Ben Carr

Uses

Hardware

MacBook Pro

I’ve used a Mac since 2007, and don’t imagine that changing any time soon. At Happy Cog I use a 14″ MacBook Pro, and my personal computer is a 13″ MacBook Pro.

Sit/​Stand Desk

I have a 48″ Uplift sit/​stand desk with a white laminate top and enjoy switching between sitting and standing depending on my mood or the type of work I’m doing. The amount of time I sit or stand seems to ebb and flow more than I’d like.

Chair

I sit in a Steelcase Gesture chair. It’s very expensive, very comfortable, and very heavy.

Single Monitor

I use a single 27″ LG UltraFine 5K monitor, and keep my laptop in clamshell mode. I find this is the perfect amount of screen space for how I like to work, and is the most aesthetically pleasing setup for my eyes.

Trackpad & Keyboard

I use the Apple Magic Trackpad and the previous generation Magic Keyboard (with the good arrow keys).

Personal Devices

I splurge on a new iPhone every year. This year that’s the iPhone 15 Pro in Natural Titanium” I’ve never used an iPhone case (nor have I ever broken an iPhone1), but I’m very fond of the MagSafe Wallet.

I use an Apple Watch Series 8, and I’m absolutely in love with the Braided Solo Loop band.

Software

PhpStorm

I use PhpStorm for all things development. Its code intelligence and refactoring features are absolutely unparallelled by any other editor. I’m also a huge fan of its version control UI, especially for staging individual hunks, interactive rebasing, and resolving merge conflicts. I’ve slowly tuned it over the years into a beautifully calm powerhouse that undoubtedly makes me a better developer.

Theme

I use the One Dark Theme for the application UI, and my editor uses a theme I’ve customized over the years originally based on base16 Ocean Dark.

Plugins

Plugins really depend on your needs, but these really stick out to me for their utility:

  • Php Inspections (EA Extended) which has caught tons of my silly mistakes
  • Key Promoter X for reminding me when I’m doing something a lot with the mouse that could be a shortcut
  • String Manipulation which makes it really easy to swap out naming conventions when borrowing code from other projects (or the internet)

Keymap

I spent the better part of a year trying to learn the default IntelliJ keymap, but eventually decided I simply couldn’t make sense of it. Then I saw some previews of Caleb Porzios phenomenal Make VS Code Awesome course, and his notion of namespacing” keyboard shortcuts for memorability immediately stuck.

Since then I’ve completely overhauled my keymap into several groups:

  • ⌘K for switching between panels and tools
  • ⌘G for Git actions
  • ⌘U for Debugging operations (⌘D is for duplicating a line)
  • ⌘M for Emmet and template refactoring operations

Many other common operations I’ve remapped to something that fits with my mental model, and uses as few keys as possible.

Firefox & Safari

I use Firefox for all things development. Their developer tools have some amazing functionality I’ve come to rely on heavily like the Fonts panel in the Inspector tab, the issue checker and tree view in the Accessibility tab, and the flexbox and grid highlighter.

For personal browsing, I use Safari for its privacy controls, speed, and shared history with my other Apple devices.

Figma

I’m a big fan of Figma for its effortless sharing and collaboration features, strong community, and relentless pace of improvement.

Raycast

Raycast is an excellent application launcher and clipboard manager, but I’ve set it up to go quite a bit further.

  • Quicklinks for a bunch of sites I use regularly jump me straight from command palette to results.
  • Window management for quick keyboard shortcuts that organize my workspace windows.
  • Documentation search for the tools I use regularly
  • Custom extensions for quickly opening project links, generating Faker content, and toggling VPN configurations.

1Password

I’ve been a 1Password customer since 2011, and have over 1,100 items in my family account across a handful of vaults. Using a password manager brings me so much peace of mind, and 1Password houses so much important data and metadata beyond just my credentials.

Lately I’ve been converting every login I can to use passkeys, which 1Password makes super simple to store and use.

Other Apps

Bartender keeps my menu bar tidy, and ensures I’m aware of what’s important when things change.

Backblaze is my off-site backup solution, and I’m so happy I’ve never needed to use it.

Choosy is so handy when working across multiple browsers at once during development. It’s been my default browser since the day I downloaded it.

Tot is my omnipresent scratchpad.

Home

Coffee

I love coffee. I’ve tried a dozen brewing methods over the years, but have really come to love the simplicity of the Hario V60. I grind my beans fresh for each cup with a Fellow Ode Grinder, and use a Stagg EKG Kettle, both of which also just look fantastic on my counter.

I’ve been brewing Yes Plz beans since their Kickstarter in 2018, and every single release has been right in my wheelhouse.

This Site

This site is built with Laravel and Tailwind, compiled with Vite.

The typefaces in use are Swear Display and Paralucent for headings, Massilia for body text, and Input Mono for accents.

I use Fathom Analytics to capture some basic view stats in a privacy-preserving way, and it’s excellent. If you’re interested, you can use my Fathom Analytics referral code for $10 off your first invoice.


  1. 🤞🤞🤞