It’s 8 am on a fine Saturday morning. I’m sitting here in the park at Union Square, San Francisco — prepping for the...
AHMAD AWAIS USES
A list of software & hardware products used by Ahmad Awais — as a web dev advocate and an open sourcerer.Ahmad Awais
Hello, there. It’s Ahmad Awais — I love teaching, developing, and automating things. I’ve seen many developers keep a
/uses page to share what they use. Nowadays, it’s almost customary and expected of you to have this page.
I use a lot of software and hardware products. Many times people ask me about that. That’s why I have started collecting a list of items here on this page so that I can redirect everyone to one single link and still follow DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) philosophy.
Teaching is a genetic bug in me. I can’t help it. I love to share what I know. It also helps that I come from a family of teachers, both my grandparents and even my parents are teachers. You’ll probably enjoy my teaching style.
- VSCode.pro — Take a look at my VSCode Power User course. Turn yourself into a power developer and save time. Learn VSCode today.
31,441+ developers already learning →
- NodeCLI.com — I’ve created hundreds of CLI Automation DevTools. Yes, I love building automation software. In the course, I teach how to build a Node.js CLI developer tooling.
6,783+ developers already learning →
- DenoBeginner.com — A free crash course on Deno runtime.
- NodejsBeginner.com — Learn Node.js for Free, and build Node.js apps, APIs, and CLIs. What I wish I had when I started with Node.js.
- NextjsBeginner.com — I’m writing a book, creating an app, and recording a beginner-friendly video course to help you start building production-ready Next.js apps without wasting hundreds of hours. Complete step-by-step guide.
- Writy.io — A book/course where my better half teaches how to write authentic and professional content meant for developers.
📟 Editor & Theme & Font#
- Visual Studio Code is my go-to code editor (I switched in Jan 2017) — I’m also creating a course on it called VSCode.pro. Sign up for my course, and you’ll learn lots of tips and tricks, and I promise to turn you into VSCode Power Users →
- Shades of Purple: I am quite particular about what my code/work environment looks like. So, much so that I created my own code syntax highlighting theme called Shades of Purple (SOP). It’s now being used by over 3 million developers in 13+ different software. It’s a dark mode theme, but I call it the Purple mode (better than dull dark modes) — I love the color purple, Purple can be genius.
⬇️ Download Shades of Purple theme for VSCode, Chrome, iTerm2/Zsh, and put SOP theme in 13+ software →
😎 I’m also launching Shades of Purple PRO soon.
- Sublime Text (used it for over a decade) — but VSCode won my heart
- I’m currently using Operator Mono as my code font. Yes, like many others, you pay for it. See, you spend most of your life looking at the code (as a developer). It’s only fair that your code looks good
— Before, I used Inconsolata, and Source Code Pro for many years
— If you don’t want to spend money on the code font, there are some fantastic Operator Mono alternatives available for free. I have tried both of these: IBM Plex & Fira Code
💻 Terminal Setup#
- I also use Zsh shell instead of Bash and am a core contributor to the ever-awesome Oh My Zsh configuration — which is also my thing.
- Again, I wrote custom themes for my terminal apps:
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-iTerm2
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-Zsh-Theme
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-Hyper-Terminal (on Hyper)
🛠 Productivity Workflows#
- The best workflow improvement I get is from Text Expander. I use it for canned responses and for most of my code snippets. An incredible piece of software.
- Raycast made me drop Alfred, it’s amazing and you get to build rich extensions with React, Node.js, and TypeScript. My kind of stack.
- I used to be a big fan of Alfred and had hundreds of workflows in it.
- I design with Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Primmer, and Auditions)
and Sketch,and now I use Figma.
- I backup with multiple portable hard disks by 2TB WD and 2TB Transcend, online backup with Dropbox for most files, and have been trying out BackBlaze for my entire hard drive.
- I use ColorSnapper it’s probably the best color picker on macOS.
- I love emojis 🔥 and use this cool little app called Rocket Pro for that.
