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Anthony Agius

Writer, Editor (The Sizzle)

in writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Anthony, but most people probably know me as decryption, the online handle I've used for almost 3 decades now. I write about computers for a living! While I do a bit of freelance writing here and there, my main job is The Sizzle, a daily newsletter that goes out to 1,350 people daily who pay me to tell them about the latest tech news from an Australian point of view. I also have a side-gig hosting Discourse forums for online communities.

What hardware do you use?

Primary rig is a 2021 16" MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM and an M1 Pro SoC. Quite possibly the best laptop I've ever used - amazing battery life, great performance, high quality display, easy to slip into a bag, keyboard is usable and the trackpad smooth as butter. Despite being a serial upgrader of computer hardware, I can't see myself buying a new laptop any time soon, the Apple Silicon Macs are that good.

It spends most of its time hooked up to an Apple Studio Display, which is less impressive due to the cost, but as someone that spends all day looking at text on a screen it's hard going back to a non-Retina display and the Studio Display is one of the few displays that sits in the 200-240 PPI sweet spot.

Also on my desk is a Logitech MX Keys keyboard (with a numpad!) and Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, sitting on top of a large generic desk pad so I don't scuff up the desk. I used to have a mechanical keyboard but the noise got really annoying when on a call or when listening to music, so I simply got the keyboard that matches the mouse I already had! I looked into getting an Apple Magic Keyboard so I could have Touch ID support, but the keyboard itself is pretty average with horrible "key feel" that wasn't comfortable for me, so the MX Keys stays.

A vital part of my setup is a pair of Kali LP-8V2 studio monitor speakers hooked up to a NAD C 658 streaming pre-amp. I listen to music most of the day and find it difficult to concentrate without some tunes playing in the background. The Kali speakers while not pretty and rather large, are awesome value for money for the sonic accuracy they achieve. I paired them with a 2nd-hand NAD C 658 simply because it's one of the cheapest devices that supports Dirac Live room correction EQ without requiring any software running on my computer.

Home network consists of a bunch of Ubiquiti stuff - UDM-Pro router, US-48-750W 48-port PoE switch and four UAP-AC-Lite's scattered around my house, which has multiple ethernet ports in every room.

And what software?

macOS is my platform of choice but only really out of habit these days. There's not much I do on my computer that can't be done specifically on a Mac or better on a Mac to be honest. To produce an issue of The Sizzle and manage customers/marketing/billing I use a range of tools:

  • Feedbin - RSS service that syncs the 1000s of feeds I subscribe to between multiple devices and also has a nice web interface itself.
  • Reeder - best RSS reader app I've used, but only on Apple devices.
  • Pinboard - anything interesting I see on the internet I bookmark it on Pinboard for safe keeping and easy retrieval later.
  • Kagi - excellent search engine that's replaced Google for me when I want to look something up or do some research.
  • Sublime Text - I write everything in a text editor rather than a word processor, then paste it elsewhere should I need to share it.
  • - a no-code platform that automates so much of The Sizzle for me, absolutely invaluable for a coding hack like me.
  • Chargebee & Stripe - without these I wouldn't be able to take money from people on the internet or manage their subscriptions.
  • Mailgun - there's plenty of email API platforms around but Mailgun is one of the few to have a built-in mailing list feature.
  • Discourse - a really modern web forum software package that I self-host as a community for Sizzle subscribers.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd love three of those Apple Pro Display XDR monitors hooked up to a fully loaded Mac Studio and perhaps a pair of Genelec 8361A speakers to go with it - maybe if I ever found a large sack of cash on the side of the road I'd use it to purchase those extravagances. What would be fun is to have such a large budget that I could buy whatever piece of gear mildly interests me and just try it out for the hell of it, even if I didn't need it or have any intention of it replacing what I'm already using. While I love working from home in my little study, somewhere isolated with a nicer view, like an ocean or a forest would be delightful.