731 KB full SQL database. Fast, amazing, robust, and the most popular database in the world.
- units 1.88 - the GNU unit conversion tool.
- wget 1.20.3 - another download tool for grabbing web content; my own macOS build has its own built-in copy of openssl.
- youtube-dl 2019.06.27 - downloads videos from YouTube and other sites -- without ads.
- xearth 1.2 - this shows the world in motion with custom labels & grids; my default desktop in FreeBSD where it automatically updates all day long. Also on macOS.
- xhyve 20181202 - 249 KB, fast lightweight virtualization tool for macOS that I use to run FreeBSD; 100X faster than qemu.
- xz 5.2.2 - file compression using LZMA, with higher compression rates than other tools.
They build on Mac OS X (now macOS) using clang or gcc, MacOS 9 using MPW, Cygwin on Windows, Windows using Visual Studio, FreeBSD using clang or gcc,
and Linux using gcc. They are:
June 2019 Hardware
Most of these Macs run macOS 10.14 Mojave. I use Eddie and TextPad for most text editing. I use Excel and Numbers for
spreadsheets, Free42 for calculations, iTunes for music, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes,
but I use Terminal the most of any app for building software, running scripts, doing backups, etc.
- My primary desktop is an Apple 2015 iMac 27". It has an Intel 4.0-4.2GHz i7 quad core CPU, with Hyperthreading.
It has 16GB of 1866MHz memory, and a 3TB Fusion Drive. It is an excellent daily driver, with large display and great I/O.
- My primary laptop is a 2019 Apple MacBook Pro 15". It has an Intel 2.3-4.8GHz i9 8-core CPU, with Hyperthreading.
It has 16GB of 2400MHz memory, and a 512GB SSD. It is extemely fast, with a gorgeous bright 500-nit display.
- My secondary laptop is a 2015 Apple MacBook Pro 13". It has an Intel 3.1-3.4GHz i7 dual core CPU, with Hyperthreading.
It has 16GB of 1866MHz memory, and a 512GB SSD. It is filled with many useful ports, is compact, and great for travel.
- My tertiary laptop is a 2012 Apple MacBook Pro 15". It has an Intel 2.7-3.7GHz i7 quad core CPU, with Hyperthreading.
It has 16GB of 1600MHz memory, and a 1TB SSD. It has Gigabit Ethernet and a DVD burner. This is the last complete Apple laptop with all essential accessories built-in.
- My secondary desktop is an 2009 Apple iMac 24". It has an Intel 2.9GHz Core 2 Duo CPU.
It has 4GB of 1066MHz memory, and a 1TB hard disk. It has Gigabit Ethernet and a DVD burner. It runs Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and is still a nice machine.
- My router is an Apple Airport Extreme with 802.11ac WiFi. It has been excellent, but it is now discontinued. Not sure what to buy someday to replace it, perhaps Ubiquiti?
I use a few other machines on occasion:
Other tech that I use a lot:
- My FreeBSD laptop is a 2012 Acer Aspire E1-531 15". It has an Intel 2.2GHz Pentium dual-core CPU.
It has 4GB of 1333MHz memory, and a 256GB SSD. It has Gigabit Ethernet and a DVD burner. It has a meager display but otherwise has been a terrific machine given the price of 399 Euros.
It is the only computer that I have ever purchased with a wad of cash and walked home with. I bought it from Media Markt when we lived in Munich.
- My Xubuntu laptop is a 2013 Dell Latitude E7440 14". It has an Intel 1.9-2.9GHz i5 dual-core CPU, with Hyperthreading.
It has 8GB of 1600MHz memory, and a 512GB SSD. It has a touchscreen and overall is a very nice machine. I wish FreeBSD supported the touchscreen.
- My Windows 10 desktop is a 2018 Dell Vostro MT 3670 tower. It has an Intel 2.4-4.0GHz i5 6-core CPU.
It has 8GB of 2666MHz memory, and a 7200 rpm 1TB hard disk. It has Gigabit Ethernet, pathetic WiFi, and a DVD burner.
I use a 40" Vizio E40-C2 HDTV with it, along with a Logitech Wireless Keyboard with a built-in trackpad. I can use it from across the room! It really needs an SSD.
