Current technology stack

Every once in awhile, I feel like I've changed enough stuff around the technology that I'm using to take a sort of inventory. Mostly I just want to be able to refer back to it the next time I feel compelled to do so.

In terms of hardware, the last year or so has been full of upgrades. Last March I replaced my laptop with a 17" MacBook Pro, because I desperately wanted more screen resolution. It's not the size that's special, it's the resolution. The 15" model I had for three years at that point was also restricted to 2 gigs of RAM, which was less than ideal.

On the desktop, I just replaced my three-year-old Mac Pro after three years. It's not that it was inadequate in any way at all. In fact, it was still pretty ridiculous in terms of its computing power. I replaced it because I wanted a bigger screen at a higher resolution (see the pattern forming here?), and the new 27" iMacs were the ticket. I was able to sell the old computer and buy the new one for about $400 difference. So for that amount, I gained a giant and bright, high resolution LED-lit screen, a computer newer by three years and only "lost" two CPU cores. On top of that, I still have the old 20" Dell monitor, and it sites next to it. I've got nearly 6 million pixels to spread out multiple instance of Visual Studio, Photoshop, browsers, chat, etc. It's also the best video editing setup I've ever had.

In other more peripheral categories, I have an Iomega 1.5 TB USB drive where I'm storing video, the Time Machine drive on the router is still the 1 TB no-name I got from NewEgg, I still use the gross (thank God it's black) Microsoft ergonomic keyboard that has been out for years (same one at work, used by nearly everyone). Since I couldn't wait to spend money in the company store, I also scored an Explorer Mouse to replace the even more disgusting one I had for five years. It glows blue when you wake it up. :)

The Web server at The Planet, tucked away somewhere in Dallas, is the same one I've had now for over six years. It's a P4 2.4 GHz with a pair of 40 gig hard drives and a gig of RAM. I can't believe it's still running. As traffic has picked up, it has shown some cracks here and there, in part because of my own poor coding, and partly because it's just so ancient. I would like to replace it, but I'm waiting for CoasterDynamix to pick up and move to their new site. I've been toying with the idea of going to SoftLayer, but haven't researched them thoroughly. I haven't had any real issues with The Planet, except for one recently, but I guess I just feel like a change.

Software has changed dramatically over the years. Chief among those changes is that I don't use a physical PC at home. I'm using Parallels 5 to host instances of Windows 7. Dedicating 4 gigs of memory to it has been awesome, and Parallels has gotten to the point where it even supports all of the eye candy and what not within Windows. As much as I hated Vista, 7 is such an enormous improvement. They really spent time thinking about little usability things, like snapping windows to the side to do split screens, for example. I started to toy with it going back as far as to before my interview, but once it came installed on the new box at work, I became a fan.

I'm still using Visual Studio 2008 at this point, not 2010. Even though I could get super new builds, I'm not sure I'd want to commit until ReSharper is updated to support it. I'm just too reliant on ReSharper now to go without.

For Web development, I'm mostly building on top of ASP.NET MVC, and will probably upgrade to the new version once it's released. MouseZoom will be MVC, except of course the forum since I'm certainly not going to rewrite that. I use NUnit for unit testing and Moq for mocking (neither of which I'm doing much of on MouseZoom since it's almost entirely composed of existing components). At work we use xUnit and Moq. For data, we've been experimenting with NHibernate, but for my home projects I've been sticking to LINQ to SQL. On the client side, the big story is still jQuery and its various plug-ins.

For Web browsers, I'm pretty sold on Google Chrome now. After using Firefox for years, it just seems to have become a dog, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the history that needs to be cleared out? I dunno, since Chrome is hooked right into Google search, I love that I can start typing something and pretty much get to where I want to go. I still use Firefox for Firebug though, as Google's tool isn't quite as slick. The Mac version still has some quirks (like a bookmark manager that only half-works), but it'll get there.

Adium is my chat client at home. It just works and is updated frequently. At work, when I use something at all, I use the Gmail chat with AIM enabled. Other than checking in with Diana, I don't interact that often with people while at work.

On the video front, I upgraded to the latest version of Final Cut Studio last fall, and I dig it. The latest version of Compressor in particular is impressive, and still super fast even with the dual-core CPU. The ProRes codec is what I've been using to edit with, transcoding the H.264 stuff recorded by my camera. Works exceptionally well in terms of performance and holding on to as many bits as possible.

I've talked plenty about the cameras, so I'll skip that, except to say that I may endeavor to buy a shoulder rig so I can properly shoot video before the baby is born.

When I stop and look at what we have available today, I'm really astounded at how far things have come these days. Cultural implications aside (i.e., real life social behavior), I'm amazed at what an iPhone can do. It's a computer, plain and simple, that can do far more than even a top of the line PC from ten years ago. That's crazy.

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