Hardware, software, and gear I use on a daily basis

A comprehensive list of my favorite hardware, software, and gear, from the perspective of a full stack developer and nerd, updated for 2023.

Work hardware

I prefer coding on Macs, exclusively. While I've coded successfully on PCs, I find that I'm a lot more productive, have a lot less frustrations, and my dev tools just work on a Mac.

Mac peripherals/accessories

  • Monitor: LG UltraFine 27UN850-W 27" 4K (3840x2160) IPS USB-C monitor - I reviewed it here.
  • Wireless keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard 2 - best coding keyboard I've ever used.
  • Wireless trackpad: Apple Magic Trackpad 2 - Apple has the best trackpad implementation of any manufacturer, and the wireless one is an absolute must for trackpad fans.
  • USB-C dongle (for 16" Mac): VAVA USB-C Hub 8-in-1 4K HDMI, 1Gbps RJ45 ethernet port, USB 3.0, SD/TF card reader, 100W charging port.
  • 2020 M1 MacBook Air case: IBENZER New 2020 MacBook Air 13 inch Case M1 A2337 A2179 A1932 - excellent transparent case that shows off the Mac chassis. Comes with a screen protector that is fairly easy to install, as well as a silicone keyboard skin thin enough to make typing feel natural.
  • 16" MacBook Pro case: MOSISO MacBook Pro 16 inch Case, Crystal Clear - while the laptop was purchased by the company I work for, I wanted to protect it with a case as well as being able to put whatever stickers I want on it. I'm very happy with this case - it also comes with a screen protector and a keyboard cover if you're into that sort of thing.

Mac/development software

  • šŸ’µ IDE: PHPStorm - best IDE I've ever used, period. Has a ton of conveniences built in for great productivity. It's not free (nor expensive) but the price of entry is more than justified.
  • Code editor: VSCode - seems like everyone is using VSCode these days, for everything. It may be the best text editor in the world but it is not an IDE and it doesn't hold a candle to PHPStorm for PHP work, even with a bajillion extensions. I use it for non-PHP work, such as 100% JavaScript projects, Markdown, etc.
  • Terminal: iTerm2 - the old faithful. It's fast and has everything I need: tabs, panes, themes, etc.
  • Shell: zsh with oh my zsh and the Powerlevel9k theme
  • Coding fonts: JetBrains Mono, Fira Code
  • Favorite browser: Firefox
  • Design/vector: Figma, GravitDesigner
  • Presentation: Apple Keynote
  • Project management: Trello - I use it to manage my side-projects. I love the simplicity and the slickness of the UI. Too bad it got acquired by Atlassian (I hate all their products), but I hope it stays the way it is.
  • šŸ’µ Tinkerwell - probably the best tool to come out of the Laravel/PHP ecosystem. An offline REPL tool that you can use for rapid prototyping, and testing/validating PHP code snippets. At $15 it's dirt cheap for how much it has boosted my Laravel productivity.
  • šŸ’µ Pixelmator Pro - I was lucky to buy the Pro version on sale and it's the best $20 I ever spent on software. It has most of Photoshop's features in an offline, truly affordable package, with a simple UI and familiar key mappings.
  • šŸ’µ Affinity Designer - Affinity Designer is an awesome alternative to Adobe Illustrator. You pay once and own it forever. It goes on sale sometimes, and I was fortunate to pay $20 for it. It has become my vector design tool of choice.
  • šŸ’µ CleanshotX - Powerful screen capture/annotation tool.
  • Dash - offline documentation for the developer technology of your choice. Invaluable when traveling or when you don't have internet access.
  • Rectangle - window manager.
  • Keyboard rebinding: Karabiner Elements - if there's one thing I miss on the Mac is middle-button click to open links in a new tab or to close a tab. I use Karabiner to remap the Caps Lock key to act as a middle-click. So if I hover over a link and tap Caps, it will open the link in a new tab. Likewise, Caps over a tab will close it.
  • Vanilla - hides the menu bar icons that you don't need to see all the time.

X-platform software

  • šŸ’µ Spotify
  • šŸ’µ 1Password
  • Google Docs
  • Google Keep

Gaming/entertainment hardware

I am a PC gamer thru & thru. I've never owned a console of any kind, and likely never will. I hand-build all my PCs, every 5 years or so.

