Paul Stamatiou @Stammy

Stuff I use

Hardware, software and services

Updated Nov 2016

Camera gear

Visit my camera gear page to learn about my Sony α7R II, lenses and accessories.

Computer

After years of editing thousands of photos in Lightroom on various laptops, I finally migrated to a more powerful iMac and have been very happy. My primary computer at home is a 5K iMac with 32GB of RAM (was 16GB, upgraded myself with OWC RAM), 512GB SSD, upgraded GPU and a 4.0GHz i7 CPU.

I do 95% of my personal work on the iMac so I can get away with a less powerful and slender laptop for couch and travel duty. As such, I chose a 1.3GHz 12" Retina Macbook in space gray with 512GB of storage.

12inch Macbook

The only downside is that 512GB is not enough storage when traveling and importing photos, so I also travel with an external SSD as mentioned on my camera gear page. For now I'm very happy with it and have purchased an Incase sleeve and Anker external battery to go with it.

ISP

First and foremost — my internet connection. I'm very lucky to have an ISP called WebPass in my building and I get upload and download speeds of around around 250Mbps. This definitely comes in handy when backing up hundreds of gigabytes of photos and videos after a trip.

The Ethernet jack in my house is not in a convenient location so I use these 2Gbps modules to "move" the Ethernet so I can hide my router and NAS in another part of the room. Unfortunately, the high performance of these particular adapters comes at a cost — they are rather large compared to other 500Mbps units.

TP-LINK AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit, 2-Port, Gigabit w/ Power Outlet Pass-through, up to 2000Mbps

TP-LINK powerline adapters

2 ports; up to 2Gbps

Mouse

Whenever I'm at my desk I always use my trusty Logitech G500 wired mouse.

I actually have three of them. One each for home, work and traveling. The mouse fits me very well — I think the Apple mice are too flat. And I love wired mice so I never have to deal with charging.

I also have the Apple Magic Trackpad, Apple Magic Mouse, Evoluent Vertical Mouse and a Wacom Intuos tablet as I try to find the best combination to reduce occasional RSI.

Logitech G500 Programmable Gaming Mouse

Logitech G500

Apple Magic Keyboard and Paul's desk

Keyboard

As for my keyboard of choice, it's the new Apple Magic Keyboard. It's more compact than previous models and takes some getting used to with the reduced key travel. However it charges with a lightning cable so there's no more pesky battery swaps. It can also automatically pair to the computer when you plug it in.

Apple Magic Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard

Desk

After using cheap desks for a decade I thought it was time to invest in a high-quality desk for the next decade. In particular I wanted a sit/stand desk that I could easily adjust. I'm picky when it comes to setting the height of my desk instead of something that was fixed.

Humanscale Float Adjustable Height Desks

Humanscale Float

elegant and functional

I also wanted one that did not look like it belonged in the office. One that was pretty small by office standards at only 48-inches wide. One with a nice wood top that could fit in with the rest of my furniture and wasn't too long, something like 48-inches wide instead of 60 or 72 like most on the market. After spending a weekend reading about every sit/stand desk, I ended up with this Humanscale Float from Room & Board with a walnut top. It looks great and it's very sturdy.

Desk chair

The Herman Miller Embody is my desk chair of choice. I've had it for about 4 years now and it's still as good as the first day, except for some fabric fading.

At over $1,000 it's expensive but extremely adjustable unlike any other desk chair I've encountered. As a reference point, I actually hate the Aeron chair, I find it doesn't provide much upper back support. It's part of what I need to get into The Coding Zone.

Herman Miller Embody desk chair

Herman Miller Embody

the perfect task chair

Bookcase

This bookcase is one of the focal points of my living room and a place to showcase various books, personal artifacts.. and of course a place to put all of my camera gear when not in use. As such I wanted something large and well-made. I went with this Room and Board model to match the other furniture I have.

It also serves as a nice home for the Raspberry Pi digital photo frame I made to highlight photos from my travels.

Room and Board Elton bookcase

R&B Elton

Walnut and natural steel

Lounge chair

The Eames lounge chair and ottoman needs no introduction. I've lusted after this chair since taking industrial design classes in college.

I opted for the classic walnut and Vicenza black leather model.

Eames Lounge and Ottoman Chair

Eames Lounge & Ottoman

Eames lounge chair and ottoman

Home automation

I use the Amazon Echo along with some Insteon devices to control lighting in my house. It's a wonderfully convenient solution and I've found Echo to be handy for other basic things like setting alarms, telling me about the news that day, weather and searching for basic info. Insteon also has a bunch of other devices to control other aspects of your home but I'm just starting with these.


