Mac Setup: Triple Display Workstation of an Integrations Developer

Aug 9, 2014 - 17 Comments

Mac setup of an Integrations Developer

This week we’re featuring the Mac workstation of James B., an Integrations Developer who has a great home office with an excellent view behind his desk. Let’s jump in and learn a bit more about this Mac setup and how it’s used:

What hardware is included in your Mac setup?

I am running everything on a MacBook Pro with 15-inch Retina (Late 2013) – 2.3 Ghz/16 GB. I require a great deal of desktop space when doing development so I have the large Apple Thunderbolt Display.  I also have a smaller Dell ST2010 display which is a matte display for those rare occasions when the reflective Apple monitor is not appropriate.

Precise hardware as pictured from left to right includes the following:

  • iPad 2 – I mostly use for background music or video while I’m working.
  • MacBook Pro Retina 15″ – 2.3 GHz Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display 27″
  • Dell ST2012 20″ display
  • Rain mStand Laptop Stand – many people use their MacBooks in clamshell mode when connected to an external monitor. I feel my MacBook Pro’s display is too beautiful not to use so I raise it up a little higher with this sleek looking stand.
  • Logitech Z120 speakers – have great sound for small, inexpensive speakers
  • WD 1 TB hard drive – I have two partitions on this drive, one for Time Machine and one for some extra storage (editor note: here’s a guide for how to do that)
  • WD 2 TB hard drive(not pictured) – this is connected to my Apple Airport Extreme to provide music and video to this setup as well as to my AppleTV in the living room.
  • MOB Magic Charger – so I don’t need to replace AAA batteries in my mouse every week.  =-)
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Apple Full Sized Wired Keyboard with numeric keypad
  • Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Plugable 10 Port USB Hub – six ports in the front and four in the back. Since MBP only has two USB ports and the Thunderbolt Display’s ports are not easily accessible in the back, I added this powered hub for charging devices and accessing other USB devices.
  • Belkin Charge & Sync Dock for iPhone and iPad
  • iPhone 5S – 64 GB
  • iPad mini with Retina Display – 64 GB
  • Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover – connects magnetically as a cover and provides me with a real keyboard for my iPad mini. My job requires me to be “on-call” so remoting into my PC from my iPad mini is very convenient. However, the build-in touchscreen keyboard covers half my desktop so working with a real keyboard is far more efficient.

Mac setup Integrations Developer workstation

What do you use your Apple gear for?

I am a developer for a utility company in Madison, WI. However, I recently moved to Milwaukee, WI for my wife’s career. So, living an hour and fifteen minutes from work means I often work from home. I do enterprise integration development which, unfortunately, I cannot do in OS X.  However, as you can see in the photo, the Thunderbolt Display provides excellent workspace for developing in Windows via Parallels 9 and a VPN.

I also do a little bit of amateur graphic design with Photoshop.  This is where using a Mac really pays off!  I have created logos, invitations, photo editing, etc.  

What apps do you use most often? What apps could you not do without?

As previously stated, Parallels 9 is imperative for me to work from home. Even though Cisco AnyConnect does exist for OS X, it is not compatible with my company’s network setup so I need to remote in from my Window’s virtual machine.  And, of course, I use Photoshop a great deal.  I use Microsoft Office both in OS X and on Windows 7 (sadly, the Windows version is still better than the Mac version – Microsoft conspiracy!).

Mac setup of an Integrations Developer 

Do you have any favorite apps for Mac or iOS?

Some of my other favorite apps are…

  • Quicken Essentials – for financial management
  • Adium – IM chat client
  • Air Display – turns your iPad into an additional monitor (great for when I’m being productive in a coffee shop)
  • Alfred – app launcher
  • DoublePane – quickly resizes a window to the left half or right half of your screen or fills the screen
  • Cyberduck – accessing the root of a unix device such as a jailbroken iPhone (not that I’ve done that)
  • SnagIt – best application I have found for grabbing screenshots or recording your desktop
  • soapUI, Netbeans and other development tools – I mostly work remotely on my PC at work but sometimes I do some I play around with development on OSX

Do you have any productivity tips or workspace advice you want to share?

 If you have the opportunity to work from home, create a clean workspace that is separate from the rest of your home. I have managed to create a comfortable office that happens to have a beautiful view of the city. I think I am actually more productive working from home than in the office because I can control & minimize distractions… not to mention I’m working on a Mac! 

Mac setup integrations developer view behind desk

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

17 Comments

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  1. Greg Walters says:

    Agree about having a good work from home space, very important. I have my desk near a window too, no view like that though! But any window is good for a quick mental and eye break.

    Nice setup too, thunderbolt displays are really nice.

  2. John says:

    Jail breaking isn’t illegal….

  3. D. Baker says:

    That is a beautiful set up! Nice work mate!

  4. Erik R. says:

    Milwaukee!

    • Davis says:

      Stated: “WD 2 TB hard drive(not pictured) – this is connected to my Apple Airport Extreme to provide music and video to this setup as well as to my AppleTV in the living room.”

      How do you get content to an Apple TV via a hard drive connected to an Airport Extreme?

  5. Shoan says:

    How are you using two displays with a single thunderbolt connection? Also is there an adapter for the Dell?

    • James says:

      I have the Thunderbolt Display connected as you would guess – Thunderbolt cable. I have the Dell connect via HDMI cable which you can see plugged into the MBP on the right-hand side.

    • Adam says:

      The thunderbolt display also has a thunderbolt connector. So if he had two thunderbolt displays it would only use one port on the MBP.

  6. Davis says:

    Whoops – First post went to the wrong slot…

    Stated: “WD 2 TB hard drive(not pictured) – this is connected to my Apple Airport Extreme to provide music and video to this setup as well as to my AppleTV in the living room.”

    How do you get content to an Apple TV via a hard drive connected to an Airport Extreme?

    • James B says:

      The hard drive is plugged into the AirPort Extreme by USB (I think, it could be Firewire, I’m not looking at it right now). This then becomes a “virtual drive” over the network on my MBP. I set my iTune’s library to be housed on this virtual drive. AppleTV can then access all the content via iTunes.

      It’s pretty easy to set up. If someone wants detailed instructions, I’d be happy to email them.

      The negative side, of course, is that I can’t access the content of this drive when I’m not on my network. For me, that’s not a big deal but it may be for some people.

      • Davis says:

        Thanks for the answer. I was hoping that I would be able to skip having iTunes running on any computer for Apple TV access. Guess I’ll have to investigate a media server to see if that would work.

        • James B says:

          Well, you can stream anything through AirPlay to a AppleTV. So, maybe instead of buying a hard drive, you could add a Mac mini to your entertainment center and stream content to your HDTV.

          You could probably get a used Mac mini online for a reasonable price.

  7. Greg Walters says:

    Great desk statin

  8. David says:

    Why do you prefer Parallel instead of VMWARE?

    • James B says:

      I have been using Parallels since version 3.0 so it’s just what I’m familiar with at this point. I have heard very good things about VMWare as well – in fact, my future brother-in-law works for them out in SF so I should probably try it. :)

  9. Logan says:

    Where can I find this desk?? :)

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