📹 Video Hardware#
- My primary camera is
→ Sony Alpha 7C Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera in Silver
→ Lens: Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens
→ Lens: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art Lens
→ Connect via Elgato Cam Link 4K + UGREEN Micro HDMI to HDMI
→ AC Dummy battery: Gonine NP-FZ100 Dummy Battery NP FZ100
→ Card: SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card
→ Charger: NITECORE USN4 Pro Digital QuickCharge 2.0 USB
→ Cleaning Kit: Altura Photo Camera Accessories Bundle
- My secondary camera is
→ Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
→ Lens: Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical
→ Tripod: Slik s304 tripod-pro professional tripod
- Webcams: I currently own two webcams from Logitech:
→ BRIO 4K ULTRA HD PRO (pretty good)
→ Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam (pretty average)
- For lighting:
→ I use an excellent Elgato Key Light Air paired with
→ A regular selfie ring light + 7ft basic tripod stand
→ and a Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit.
📹 Video Software#
- I use ScreenFlow to record and edit my screencasts on Mac.
- Relatively new user of Apple Final Cut Pro, it’s pretty darn fast.
- I also use the Adobe Creative Suite: After Effects and Premiere Pro.
- I also make use of Cursor Pro and Keystroke Pro, both are fantastic applications built by Martin Lexow.
- My videos have a lot of silence. When I’m recording, I stop to think a lot, and then I remove that silence by hand. I hate doing this so much. It’s a chore — imagine the amount of time I spent removing 20 hours of silence from 30 hours of videos, to produce a 10 hours long course on Node.js CLI Automation (the irony?!). I recently discovered an excellent tool that automates this, it’s called Recut. It’s a Mac app that automatically edits your videos by cutting out silence. Thank you, Dave — you’re a life savor.
Throughout these years I have had many different microphones. I currently use all three of these:
My primary mic is the the legendary:
→ Microphone: Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
→ Arm: RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Mic Boom Arm
→ XLR: Jet black Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR
→ USB Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
→ Amp: Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator
→ Mount: Boseen Mic Stand Extension Tube
My secondary mic of choice is:
→ Microphone: RODE Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
→ Arm: RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Mic Boom Arm
→ Mount: RODE PSM1 Shockmount and Rode WS2 pop shield
Third and Fourth mic (mostly used by my better half):
- Mic: I also have a Blue Yeti Blackout USB Microphone
Filter: with a dual-layered Earamble Microphone Pop Filter
- Finally a portable mic called Blue SnowFlake here’s a picture of it and a silly custom boom arm with it.
🖥 Desk Hardware#
Spent a decade with Windows then more than a decade with Mac. I’m super happy with the macOS and don’t plan to go back.
My primary laptops:
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max 64 GB – Space Gray
M1 Max 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
64GB unified memory
1TB SSD storage
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro 16 GB – Space Gray
M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
16GB unified memory
1TB SSD storage
My secondary laptops:
Apple MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) – Silver
2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5
Retina display: 15.4-inch (diagonal) 2880×1800
16GB RAM 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
512GB SSD storage
Apple MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, 2017) – Silver
2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz)
Retina display: 13.3-inch ; 2560×1600 resolution
8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
128GB SSD storage
Dell Inspiron 15 5510 15.6 Inch Laptop
Intel Core i7-11390H, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD
NVIDIA GeForce MX450 Graphics, Windows 11 Pro
- Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 128GB) – Space Gray
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus tablet, HD display, 32 GB
- Fan of HP Pavilion 27xi Flat UHD display monitors.
- Big fan of trackpads but have a Logitech MX Master 3.
- A home theater convertible-to-bar speakers with an 8 inch Bass drum and 70W subwoofer by F&D T200-X 2.1 here’s a good review video.
- I sit on a beast cobra #Ergonomic office chair. The back of this chair adjusts itself with your back! That’s comfortable!
I own Sony WH-1000XM3 probably the best noise-canceling headphones on the market since I need ’em. I’ve been traveling thousands of miles lately as a developer advocate. And boy, I love these headphones. They are so good.
I also own Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 which are most comfortable but sound quality is not as great as the Sony ones.
