Here's another episode in my "work workstation" series of posts about setting up my new computer for work, and related thoughts on evolving computer setups. First, some history:
My tendency and leading desire is to make my working environment as consistent as possible. For a long time I was a one-laptop, kind of guy. I had a PowerBook, it did everything just the way I wanted it to, and when ever I needed to do something digitally, I had my computer with me, and I didn't have to worry about other people's computers being configured wrong. It meant that I worked better/smarter/more effectively, and I was happy.
When the PowerBook died, particularly as "my work" became intertwined with my computer, it became clear that I needed a bit more: a computer I could stretch out on, both in terms of things like media (music/video/etc) and in terms of screen space. Concurrently, I also discovered/became addicted to the Awesome window manager, and this has been a great thing for how I use computers, but the end result of this transition was that I had to manage (and needed to use) a couple of machines on a fairly regular basis.
Basically I have a set of applications and tools that all of my systems have installed on them, either their configurations are all standard or I store a copy of the configuration file in a git repository that I link all of the machines to. My work is all stored in git repositories that I sync between machines as needed. It works pretty well, and it means that aside from hardware constraints its not so much that I have multiple machines, as it is that I have different instances of the same machine.
Next: the implications...
I think above all, I'm a Unix guy. UNIX is a modular system that I would describe as being based on a certain kind of modularity, I've also worked out practices for myself that allow me to keep my application configurations synced between machines. Most of the time configurations don't change, but sometimes they do, and when that happens all I have to do is sync up a git repository.
The second implication is that I set up and work with my systems with some notion of stability. While I must confess that I'm not entirely pleased with the way ubuntu has my system desktop and laptop running, it is stable and reliable, and I'm wary of changing things around for a setup that would be functionally more or less the same, but a bit more parsimonious on the back end. I maybe be a huge geek and a hacker type, but I'm a writer and reader first, and although while I'm blathering on about my setup it might seem like all I do is tweak my systems, the writing and reading are really more "my thing."