PC peripherals

  • Monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG349Q 34ā€ Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitor 120Hz 3440 X 1440 IPS - my monitor is actually a slightly older version of this, that only goes to 100Hz but it doesn't matter because I'm one of those who can't tell the difference. I use it for both gaming and work and it has been amazing for over 3 years now. On Mac, for example, I can easily split it into 3 columns using Spectacle. Combined with my laptop's screen, it's like having 4 monitors.
  • Keyboard: Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB mechanical - can't really recommend this keyboard, even if it were still produced. It was overpriced and it doesn't use Cherry switches, rather Logitech's own implementation. I find it bad for typing but OK for gaming.
  • Mouse: Logitech G305 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse - I'm one of those gamers who prefers a minimum amount of buttons. The G305 is light and lag free.
  • Mouse pad: Yicaihong Metal Aluminum Medium 9.45X7.87 Inch - great, inexpensive, solid, compact, dual-surface pad. I use the synthetic leather side which has really good traction, whether for gaming or otherwise.
  • Wireless headphones: Sennheiser RS 180 digital wireless headphones - I've had these for over 5 years and, while initially pricy, they've paid for themselves many times over. I use them daily on my PC for everything that produces sound - movies, music, youtube, games, etc. The closest modern equivalents are Sennheiser RS 185 or Sennheiser RS 175.

PC software

  • šŸ’µ Backblaze - cloud backup. Very inexpensive for the peace of mind it offers. I use it to backup my PC where I keep lots of "important" data such as photos, documents, and other digital junk. It has literally saved my šŸ„“ a few years back when my main data HDD died and I was able to restore everything from the cloud. I do keep offline backups as well but cloud backup is just one facet of a comprehensive strategy.
  • šŸ’µ Cyberghost VPN - dare I call this the best VPN ever? I've been using it for years and it has delivered in spades: inexpensive (if you buy a multi-year plan it ends up being < $3 / month), fast (I get almost the same speeds as I would without it), vast choice of country IPs, and incorporated outside the US for extra peace of mind.


  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - Despite my love for Macs, I've never been a huge fan of iPhones/iOS. The S1 Ultra is the best phone for me at the moment. What I like best about this phone is the camera array. The 10x optical zoom is nothing to sneeze at. There's a very good chance I will switch to iPhone in the future though, as soon as the rumored 10x camera comes out. It's super convenient to be in the same ecosystem as my Macs and iPad, as I can transfer files between them with ease.


  • 2021 12.9 iPad Pro - 512GB storage. I use it to sketch, read comics, watch movies, play a couple of games, browse the web, and a bunch of other stuff that is harder to do on a laptop.
  • Apple Pencil 2nd Gen - I use it to draw and sketch things.

Tablet software

  • šŸ’µ Procreate - One of the best apps for freeform drawing on the iPad.
  • šŸ’µ Affinity Designer 2 - Yep, I bought it again for the iPad.
  • Panels - Comic book reader.

Other gear & accessories

  • Standing desk: ApexDesk Elite Series 71" wide, electrically adjustable. Fun fact: I've never once used it in the standing position.
  • Soundbar: TaoTronics Gaming Computer Speaker - I bought this sound bar to use it with my Mac but it's the first TaoTronics device that disappoints. I suppose the sound is somewhat better and louder than the MacBook speakers but it has too many issues to recommend.
  • Headphones: TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones - pretty happy with these. I use them almost daily and they do a passable job for what I paid. The noise cancelling is decent for a moderately noisy environment and so is the sound quality. The battery lasts all day too.
  • Lamp: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp - really good LED lamp. It's light, compact, versatile, and uses touch controls that work really well. Speaking of controls, it has 5 settings each for color temperature (cool -> warm) and brightness.
  • Time machine HDD: WD Elements 1TB - I only need 1TB for my 2015 MacBook Pro backups.
  • Backup HDDs: WD Elements 4TB - I use 2 of these for my PC backups.
  • Watch: Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire - I wear my watch almost 24/7. It's not a true smart watch, but it's the best option for someone who's into a variety of outdoor activities (cycling, hiking, skiing, occasional swimming and paddle boarding). It displays my phone notifications, has built-in maps and GPS, tracks steps and sleep patterns, the battery lasts almost 2 weeks, and it's super tough to boot.
  • Electric duster: CompuCleaner 2.0 - may sound like an odd one, but it's definitely computer-related and an awesome tool for any computer geek's arsenal. Say goodbye to those asthmatic air cans. This baby blows air like a jet engine, and that's just on the low setting! I use it to clean my keyboards, internal components such as the GPU or CPU radiator/fan, the inside of my Macs (you'll be surprised how much dust can build up over time), and so on.