Stuff I Use

I’m always interested in what other people are doing, and the tools they use to do them. Here’s a breakdown of various aspects of my professional life.

Matt Brett's 2020 desk setup

Home Office


Software

  • From day one, I’ve been using Photoshop as my primary design tool. That changed however in 2019, when I decided to give some of the more modern tools a try. I eventually settled on Adobe XD, which has worked extremely well as a design, prototyping, and developer handoff tool at my day job. I still use Photoshop for graphics and Illustrator for vector art and illustrations.
  • On the dev side, I’ve been using the following setup for quite a few years now. My local server is run by MAMP Pro, which also handles local domains. CodeKit compiles everything and helps with debugging. Sublime Text is my main code editor. I use GitHub for version control and issue tracking. xScope is super handy for inspecting and measuring. Sip allows me to grab colours of anything on screen, while Contrast makes sure my colour combinations are accessible.
  • I use Dropbox to keep my working files accessible and backed up at all times, while Backblaze keeps an offsite backup of my entire hard drive. I also use Time Machine for local backups.
  • Todoist has been my GTD app of choice for years, and I also use Notes on a daily basis.
  • Chronicle Pro keeps me from missing bill payments.
  • I don’t know any of my passwords off-hand, thanks to 1Password.
  • Whenever I need to explain how to do something technical to a client, I create a quick screencast with ScreenFlow.
  • At my day job, Slack and Zoom are what we use to communicate.
  • Since Rdio went away, I’ve had a subscription to Spotify and been quite happy with it. I’ve discovered a ton of artists and bands I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to, thanks to its awesome curation.

Website Specifics

  • This site has been running on WordPress since 2004.
  • A couple years ago I moved from an over-priced trendy web host to SiteGround’s Managed WordPress hosting and couldn’t be happier.
  • I recently ditched Google Analytics in favour of the privacy-focused analytics tool, Fathom. It also happens to be cofounded by author and good Canadian fella Paul Jarvis.

Yamaha LL16M acoustic guitar

Yamaha LL16M acoustic guitar headstock

Music

  • I own two acoustic guitars, both are Yamahas. I recently bought an LL16M (natural finish) from a friend, which has quickly become my main workhorse. Previously, I had been playing my AC3M (tobacco brown sunburst) almost daily for a couple years.
  • For live gigs, I play through a Fender Acoustic 100 amp.
  • At one point, I was playing bass in a band and acquired an Epiphone Thunderbird IV Electric Bass (vintage sunburst).
  • Before I picked up the guitar, I was playing percussion in a local band. At the core of my percussion setup was a Gon Bops Alex Acuna Special Edition Cajon.
  • I still have my old drum kit, which is a vintage German-made 1968 Sonor kit handed down from my father. I played Zildjian cymbals, with a mixture of A Custom and Z Custom.

Video Games

  • These days, I spend most of my time gaming on my PlayStation 4 Pro. The Xbox One S is used primarily by my lady for streaming video, and playing LEGO games with the kids. The Nintendo Switch is very much our family-fun console, where we regularly play Mario Kart.
  • For several years, I haven’t spent any time gaming on my MBP or iPhone. I lost interest in mobile games when things shifted to the freemium model. I briefly gave Apple Arcade a try, but found that I would rather spend what little time I have for gaming with a controller in hand, in front of my 55″ TV.