Uses - 2020 Edition

A new year, a new setup! I get these questions from time-to-time on how my setup has progressed over the years, and decided it’s time for a new blog post about it.


I mainly program in PHP, therefore my defacto editor is PHPStorm for desktop. I prefer the dark material theme as often I’m developing late into the night and early morning, this allows less strain on my eyes as the night/early-morning progresses.

Image result for phpstorm material theme

This is one of the default dark material themes, I usually give the under-tab bar some contrast, making it easier to see which tab I’ve activated.


As a Mac user, I’ve standardized my load-out across my machines using iTerm2 with zsh & oh-my-zsh. I prefer the default theme compared to alternatives, it also makes deployment on a new device really simple.


There’s a few apps I couldn’t live without, in no particular order:

  1. Bear Writer – Simple, clean note taking/writing application, that syncs very easily with all my devices. I can’t recommend this enough.
  2. Todoist – Todoist is great for synced todo lists and helps keep me organized daily on what I want to accomplish. Having synced, visual feedback is great.
  3. Laravel Valet – Valet is incredibly simple and reliable for development environments. I use Valet and have all my projects on an external 512GB SSD drive, that I carry from device to device without any issue. It makes changing environments on the fly very easy.
  4. TablePlus – I use TablePlus for managing databases, I used to use Sequel Pro, but once I tried TablePlus it sold me on it’s flexibility and speed compared to Sequel Pro’s speed. It’s also very cheap for all the features and I licensed every device with it.
  5. 1Password – I use 1Password for storing all my passwords and my family even uses it too. It’s great and simple, I used to use LastPass but was incredibly impressed by 1Password after trialing it and switched immediately.
  6. NextCloud – I use NextCloud for storing files, it’s great for my personal file storage. On my dedicated hosting service running DirectAdmin, I dedicated around 1 TB of storage to it and it runs without issue.
  7. BackBlaze – I use backblaze for all my backups, both personal devices and my servers utilizing B2 as primary backup storage. For servers, I use Restic to encrypt it and have written about extensive here.
  8. Stripe & PayPal – I use Stripe, PayPal to accept payments for software and consulting work.
  9. Blesta – Instead of using traditional CRMs for business work, I bought an owned license of Blesta and utilize it for all support ticketing, invoicing and even automating server management (suspension/termination for non-payment of hosting customers).
  10. Slack – I use slack for some communication with fellow consultants. We tend to lean on each others skills often enough we made a slack group for it. In our group, we often pass along work when necessary and share information.


For server wise, I got rid of my old E3v2 and swapped it with E5-1620v2, and maxed out the memory. That is the primary server that runs this website, while it hums away nicely. For my business shared hosting server, I’ve went with an E-2136, 64 GB DDR4 memory. I’ve also put NVMe drives in the business server.

As my consulting business grows, I hope to get more contracts for hosting and be able to spin up more hosting servers, until then it’s humming away without any issue. I’ve also lit up 10 gig ports with transit provider upstreams. My personal server, however, I’ve limited to 1gbps only.

The Future

As time goes on, I’m working on gathering enough funds to build an AMD Ryzen 3900x server with 128 GB DDR4 memory, and making it my primary hypervisor system. By having one of these beauty systems, it would be a perfect test bed and development environment I can share with customers and do large experiments on.

Let’s see where time takes this journey!