The Amazon Echo is also pretty extensible and can learn new "skills" — integrations from third-party developers or even yourself. I've seen some folks write a service that Echo can use to control their Sonos sound system. I might hack together some functionality like that in the future.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

smart voice assistant

Insteon Central Controller Hub

Insteon Hub

Connects to router

Insteon plug-in lamp dimmer module

Insteon dimmer

for plug-in lamps

Insteon wall switch

Insteon wall switch

dimmer for ceiling lights

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

WeMo switch

Belkin's Wi-Fi smart plug

I've also grown quite fond of lights from Pablo Designs. I replaced my kitchen pendant lights with ones from Pablo Designs and then purchased this tall Vella floor light to go in the corner. It has two independently swiveling aluminum louvers so you can control how the light casts itself as well has adjustable LED levels.

I have this hooked up to the Belkin WeMo switch for basic on/off functionality. Unfortunately, the Vella cannot be dimmed by just controlling the power to it; it has it's own manual control for that.

Google Home Smart Speaker and Home Assistant

Google Home

Smart speaker, assistant

Google Home

Google recently entered the smart voice assistant space with their own device, the Google Home. I'm not yet sure if I like it more than the Echo because I can't actually put it to full use just yet. My primary email accounts are Google Apps accounts and Home does not support connecting to Google Apps email accounts and calendars.

Once that is resolved and Home can use my emails and appointments to tell me about my day and answer questions about things in my inbox, I think I'll like it a lot more. In my limited use though, I do find that it is a bit faster in just responding to my questions; Google Assistant seems promising.

Google Home

And while the Google Home should be under the home automation section unfortunately the Google Home does not yet support the Insteon devices I use.

Home theater

The Sonos setup

After I got my own place and could invest in a real entertainment setup, I went after the simple choice for audio: Sonos. I don't care enough about audio to require a complex 5.1 or 7.1 setup with tiny little satellite speakers and cables throughout the room. I went with the wireless Sonos Playbar which can utilize two wireless Play:1 speakers as rear surround speakers and a wireless subwoofer I hide behind the couch.

I mounted the Play:1's on Flexson stands behind my couch and also got the Sonos Boost wireless transceiver so I didn't have to wire one of the speakers to ethernet (required when in the surround sound configuration to reduce latency). I also have a Play:1 in the bathroom.

As for the TV, I spent a long time researching whether to go 4K or not. I decided against 4K for now — the content is just not there right now. I went with a 65-inch Sony with Android TV. While I enjoy the Android TV OS itself, the new Apple TV with Siri and trackpad remote was a bit too cool to pass up.

SONOS PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music

Sonos Play:1

compact speaker

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar/Wireless Streaming Music Speaker

Sonos Playbar

TV sound bar

SONOS SUB Wireless Subwoofer

Sonos Sub

elegant wireless sub

FLEXSON AAV-FLXP1FS2021 Floorstand for PLAY:1 SONOS Speakers, Pair, Black

Flexson floorstands

SONOS BOOST for Sonos Wireless Network

Sonos Boost

wireless enhancer

Sony KDL65W850C 65-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

Sony 65-inch

LED, 3D, Android TV

The new Apple TV

Apple TV

Siri remote, 32GB

Kitchen

My weekends usually start by making myself a cup or three of coffee so I decided to get a burr grinder that can adapt to how I make the coffee. Sometimes I use a percolator, drip or french press. Beyond that I decided to stick with Breville for my toaster oven and tea maker. And for my kitchen stools, there was only once choice as far as I was concerned.

Breville toaster

Breville toaster

1800W convection smart oven

Breville tea maker

Breville tea maker

with robotic tea basket

Breville coffee grinder

Breville coffee grinder

burr with 60 settings

Eames Molded Plastic Counter Stool, DSHCX

Eames Counter Stool

Personal audio

I have Audyssey Wireless Bluetooth Speakers for the desk but after I got my iMac I stopped using them. I preferred having a cleaner desk and the iMac integrated audio was good enough. And of course I also play music over the Sonos system. I previously had Audioengine A5s and Rokit RP5G2s which I loved as well but wanted to simplify my setup.

At work I always use my Bose QuietComfort 20 noise-cancelling earbuds. The Bose are amazing at quieting surrounding office noise and airplane noise when traveling that I use these most of the time.

Bose QuietComfort 20 noise cancelling headphones

Bose QuietComfort 20

noise cancelling

Bose SoundSport Wireless

Bose SoundSport Wireless

super comfy

For outdoor activities (mainly running) I have used the sweat and weather resistant Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones for a few years now, in fact I'm on my second pair after I lost the first. And I keep coming back to Bose for a reason — I just absolutely love the fit with the little "shark fins" that keep them in place along with a more oval ear piece. I've tried various competitors that have wrap-around designs to try to achieve the same effect but it's never the same.