I try to run 3-6 kms a day — that’s where my Apple AirPods Pro, come in handy. I bought a couple other brands but all of these stopped working after a while. However, Apple AirPods work great. You get what you pay for.
Being six feet tall, I oddly manage a good seat only to be seated next to a family with crying babies (for some reason I can make babies laugh in a minute) which is a distraction from work on a 10+ hour flight. So, a set of noise cancellation headphones help a lot.
Also have the old SteelSeries Siberia v2 Full-Size Gaming Headset I have had multiple headsets from this company but I like Siberia V3 here’s the pic, another one, and this one.
- I’m a huge fan of the Samsung Note series. Right now, I own an excellent Note 10 Pro, Samsung Note 8 device, in the past, I had a Samsung Note 4. Before that, it was HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson. Hah, good ‘old days. yes, I like Android over iOS.
- Bought these custom 0.67x macro lens for it with a custom mobile stand. But nowadays it’s a standard feature in smartphones.
I use HelloSign to get my contracts signed and I love everything about it. Try out the free version if you are skeptical about it.
🖼️ Digital Asset Management#
Images and videos handling, CDN, conversion, optimization, and whatnot. All of that is done for me by Cloudinary. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. Signup now and get 10Gb space and 20Gb bandwidth for free →
I really like how easy it is to use Invoicely. I recommend it to everyone, they even have a nice free version.
📸 Screenshots & Gifs#
2021: I have recently switched to CleanShot Pro for mac and I’m absolutely blown away by the app experience. It’s phenomenal. As a developer, I’m generally a Power User of apps — but CleanShot has offered me more features than I had asked for. Features like scrolling screenshots, numbered annotations, video editor, and whatnot.
2016: I admire the screenshot, GIF, and small video hosting by My CloudApp — I use it daily. Comes in handy all the time. Update: Over the years, CloudApp became extraordinarily slow. There were so many breaking updates, lots of my open-source repos have broken images because of that. Their custom domain setup is not good enough, I have to disable Cloudflare and their dashboard won’t let me add custom SSL for the custom domain. Made me sad, hence I’m switching to CleanShot.
Not a fitness pro or anything but I love Nike Flex series. They fit in nicely.
🎒 Social Media Management#
I generally use Social media directly. Or when I have built SMM CLIs to automate a bunch of stuff. Also, use TweetDeck but not regularly. Sometimes, I find myself using ContentStudio — I have started to replace Buffer with this one. Totally worth it.
📨 Emails & Newsletters#
For sending emails and newsletters I use a combination of Sendy (my favorite email tool), MailChimp, and Intercom. Inside WordPress, I use Amazon SES to send emails.
is important. English is not my mother tongue but Grammarly helps me write better. I can’t stress enough how important it is if you blog a lot. I am a premium subscriber.
⏰ Time Management#
Well, time management has never come easy to me. I use the awesome RescueTime app both on desktop and mobile to help rescue my time.
🗂 Chrome Tab Management
I used to struggle a lot with Google Chrome Tabs management, where I’d open lots and lots of tabs and it would be so hard to lose all the important ones. Now, after using so many tools/extensions I’ve settled with Toby Mini where I save entire sessions of tabs and come back to them whenever I want. A true lifesaver I must add.
🐾 Cleaning My Mac#
I use CleanMyMac X to do what the name says. Well, this software is a real deal and from time to time it helps me delete 10Gb – 20Gb worth of junk files. I’ve been using it for years, and I trust the MacPaw 🐾 team.
💠 SetApp | Set for all apps#
Seriously this is the best Mac app that you can buy. It’s like a SaaS subscription where you pay about /month and gets the most up to dated 100+ premium Mac apps. I have like 20 of those installed atm. This again is built by the MacPaw 🐾 team. Which is amazing.
🏪 Domain Names#
I love to buy domain names. There was a time when I had over a thousand domains in my portfolio and I used to sell and resell those. If you’re just getting started, use Dynadot to buy domains (you get with my link)‚ they always have the best pricing. I also use Cloudflare to host domains. Which is excellent.
