Uses This

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A picture of Max Heinritz

Max Heinritz

Software developer

in developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Max Heinritz. I'm a software engineer at Flexport, a logistics tech company. Previously I worked at Google, mostly on a satellite imagery analysis tool called Earth Engine.

In my freetime, I enjoy interior design and making lights. My apartment was featured in Dwell magazine a few years ago, and more recently I've been working with my brother Karl on Map Lamps.

What hardware do you use?

My computer setup is almost identical at home and work. The base is a standing desk: unbranded standard issue at the office, and IKEA BEKANT at home. On good days I switch between sitting and standing every hour or so. My chair is a 65-inch exercise ball, and I try to keep an Amazon Basics 36-inch foam roller nearby as well.

I have two Retina Mid-2015 MacBook Pros: one for Flexport, one for personal use. The cadence of my machine upgrades just happened to play out such that I haven't switched to the newer models with the fancy keyboard yet.

When at my desk, I use a Goldtouch V2 split keyboard and Evoluent VerticalMouse, which were first recommended during an ergonomics consultation at Google. My monitor is a 32-inch HP Pavilion. I mount it on an arm to ensure vertical alignment with eye level.

I've recreated this desk setup five or six times over the years in various offices and apartments. I like having a small plant and desk lamp as well, but I'm less particular about those.

My phone is an iPhone SE. Small on purpose -- I try to use it as infrequently as possible. I leave it in black-and-white accessibility mode to make it even less enticing (but often end up caving into color for Google Maps or Pinterest).

I read on the latest generation of the classic e-ink Kindle, with a red light headlamp just before sleep. I like quiet. I wear Fnova shooting ear muffs at the office and sleep with Howard Leight foam earplugs as needed. If I really want to concentrate, I sometimes wear both at the same time!

I have a few unreasonably strong hardware preferences that I've gone to great lengths to satisfy over the years. The most ridiculous is perhaps the h2go classic #4261 water bottle. A recruiter sent me one with a logo on it as part of an internship offer package, and something about the size of the mouth and the sturdiness of the metal left a strong impression. So when I lost it a few years later, I really wanted a replacement. I didn't know the brand name but assumed it would be on Amazon. I ordered a handful of similar-looking bottles, only to realize that they were not the same, and that I was going to need the exact same model to be satisfied. Scouring image search results for "metallic water bottle" eventually led me to discover that this particular model is only distributed as a corporate promotional product. So I had to bulk order for 50 of them via an invoice form from a local reseller. It was quite a saga, but I have been happily hydrating ever since! Lifetime supply, I hope.

The stories are similar but not as crazy with the no-longer-manufactured Men's Adidas Core 15 track pant (small black) and the usually expensive Brondell Swash 1000 Advanced Bidet Toilet Seat (elongated white).

And what software?

I have a pretty standard development stack: the latest Mac OS X, Sublime Text 3, iTerm2, Git, GitHub (including GitHub Pages), Slack, G Suite, PSequel. I use emacs sometimes when I'm operating on a single file at a time or need to use a macro, but Sublime is my go-to editor.

Why not Linux? Mac OS X battery and wifi connectivity are better in my experience. Also, Mac OS X distinguishes between control key vs command key better than Linux, so I can use consistent key bindings throughout the OS. Notably, this includes copy/paste in the terminal and the answer to the next question.

Why not vim? Mostly because I learned emacs first. But also because emacs key bindings for cursor manipulation work in almost all text input forms on the Mac. That is, ctrl-k, ctrl-n, ctrl-e, ctrl-p, ctrl-d... they work in Google Docs, Gmail email editor, iTerm2, Chrome url input, etc. Vim key bindings work in Gmail for multi-selecting emails from a list, so I use them there, but for the most part it seems to me the broader digital world is more emacs-friendly. I map caps lock key to control so that my pinky doesn't get strained.

At Flexport, we use React, React Native, Expo, GraphQL, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Prettier, RuboCop, and many features of AWS. For Map Lamps, I've been using OpenStreetMap, Mapnik, Illustrator, Docker, Shopify, and Autodesk Fusion 360 for CAM drawings.

At the OS level, I use f.lux for blue-light reduction and Spectacle for window management.

For entertainment, I use Spotify, Pinterest, LibriVox, Hacker News, and a variety of health and finance subreddits. I've also recently gotten into the NYT Crossword puzzle app -- quite a challenge!

What would be your dream setup?

For me, the creative process is most rewarding when it's at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds. My current setup is great for digital production, but I have to either outsource or borrow space for physical production. So my dream would be to have a bigger workspace and more tools.

In particular, I'd love a large, bright, quiet indoor studio space adjacent to a heated garage with woodworking and metal fabrication tools. My own laser cutter and CNC router would be amazing, and maybe, somehow, if I achieve perfection in all the other crafts and needed a new form of frustration, a neon shop with a bombarder etc.

I'd want a bathroom in the same complex so I could shower and clean up right away. I hate the feeling of finishing shop work and being gross and sweaty and having to wait 45 minutes to put things into storage and get home to shower.

Ideally this place would be isolated in the middle of the forest with lots of windows and skylights, and also only a short drive from all my friends and family and a hardware store. And of course it would need extremely fast internet. Someday, perhaps!

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