The IT Guy Essentials - Part #2

The IT Guy Essentials - Part #2

In the last part I covered the usual suspects. Things that were more or less expected to be on that type of a list. In this part I'll present things that even I don't expected to show. But over the years those things becomes essentials in my cozy, home office space. Few of them are also useful when I go outside. Like the times I move from home office to the work office and vice-versa.

Dedicated HiFi Music Player and Headphones

Music is very important. So quality of the music is important. And then the quality of amp and headphones is important.

I cover the quality by using Bandcamp and FLAC files. Then to listen to them in adequate quality I'm using FiiO X3 + Grado 80e. This combo is an end game for me. I just can't imagine the better characteristic of a sound on any other systems. But exactly why, you ask?

First of all I like to have a dedicated things to do one job and do it good. More is less, they say. Also I listen to music on the go, on trains, etc. It must be portable. FiiO X3 is no bigger than a mobile phone.

Smooth, warm and crisp sound. I got that from combining legendary Wolfson chip in X3 and the audiophiles loved Grado headphones.

What you may not know is that those headphones needs to brake-in. And it takes a long time to do just by day-to-day usage. It takes me around a year. After that time those same Grado 80e performed many times better. Bass gets deeper and louder and they've got even more warm. That is expected from hi-end gear. But the funny thing is not that this sounds crazy. Imagine that I now needs to buy new headphones. Whatever I would bought (same or better model) it will perform much worse to what I have now. I will need to wait a year to mach (or excels with better model). For that reason I take an extra care of them.

FiiO player has one simple advantage over most of today devices - physical buttons. Never underestimate the power of a button. I can operate it in the pocket. And in the gloves.

Bonus thing from FiiO X3 is that it's also an excellent amp and USB sound card (works in Linux, plug-and-play). I can experience the same sound quality on any PC. And most smaller/cheaper laptops have terrible sound.

40GB of storage, 8 internal plus 32 SD card. It's good enough to store most of the music I own. And there's always a possibility to swap SD cards for much, much more.

If you still think that your phone can do just that, try this kind of player. It will change your headphones from good to "wow".

The only downside is that it can't go to eleven.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one.

Leatherman with Flint and USB Memory

That is a strange mix. Or maybe not? Not for me at last.

I'll start form the most obvious. SanDisk 32GB memory stick. Super fast. I'm a Linux user. I burn so many distros on that stick. It is essential to me today as was the "start disk" floppy in the days.

Computers are made of parts. Screwed. I need a screwdriver with me. I also have pet rats. They like to cut cables all the time. To fix this I need a little scissors or knife. Nails get dirty. Etc. Leatherman micra is small and covers all of those cases and more. I was suspecting that a knife in the pocket will be a thing good to have. What I did not suspect was how often I will borrow it to everybody around me. All the time.

Flint. And steel. Now I can craft a fireplace. But looking more on a real life scenario I did light up a joint few times using this flint. We forgot lighters and were far away from civilization. It saved the day.

Graphic Tablet

I owned Wacom Bamboo (first edition) for as long as it was released. But rescently upgraded to the Pro Mini version. The old one just wear out and become unresponsive. Over the years I use it only few times a month. But when I need it it's right here.


Every time I made some 3D stuff I also need textures. And for that job it's an essential tool.

Flowers texure for Mysthic Treasure Hunt

Last months I got deep into the 3D game desing. And graphic tablet was used daily. Making heightmap using mouse is just impossible hard to do. But with preasure sensitivity it get much easier.

Heightmap from Mysthic Treasure Hunt

Hand writen and drawed ideas

I take GIMP into fullscreen (without any GUI) on a big 40" screen. Then I can easly drawn any ideas and use it as a brainstorming board.

Ideas for a game

Desktop Calculator

Calculator in 2018? In a world full of computers?

Exactly that. It's the same thing like wirst watch vs phone, gamepad vs touch and books vs epaper. Both have much better alternative but some people just like the old versions.

Casio MS-208

I found using real, physical calculator while coding is easier and less distraction than using one on the screen. And the answer is always there. I don't need to use alt+tab few times (if number is huge).

Bonus thing is the buttons. Using computer cursor for same task is just slow and pathetic.