- My Windows 10 laptop is a 2018 Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 13". It has a Intel i5 1.6-3.4GHz i5 quad core CPU, with Hyperthreading,
It has 8GB of 1866MHz memory, and a 256GB SSD. It is made of magnesium and has a very solid, wonderful feel: absolutely top-notch.
It has a touchscreen and a fast CPU, but the I/O is pathetic over USB or WiFi, making it much less wonderful. It is just for Windows development.
At this point in time, if I had to pick a short list of tech, I would pick:
- Mercedes S 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC - after driving my 2006 E 320 CDI for 241K miles, I got this 2013 diesel. It has air suspension, a phenomenal 600W Harmon Karden
audio system with 15 speakers & 5.1 Dolby Surround audio, GPS, heated/cooled/massaging seats, and a cruising range of over 800 miles. What a fabulous vehicle!
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Space Gray, 128GB - bright display, dual cameras; it would be perfect if it had a headphone jack.
- Apple iPad Pro 10.5", Space Gray, 256GB - fast bright iPad, the best ever made with a headphone jack.
- Nikon D3400 DSLR with AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6VR and AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ED VR lenses and 24 megapixels of goodness.
- Nikon Coolpix W300 with 24-120mm f/2.8-4.9 equivalent lens, GPS, time-lapses, and 16 megapixels. It is waterproof, yellow, and compact.
- SanDisk Extreme 1TB portable SSD for fast backups.
- 2.5" portable hard drives: 1 Hitachi 1TB 7200 RPM, 1 Seagate 2TB, 1 Seagate 4TB, 1 Seagate 5TB, 1 Toshiba 1TB, 1 Toshiba 4TB, 3 Western Digital 2TB.
- 3.5" external hard drives: 1 Hitachi 4TB, 1 Seagate 4TB, 1 Seagate Barracuda 8TB 7200 RPM, 1 Toshiba 5TB.
- 2019 Apple iMac 27" 8-core i9/16GB/3TB Fusion for $2999
- 2019 Apple MacBook Pro 15" 8-core i9/16GB/512GB Silver for $2799
- 2016 Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128GB Black for $669, used as my main camera, my iPad, and my portable internet.
17 May 2018
My main computer ("C40") is a late-2015 27" iMac 27" with Retina Display (5120 x 2880 pixels). It has a 4 GHz Intel Core i7 with quad cores and Hyperthreading, 16 GB of 1867 MHz DDR3 memory, a 3 TB Fusion drive, and AMD Radeon R9 graphics, specifically the M395 card with 2 GB of VRAM. I have been using the included Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse, but I dislike both of them. They do both charge via a Lightning cable, which is cool.
The computer is on the whole excellent. I have a short USB extension cord that I can plug in hard drives, iPods, and an Apple external USB CD/DVD burner with. I leave a Lightning dock for my Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128GB to charge on plugged in, and I primarily use the built-in Gigabit Ethernet connection to my Apple AirPort Extreme router. Only occasionally do I use the 802.11ac WiFi.
I have a Sabrent USB 3.5" drive case always plugged in, currently with a Seagate 7200 rpm 8TB Barracuda hard disk ("B8") as my primary back-up drive via rsync. I also rsync to a 7200 rpm 1 TB 2.5" red Hitachi drive ("H1"), to a black 2 TB WD drive ("W2U"), and a black 2 TB WD drive ("W2A") that I store in my Mercedes center console.
My secondary desktop computer ("C31") is a late-2013 iMac 21.5" with 1920 x 1080 pixels. It has a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7 with quad cores and Hyperthreading, 16 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory, 1 TB Fusion drive, and Nvidia GeFore GT 750M graphics with 1 GB of VRAM. It's Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is better than the one that came with the 27" iMac. This keyboard and mouse use AA batteries. I use its 802.11ac WiFi as its primary connection to the network.
I have an HGST 4 TB external hard drive ("H4") for Time Machine backups of C31, as well as for rsync backups.
My primary laptop is a late-2015 MacBook Pro 13" with a Retina display that can go up to 3360 x 2100 pixels. It has a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7 with dual cores and Hyperthreading, 16 GB of 1867 MHz DDR3 memory, a 512 GB SSD, Intel Iris graphics, and 802.11ac WiFi.
I use a gold metal Western Digital 2 TB 2.5" hard drive ("W2S") as its primary rsync target.
