Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Nikita Prokopov

Nikita Prokopov

Software developer

in developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Nikita Prokopov, I'm a software developer from Russia. As with any software developer, my hobbies include computers, software, hardware, but also design, cinema and even illustration. I also occasionally blog about software and about UX. And watch a lot of movies too. I mean, a lot.

What hardware do you use?

13" MacBook Pro (early 2015) — perfect form factor, not so good performance.

My monitor is a Dell P2415Q, a 24" 4K display which occasionally gives me headaches, but when it works the image is perfect. I've realised I can't look at non-retina displays anymore.

My keyboard is a Microsoft Sculpt which is surprisingly ergonomic and very good for my hands. Looks nice too. I only wish it was mechanical.

I use an old Magic Trackpad which still does the job just fine. I'm so used to trackpads I can't imagine why people would voluntarily choose mice over them. But only Apple trackpads count - all Windows ones are plain terrible.

For illustration I have the 12.9" iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. 13 inches turns out to be a bit bigger than I'd like, so I guess Steve Jobs was right all along, and 10" is a perfect size for a tablet.

My phone is an old Nexus 5X, which is almost unusable with today's apps, either because of storage size (16 GB is NOT enough anymore) or performance. I hope it dies any time soon so I can justify buying something newer.

My go-to headphones are wireless Bose QuietComfort 35's, which are fantastic for when you need to concentrate or you're just tired of noise from a plane or train. Works seamlessly with both the MacBook and the Nexus.

For entertainment I'm super happy with the Nintendo Switch, which has a multitude of great games, and a Xgimi H1 LED projector. Much bigger image than any TV would give you, perfect for immersive experiences.

And what software?

Big ones: VS Code for coding. GitKraken for version control. iA Writer for notes and drafts (yes, I'm writing this in iA Writer). Chrome for browsing, although I'd love to move away from it some day - unfortunately everything else is either slow or unreliable. Dropbox for files. Figma for design. It works way better for me than Sketch, and has much more advanced functions and interactions, UX-wise. On the iPad I use ProCreate for illustration almost exclusively.

Smaller ones: Spectacle for window management. Karabiner Elements and Ukelele to adjust my own keyboard layout. Tomato One for Pomodoro. Noizio for generating white noise while I'm working. I used to use f.lux but newer macOSes have its functions built-in.

I use my own tools too: Fira Code is my go-to coding font, AnyBar is my go-to status indicator.

Nice to haves: Shush for conference calls. HandBrake for occasional video re-encoding. InsomniaX for those rare occasions when I need my Mac not to sleep for some reason. Day-O because yes, I believe when you click on your date/time clock in the macOS status bar you shold see a small calendar for the current month. Oh! And Wallcat for a new desktop wallpaper every day.

What would be your dream setup?

6-core i9 in a 13" MacBook Pro shell with 120Hz refresh rate & wide color gamut. I'm happy if it only had integrated video though. But it must have MagSafe, not USB, for power.

An 32:9 ultrawide external retina display. I'm even willing to power it with three Thunderbolt cables, just give me one.

Split ortholinear mechanical keyboard (Let's Split or Iris seem fine, and yes, I've already ordered one).

iPad mini-sized Magic Trackpad with Apple Pencil support.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.