When wireless headphones started becoming popular I hesitated to adopt them (I got the Jaybird X2 bluetooth earbuds but absolutely hated the fit) until Bose came out with their SoundSport Wireless.. and they're amazing. The only downsides are that it's a tad bulky and does not have the new Apple W1 chip for better battery life and connectivity. But needless to say, it's very refreshing to not have to deal with a cord when running with my phone.

The QC20 earbuds have a little battery pack at the base which is a bit annoying but a small compromise to make for their stellar noise-canceling ability.

When it comes to larger circumaural headphones I have the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm headphones combined with a FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp. I also have a pair of Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones. The Sennheisers are open-ear circumaural headphones (around the ear) that are very comfortable. They do leak sound (the nature of open-ear headphones) so they're only for home use. But really, when I'm at home I almost always play music from one of my Sonos devices or my iMac so these don't get too much use.

Mobile devices

I seem to collect mobile devices these days from needing both iOS and Android devices to test designs, prototypes and app builds at work. My main phone is the Google Pixel Nexus 5X but I also have an iPhone 7, iPhone SE, iPhone 4S, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3, iPod Touch and Nexus 9.

I probably say this about every new Android device I get my hands on, but the Pixel is actually worthy of that praise. Great, fast camera and very snappy throughout the whole OS.

Google Pixel phone and iPhone 7
Google Pixel 128GB, iPhone 7 128GB
iPhone SE
16GB iPhone SE without a SIM card that I use for testing builds, designs and prototypes at work.

Google Fi is my wireless carrier of choice, having switched after more than decade on AT&T. In a nutshell Project Fi is great because your phone automatically switches to other phone networks (several supported) to get the best signal and speed, you have simple $10 per GB billing and it even works internationally at the same price!

Nexus 5X and Google Project Fi

You can never have enough battery life when traveling or just when out after a long work day so I always have one of my Anker battery packs in my bag. The elago M2 stand is necessary for holding my devices when doing lots of web development and previewing designs on any mobile device.

elago M2 mobile phone stand

elago M2

phone stand

Anker PowerCore 20000

PowerCore 20000

Anker's 20,000mAh portable charger

Anker PowerCore 10000

PowerCore 10000

Anker's 10,000mAh portable charger

Software

Photo editing

Adobe Lightroom 6 is my post-processing tool of choice for my photo workflow. VSCO Keys lets me easily copy and paste develop settings between photos, and enable other keyboard shortcuts that make Lightroom faster for me. I don't get too crazy with add-on filter presets or plugins, I often just tinker manually. Though I will occasionally — well more like rarely — process HDR images with Aurora HDR which replaced Photomatix Pro for me.

After I'm done editing my photos and have exported the ones I wanted to use, I move the RAWs to my NAS, which is also backed up to the cloud. Read more about this setup in detail in Storage for Photographers (Part 2).

Productivity

I use Wunderlist to keep track of various lists, neat links and to-do items alongside Dropbox Paper for general notes, blog post drafts and extended thoughts. I also use TextExpander to save me time when typing out common phrases or pieces of data. Likewise, I can't say how much time 1Password saves me when logging into sites, as well as keeping me secure. I also use the Clear app on my desktop but only for simple to-do items for each day.

Development

Nothing special here: Google Chrome, Atom text editor (with M+ 1m typeface and Seti UI theme, Seti Syntax), iTerm 3, ImageOptim, JPEGmini and Panic Transmit (for Amazon S3). I have gotten used to SCM Breeze for simplifying common git commands and speeding up my git workflow.

Design

I use Sketch for high-fidelity design and Photoshop for cutting assets or fine-tuning photos. I'm also a huge fan of xScope. I also use the app Characters for easily copying and pasting odd symbols (bullets, arrows, pictographs, punctuation, et cetera) as HTML entities.

When it comes time to develop interactive prototypes of my designs, I always turn to Framer. It's a vital part of my design process. Learn much more in these two articles I wrote: Designing Twitter Video and Provide meaning with motion.

Misc software & services

iStat Menus, Dropbox, Crashplan, Authy (on mobile for 2 factor auth), Typography.com Cloud, GitHub, Gauges (site analytics)

Amazon S3 with Cloudfront for website hosting as well as misc storage. View the site changelog for more info.

This website

This site is based on Jekyll, hosted on S3/CloudFront with AWS Route 53 and all designed and developed by me. It has been my hobby for more than a decade. :)