My secondary Mac laptop is a 2012 MacBook Pro 15" with a 1680 x 1050 display. It has a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 quad core with Hyperthreading CPU, 16 GB of 1600 MHz RAM, a 1 TB Micron SSD, a DVD+DL burner, Nvidia GT 650 graphics with 1 GB, built-in Gigabit, and 802.11n WiFi. This is the most recent "complete" Mac in my collection. I wish I could get a new fast CPU version of this, with a 4K display, but still with Gigabit Ethernet, and a DVD drive.
I use this, running macOS 10.13.6, as my iPad & iPhone sync machine. I maintain an older version of iTunes, 12.6.3, that is the last version of iTunes to have the iOS App Store in it.
My tertiary Mac laptop is a 2009 MacBook Pro 17", with a 1920 x 1200 pixel display. It has a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Dual Core CPU, 4 GB of 1067 MHz RAM, a 750 GB hybrid drive, a DVD+DL drive, an Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics ship with 256 MB of VRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11n WiFi.
This machine runs Mac OS X Mavericks Server.
My primary FreeBSD machine is a 2012 Acer E1-531 laptop, with a 2.2 GHz Pentium B960 dual core chip w/2 MB of L3 cache, 4 GB of 1333 MHz RAM, a 250 GB Samsung SSD, a DVD burner, Intel HD graphics, and a 14" 1366 x 768 display. It has 802.11n WiFi, but I almost exclusively use its built-in Gigabit Ethernet. A53 runs FreeBSD-11-STABLE. I backup to a pair of Seagate 1 TB 2.5" hard drives formatted UFS, alternating between them.
I purchased this machine on 20 Nov 2012 by walking from Mühlbaurstrasse 2 to Einsteinstrasse 130 in München, and by paying €399 cash for it, and walking it home. It has a German keyboard and I am quite sentimental about it. The display isn't great, but FreeBSD runs nicely on it.
My primary Linux machine is a 2013 Dell Latitude E7440 with an Intel Core i5-4300U at 1.9 GHz with dual cores and Hyperthreading, 8 GB of RAM, a Samsung 512 GB mSATA SSD, a 14" 1920 x 1080 HD touch display, Intel Pro Gigabit Ethernet, and Intel 802.11ac AC7260 WiFi. I use the WiFi mainly.
This machine runs Xubuntu 18.04, with Firefox 59.0.2 as the primary browser, and Thunderbird for email. I have awk, curl, ffmpeg, grep, perl, wget, youtube-dl and other common tools via apt install.
iPad Air 2
I have a nice 64 GB iPad Air 2 in Space Gray that in 2015 replaced my original iPad. I am running iOS 11.3.1 on it. It is a great machine for browsing the web and buying things on Amazon. It is not good for my main software development or analysis workflows, as there are no programming languages on it.
iPhone 7 Plus
I recently upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB in Space Gray for the bigger display and better battery life. I abhor the lack of a 3.5 mm audio jack. Everything else is excellent! This runs iOS 11.3.1.
My iPhone 6 128 GB in Space Gray was an exceptionally good phone. It is now a backup device, more like an iPod Touch. It runs iOS 11.3.1.
My Macs are running macOS 10.13.6. The main bug that bothers me is that when on an APFS volume like my laptops are now using, Microsoft Office 2008 apps like Excel no longer maintain file create dates on saving a file. This problem does not occur on HFS+ volumes that my desktops have.
I use Mail, Messages, Safari, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts via iCloud all the time, across my Macs and iOS devices. Occasionally I use Firefox 59.0.2. I use Quartz 2.7.11 for X Windows occasionally.
I use Tweetbot 2.5.4 for social media. On non-Mac platforms, I am forced to use the Twitter website via Firefox.
I am not using iTunes 12.7.4 as much for music, as it becomes worse with each release since it peaked at version 10.7 back in 2012. I am instead using my own command line scripts and tools more and more: play, playx.
Eddie 3.3.3 v692 is my main text editor. I rarely use Microsoft Word. I primarily use Apple's TextEdit for most things (such as this document). I still love Excel over Numbers, and I never use PowerPoint or Keynote.
