Work inspiration with Jacob Gube

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Jacob Gube

Founder of Six Revisions, the co-founder of Design Instruct

I'm Jacob Gube. I'm the founder and chief editor of Six Revisions and the co-founder of Design Instruct, which are sites that publish design and development articles and tutorials for web professionals.

I'm also a web developer.

Technically I'm also a book author, but it's been many years since my last book so it doesn't seem accurate to retain that description any more.

Hardware

Here's a photo of my workstation (sorry it's grainy and the exposure is terrible because I used my camera phone):

Computer

I'll start with the most important piece of hardware that any Web professional will possess: Computer.

My work computer is the first-gen Samsung Series 9 ultrabook. I've had it for years and it still runs great. It's speedy out-of-the-box because of the SSD and 4GB RAM. It's lightweight and extremely portable. I just chuck it in a backpack and I'm ready to go.

I upgraded the RAM to 8GB. This seemed low for me because I previously had 16GB on the machine that was replaced by this laptop, and 8GB seemed like a massive downgrade. But, surprisingly, 8GB was all I needed. I voided the warranty during this process, and it was a bit tricky to do because it's an ultrabook and the internals are laid out to maximize the limited space with little thought towards the possibility the owner might want to tinker with his laptop's hardware.

I don't think I'll be needing an upgrade until this computer breaks.

Prior to this, I always built custom desktop computers for myself. But I decided I didn't need big, immovable hardware anymore after SSD laptops came out.

Monitor

I connect my laptop to a 22-inch Samsung LCD monitor, which I've had since maybe 2008.

This is probably the next thing I'll upgrade once the 4K monitors go down in price (right now, the one I want is out of my price range.).

Keyboard

The keyboard I'm using is the Das Keyboard (Model S Professional).

I got the Das Keyboard close to a year ago. It's still quite enjoyable to use. It's comfortable, it gives you audible, clicky feedback, and it's really great for long coding or writing sessions.

Before this keyboard, I just used any el-cheapo keyboard I could find because I thought spending over $20 on a keyboard was quite absurd. I don't think so any more.

If a piece of hardware can give you joy and can increase your productivity by even just 0.000001%, it'll pay for itself off over its lifetime.

Mouse

My mouse is a gaming mouse: Logitech G5. I've had this forever and it still works perfectly. It's accurate and fast. I have it turned up to the maximum sensitivity setting which helps in design software like Photoshop or Illustrator. Once you get used to it, any other mouse will feel slow and sluggish.

Chair

My work chair is probably the best addition to my workstation, health- and productivity-wise.

According to my doctors and PTs, I have spinal disc herniation as a result of the nature of my work where I'm sitting for 8-14 hours a day in front of the computer.

It is a common condition, 1/3 of adults over 20 years of age apparently have some sort of disc herniation. Many of those who have it don't know they have it because they don't have any symptoms. I'm one of the unlucky ones I guess.

I decided that I needed to have a tool that will help me maintain good posture when sitting down. Heck, at the time, I just needed a chair that I could sit on for more than 5 minutes. After lots of testing, I settled on the Steelcase Leap chair.

Some others I've tried are the Herman Miller Aeron, Herman Miller Mirra, and Herman Miller Embody. Those are also good, but the Steelcase Leap chair worked best for me.

When I was picking chairs, I had terrible pain in my back and leg. I couldn't sit or stand for more than 5 minutes without pain. This in turn greatly affected my productivity and creativity. I just couldn't focus.

And then I sat on a Steelcase Leap chair and I didn't want to stand up and leave the store any more. It felt so comfortable I just wanted to stay there.

So I saved up some money and bought it 2 months later.

I don't have much back pain anymore, and I'd like to think it's the ergonomic work chair that helps me maintain a good neutral spine position even when I'm working for hours on end.

I recommend buying a good work chair if you're a Web professional. It's a good investment towards your physical health and (indirectly) your productivity.

I used to not think twice about the chair I used. Now I'm paying for it with back pain and lots of lost productivity due to my condition.

Pick a chair that's made by a reputable company; a company known for their work and contributions to the ergonomics industry. Most importantly, pick one that feels comfortable. It should help you maintain good posture.

Other things:

Software

I use so many apps, so I had to review my system logs (for desktop apps) and my browsing history (for web apps) to generate an accurate list.

In the last 2 weeks, this is the software I've used to get things done:

  • Dropbox
  • Gmail
  • Google Docs
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator)
  • Brackets
  • Notepad++
  • LastPass
  • 7-Zip
  • putty
  • Git GUI
  • GitHub
  • Google Chrome (primary)
  • Apple Safari (testing)
  • Mozilla Firefox (testing)
  • IE 11 (testing)
  • Google Chrome Developer Tools
  • HootSuite
  • Awesome Screenshots (Google Chrome extension)
  • Visual Website Optimizer

Ideal work environment

My ideal work environment is quiet, like a library.

The environment should be clean and uncluttered. It should not have any distracting elements.

Inspiration

My work inspiration comes from everywhere. Mostly online. Some notable sites:

Admire most

I admire our contributing writers. They come from amazing professional backgrounds, they create innovative products, and work on interesting projects. Yet, somehow, they still find the time to share what they have learned by writing articles for the Six Revisions and Design Instruct audience.