“My setup” articles have become common. These articles list the hardware and software someone uses, usually with little explanation. The subtext is often the author’s commitment to the Apple brand or to open source, to spending money on the best stuff or to avoid spending money on principle. I don’t find such articles interesting or useful.
Vivek Haldar has written a different kind of “my setup” article, one that emphasizes the problems he set out to solve and the reasons for the solutions he chose. Here are a couple excerpts describing his goals for preserving his data and his health.
Try to remember the oldest digital artifact that you can still retrieve, and more importantly, decode and view. Can you? How old is it? That should give you some idea of how hard and full of unknowns the problem of long-term preservation is. …
If a significant fraction of your working life is spent working with computers, and you do not yet have even the mildest RSI, you should consider yourself extremely lucky, but not immune. Act like you do have RSI, and change your set up right now to avoid it.
I thought the best part of the article was the criteria, not the solutions. It’s not that I disapprove of his choices, but I appreciate more his explanation of the rationale behind his choices. I don’t expect anybody is going to read the article and say “That’s it! I’m going to copy that setup.” I gather that in at least one detail, his choice of version control system, Vivek wouldn’t even copy his own setup if he were to start over. But people will get ideas to consider in their own circumstances.
Related post: Ford-Chevy arguments in tech