I use Apple's Preview probably more than any other app on my Mac, because I am always reading PDFs and cropping photos. It is quite fast and nice. Rarely I will downshift to my own build of mupdf if Preview chokes on a PDF.
I use Google Maps over Apple Maps most of the time, Google Earth Pro occasionally, and iBooks very rarely. It is horrible and should be put back into iTunes.
I use Free 42 2.0.16 all the time on my Macs, as well as on Ubuntu and FreeBSD, and iOS. It is my favorite calculator. I also use emu48 here and there.
Oh, Terminal is probably my single most used app on the Mac, as it is the gateway to all of my command line tools. Xcode 9.4.1 is on the system, but I only use it to pretty-print code to PDFs. That's it. Everything development-wise is done in Terminal using the Xcode 9.4.1 command-line tools. This is my happy place.
I also use XRG 2.5 as my main system dashboard of how much memory is being used, what the CPUs are doing, etc. This is an absolute must have up all the time.
My single most important piece of software is my custom rsync tool. My version of rsync copies Macintosh resource forks (not so important any more), and file creation dates (very important to me). I have been using a build of rsync 3.0.4 that I made in 8 Sep 2008 for nearly a decade (3504 days). On April 13th, 2018, I finally moved forward to a new custom rsync based on rsync 3.1.3,
but it continues to support Mac extended attributes.
It also is now a 64-bit executable, so it is ready for a 64-bit only world that will most likely be here soon. It was build with Xcode 9.3 tools.
I have my own 64-bit build of agrep 2.04 from March of 1992! I had to clean up the K&R style the other day to get it to build with clang, but this tool continues to be useful.
I have my own 64-bit build of awk version 20121220, in 64-bit. It is my most common scripting language of choice. If things are very complicated then I move to Perl.
I have my own 64-bit build of curl 7.59.0. I don't use it as much as wget, but occasionally it works where wget doesn't.
I use a 64-bit version of ffmpeg 3.4 that I built with Xcode 9.2 tools. I extract MP3s from videos or convert video formats with it.
I use a 64-bit version of GNU grep 3.1 that I built with Xcode 9.4 tools. It does not work on Mavericks due to using an API that is soft-linked. Arggh.
I have my own 64-bit build of mupdf 1.10a. I don't use it much but it is nice to have a 2nd PDF reader on the system.
I have my own 64-bit build of perl 5.26.2. I rely heavily on Image-ExifTool (v 10.80) for setting create and mod dates on PDFs via its exiftool. I built this with Xcode 9.3.
I have my own 64-bit build of qemu version 1.2. I use this to run virtual instances of FreeBSD on the Mac, currently the FreeBSD 11.1-STABLE-20180329 snapshot, with xorg, icewm, Firefox, etc. Occasionally I will run OpenBSD, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, or other OSes. It is a great way to sample them without reformatting drives. My build is from 12 Sep 2012, but there are too many new dependencies to make me want to upgrade it.
I have my own 64-bit build of SQLite version 3.23.1.
I do more and more downloading of things with wget, currently a 64-bit version of 1.19.4. It supports openssl 1.0.2n. I built this with Xcode 9.2. It needs a wgetrc file with "check-certificate = quiet" in it, which is a pain.
I am downloading more and more videos via this handy tool. It is updated often. 2018.05.01 is the current version. (In fact it was updated while I was writing this document!) I downloaded about 200 GB of iJustine videos in one day with this awesome tool. I watch all YouTube content offline via this tool. If I like it, I archive it, otherwise I delete it. My favorite YouTube channels are iJustine and her sister Jenna, Hoovies Garage, Strange Parts, Marques Brownlee, Casey Neistat, Survival Lilly, My Self Reliance, Sailing Nova Scotia, Sailing SV Delos, and Sailing Doodles.
I wanted to mention Ewan Cunningham (ewanjohncovers on YouTube). His covers of Pink Floyd Echoes and other pieces have been terrific to listen to in past months. Nick Mason, the Pink Floyd drummer even Tweeted about him!
I also have really been enjoying the music of J.S. Bach (working my way through 157 CDs with 3,234 tracks of his music!), Sheryl Crow, Sarah Evans, Jewel, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ashlee Simpson, and Pink Floyd.
Back to Dan Allen's home page.
Created: 15 Apr 2018
Modified: 1 Jul 2019