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Jason C. McDonald
Jason C. McDonald

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The Gear I Use

I was inspired by this post...

Honestly, I figured sharing this would be a fun trend! (Use the tag #mygear.) So, here's mine...


  • System76 Gazelle Pro (15 inch)
  • Extra monitor, so I can have code or a manuscript on one screen, and research or documentation on the other.
  • CODE Mechanical Keyboard, which is every bit as awesome as advertised.
  • Logitech M510 Wireless Computer Mouse
  • JVC HA-NC250 noise cancelling headphones. These things are great, and the detachable cord means they'll have a long life.
  • TI-89 calculator -- I LOVE this thing!

As a writer, I also have The Chicago Manual of Style, The Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference, and Strunk and White's Elements of Style close at hand. (I usually also keep a couple of programming reference books there.)

And yes, off to the left, that is a Palm Tungsten T. And it works. I sync it to my laptop with JPilot. As far as handheld devices go, it's delightfully useful and distraction free.

I don't know if it officially counts as hardware, but you can see my Doctor Hooves figurine just under my monitor. He usually just stands guard, but that's what I use when I need to do some rubber-duck debugging.


I work entirely on Ubuntu MATE. I organize my windows into separate workspaces to help minimize distractions.

  • Guake is my main everyday-usage terminal, which I can bring up with F12
  • Terminator (or occasionally cool-retro-term) for a dedicated terminal environment.
  • is installed on my system for timers, reminders, and checking up on things while working.
  • When I need a VPN, I use ProtonVPN. I also use for my DNS.


I use Visual Studio Code for almost everything, and have it packed with a host of extensions for C++, Python, Java, HTML, CSS, RestructuredText, Markdown, and XML. That said, no matter what I'm working on, I use:

  • Bookmarks
  • Bracket Pair Colorizer
  • Codealike
  • Code Spell Checker
  • Comment Anchors
  • Contextual Duplicate
  • Indent-rainbow
  • Overtype
  • Peacock
  • Reflow Paragraph
  • VSCode Great Icons
  • Wakatime

I also tend to cycle through a half dozen or so themes depending on mood. Most recently, I use Sea Green Theme, LaserWave, and skGRTT.


I do almost all my writing in LibreOffice, although I sometimes fall back on Focuswriter or Visual Studio Code.

When I really want a distraction-free environment, I actually pull out my Royal Heritage manual typewriter.


I mainly use the Brave web browser, with...

  • Privacy Badger (in case I need to disable the main Brave shields)
  • MyWOT
  • Leechblock
  • Stylus

On occasion, I fall back on Firefox.


  • DuckDuckGo is my search engine all the way!
  • Hexchat is my IRC client, for connecting to Freenode and OFTC.
  • I use Rambox to gather all my other chat service accounts into one unified place.
  • Despite a couple of pesky bugs, I use Evolution for my email, calendar, contacts, and to do list...
  • Syncing to my personal Nextcloud.
  • Simplenote is my favorite service for storing notes.
  • Calibre for managing and reading my massive library of eBooks.


For C++, I use...

  • C++17
  • LLVM Clang 7
  • GCC 8
  • cppcheck
  • CMake

For Python, I use...

  • Python 3.7/3.8
  • venv
  • pip
  • Flake8
  • Mypy
  • Pytest
  • Bandit
  • Black

And, of course, I use Git for all my VCS needs.

Top comments (3)

tomplatz profile image
Tomas Platz • Edited

Hi there. I am new here. You have nice gear. Thanks for sharing it.

dietertroy profile image

Great write up! Also SUPER jealous of your System76 build.

Unrelated, I see the Pinebook 64 PRO is going on pre-order on 07/25 .. could be worthey of a throwaway *nix laptop :D

darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

Just checked out the Indent-rainbow extension as it was new to me. Awesome!thanks for sharing :)