I have always loved and appreciated good design. There are many good designers in the web community but some of them are really good. They totally stand out from the crowd. I use the designs from the following designers, who have a beyond impressive design portfolio. I bet you’ll need a thing or two in there — these designers/designs are my personal goto design shops:
- LStore Graphics: Ruslan designs amazing hero images
- CraftWork Design: UI Kits from Denis have no parallel
- Icons8: For all the icons needs of my open source projects
- Shape.so: Fantastic app for animated icons & illustrations
📺 Do you even TV brah?!#
You bet I do. Nowadays, I mostly use a 55 inch C1 QUHD 4K Smart TV by TCL TV with Google Chromecast – 2nd Generation to watch TV seasons.
- I have watched over 100 TV shows and 5,000+ episodes in the last couple of years. Without TV, my brain is like dead meat. I’ve relatively recently started tracking my TV watching activities at this nice site called Watched.li take a look →
- To receive email updates about when a new episode’s up I use the gold ol’ TV.com. I have labeled its emails as
TVand archived them (to not receive in my inbox) in Gmail with a filter.
- I also use Next-Episode to track exactly what the name suggests
🍴 ForkLift + Transmit — Best FTP Editors & More#
I have toyed around with many FTP editors on Mac. But the combination of ForkLift + Transmit is unbeatable. Both are different, both have many pros. I recommend these two and use them whenever I need to access my private data dump — or a server with SSH — yes these FTP editors work with SSH SFTP secure access very well.
🔦 Spotlight + Workflows
I use the Alfred app as my default spotlight, which has excellent workflows. Not only there is a community behind this product with hundreds of workflow, but I’ve also been able to write tens of custom workflows for things like generating short domains, managing sites, calculations, and whatnot.
😎 CSS Scan for Quick Prototyping
Whenever doing a workshop, I have to sometimes quickly prototype a web example to explain a concept to the audience. Often I find myself copying the CSS from dev tools. Well, no more. CSS Scan takes care of that for me. Saves me a lot of time.
🏗️ UX Wireframing#
I often find myself wireframing a free and open-source project’s UX with this excellent tool called Balsamiq — a fantastic tool to help me process my ideas quickly.
📋 Clipboard Management#
Over the years, I have used many clipboard management apps that would help me copy multiple things to paste them later. I’ve recently switched away from Clipy (it was inaccessible) to a new app called Maccy. I love it.
😮 Automatic Organization#
I am one of those people who keep their computer files organized. Yet it’s a chore to clean up the desktop, the download directory — every single day. For the last five years, I have been using Hazel App that automatically organizes files for me. Set up the rules once, and forget it. For example, every time I take a screenshot, it stays there on my desktop for 10secs and then gets moved to a backup folder, where it gets deleted after 30 days. Life savor!
🔗 Generating Short-URLs
I’m a fan of using short and more context-aware links. Some people are not and that’s completely fine. I use two short domain names for sharing personal links.
- Awais.dev — I fell victim of the
.devlaunch and bought tens of such domains. I’m slowly building a custom Short-URL script that I host at Netlify (plan to release it soon(ish) for everyone to use). For now, I use this domain to host links that are important, e.g., Awais.dev/2018 is where you can read my 2018’s year in review.
I am generally always learning something. I plan to list these things down here but here is a couple of them you should look at:
I often use Firebase and FireStore in different projects. Debugging the database locally is always tricky, that’s where FireFoo, a Powerful GUI Client
for Firebase Firestore comes in. Just started using it, and it’s pretty fantastic.
If you have a question about anything mentioned on this page:
→ Tweet them at @MrAhmadAwais.
Disclosure: I get direct benefit from every post and page I put on this blog. Whether that is monetary or simple joy of helping others, I’m benefiting from it. You may find affiliate links. What that means is if you click on that link and purchase a product, then at no-additional cost to you, I will receive an affiliate commission. It’s important that I emphasize that the words on this blog are mine and are not influenced by any sort of compensation. I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers.