Issue 59 Dec 10, 2023

The quest for the ultimate setup

I, like so many others, is always tinkering with my setup. It can get smarter, faster, lighter, stronger, more versatile, better looking, more inspiring – the list goes on. The idea is that the perfect setup will make you more productive. It’ll make you a better writer, your designs will pop even more, any kind of editing you do will be oh so snappy.

It’s bullshit, obviously. Changing your setup can certainly bring improvement, but unless you’re the kind of person who uses things until they break down, it’s likely the upgrade isn’t ground-breaking. More likely, it’ll just make things a little nicer for you for a bit, while the dopamine hits, and then you’ll start to think about how you could improve your setup even more.

That’s what it’s all about, the journey towards the perfect setup. Endgame doesn’t exist, not until you drop the setup hunting hobby.

Personally, I dive in and out of it. It comes from fatigue because for me, I can’t see a unified perfect setup. I do too many different things, the overlap is obvious at times, but complicated more often than not.

Case in point: My favorite writing device is an 11” iPad Pro sitting on a stand, connected to a mechanical keyboard and a trackpad. It gives med focus thanks to the one thing at a time approach devices like these promote (albeit not limit you to).

Said device, while certainly very capable, won’t fit into my web design workflows. Sure, I can use it here and there, or force it, but it’s just not as good as the 16” MacBook Pro connected to a big display.

Flipping that around, I can’t write on said 16” MacBook Pro, which I’ve written about previously (see #40). Well, I can, technically, but I don’t enjoy it. It’s just not a good setup for me when writing.

These are just two examples, hence my setup fatigue.

I still hunt the perfect setup. I still think about how I can improve things, what to tinker with. It varies greatly. For example, said 11” iPad Pro is a wonderful device, but it’s a compromise. Rarely it’s the right size, either I’d prefer a smaller one (iPad mini) or the larger iPad Pro model. Never have I felt that 11” is perfect, in part due to the fact that any attached keyboard will be cramped. Alas, having too many devices isn’t my idea of a good setup. I’d prefer one, maybe two, computing devices, not counting whatever pocket communicator (aka phone) I’m using. Three iPads and a Mac (and a gaming PC) is just a hassle.

I guess I’m starting to get out of my setup fatigue slump. That means I’ll be eagerly awaiting new iPads and Macs (I’ll stick to my tiny iPhone 13 mini, thank you very much), to see how I can tie it all together. Then I will, after which I’ll feel hopeful and get all those benefits mentioned at the beginning, after which it’ll start to feel less than perfect again, not to mention financially stupid.

The setup cycle continues.


🤘 The big farewell tour is over for Kiss, but the even bigger money grab that is avatar shows, as made famous by Abba Voyage, has just begun. This isn’t for me, but expect more outrageous acts to follow.

😡 Did you lose files in that Google Drive sync bug? Then these steps might get them back. Don’t expect to get any more help on the matter, Google has closed the support threads.

🔐 VPN for your Apple TV? When I traveled a lot, I’d loved this – I always brought an Apple TV to connect to the hotel room TV. These days, I not only travel less, I’m also more than fine with my iPad. But still, great to see a VPN app, albeit not one I’ve ever used, being made available for the Apple TV.

😹 can happen, thanks to Google. I’ll stick with, thank you very much.

🤡 In a baffling reply, Trump says he’ll be a dictator on day one should he become president again. Sure, dictators are known to release power and play nice. Voting for this clown is downright dangerous.

🏁 In a development that surprises no one, courts deny Tesla’s suit against Swedish postal service. You can’t bully unions in Sweden, and now they’re backed by their equivalents in Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Welcome to Scandinavia, Elon. You better backpedal if you want to sell more cars here.

🎸 Lovely interview with Dolly Parton about her new album Rockstar. Why don’t you make her your president, America?

👹 Did you buy Mythbusters (or any other Discovery show) from the PlayStation Store? Then get ready to lose it because Sony is deleting it for you. Buying digital really is just renting content for an unstated amount of time.

💧 By yours truly: Giving a go.

🐴 I wrote a piece on Substack alternatives, if you’re in the market.

🤖 Bill Gates is no doubt a smart guy, but his vision for what’s coming, with AI agents doing everything, is not only off the mark in terms of what services it’ll replace (if it needs the services that it replaces, they can’t go away, can they?), it’s also a horribly dystopian world.

👩‍⚖️ Getty lawsuit against Stability AI, which claims copyrighted material was used to train Stable Diffusion in an unlawful manner, is moving ahead in the UK. While not as important as the EU lawsuit mentioned in a previous issue, this is yet another sign of a shaky AI future.

🛰️ Space trash is dangerous and we need to track it (and, sooner or later, deal with it) to avoid damage to satellites, space craft, or worse. Luckily, there’s a promising new method for this.

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, hitting up on Bluesky, or any of the other means that appeal to you. Thanks!


📚 I’m reading Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam. My wife enjoyed it, and I wanted to read the book before watching the Netflix movie. No strong feelings thus far, about half-way through.

🎵 Dolly Parton’s Rockstar is a nice listen, but I wager it’s more a nostalgia thing than anything else.

📺 Finally got around to watching Dune. It’s a gorgeous movie, but it sure is slow.

🎮 I’m deep in Elder Scrolls Online at the moment, with the odd Super Mario Wonder session.

That’s it for this week. Have a good one.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

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