I've been talking in fairly abstract terms about this new workstation that I've been setting up, and about how this fits into the general ethos of my existing hardware setup, but I think, it's probably the right time to interject and clarify some of the choices and base-assumptions that I've made during this process.
My current systems (hardware):
A moderately powered dual-monitor workstation (ubuntu-from-Dell, circa October 2008) that's running Ubuntu for the moment (probably move to arch or Debian in the next few months.) This was my work computer during the freelance period.
A thinkpad x41t (vintage 2005); 1.4 GHZ pentium M (?); 1.5 gigs of ram; 60gb hard drive, running ubuntu with the lenny kernel. This is my main personal computer at the moment, as I haven't gotten the desktop setup yet. It's a great machine, but I do feel a bit cramped on it for heavy day-to-day useage, it's great for distraction free writing, and portability.
(The work computer) A contemporary vintage iMac running OS X 10.5 latest, and also running Arch Linux in Sun's VirtualBox system.
(The infrastructure) Debian based virtual server(s), to provide my own personal cloud (web hosting, git hosting, file syncing, remote shell access, email).
My current systems (software; but application centered):
Email: I use mutt for reading email, compose emails in emacs, sort email using procmail, download email using fetchmail (if neccessary), but mostly keep mail synchronized using my own git-mail scripts. For sending email and smtp connectivity I use msmtp, and I suppose I'm using postfix on the server as well.
Text Editing: I use emacs23 (still the CVS/development/snapshot branch) of emacs (stable is v22). I use 23 because I like the emacs-daemon functionality, and it's pretty damn stable. I have aquamacs installed under OS X for the moment, but I'll probably install 23 soon, because it's quirky.
Personal Organization: org-mode, which is technically included in emacs (and I use whatever the stock version in 23 is, these days.) I use org-mode for managing my todo lists, shopping lists, project planning and appointments.
Web Browsing: I use firefox with hit-a-hint, and emacs-key-bindings (firemacs) on linux systems, as I wait for the day when good functional web-kit based browsers begin to become a possibility.
IM/IRC/Chat: mcabber for IM (running ejabberd on my server with the pyaimt transport), and irssi for IRC.
Linux Distribution: Debian stable on servers; Ubuntu-mostly on desktops with a desire to move to ArchLinux for desktop use. I love debian, but I think for my desktop-use purposes I cant find a setup that I'm comfortable with, and while ubuntu is great (and I'm glad it works so well with my laptop;) it's a bit heavy and makes assumptions that I'm not comfortable with. Alas.
That's what I'm working with. Just so you know. The mocking can begin now.