My Kitlist: A Working Guide to my Life

2017-10-21 16:20:00 Views: 840

I'm on a train to london right now. I only have a backpack with clothes for 1 night, but yet I still have access to all my schoolwork from the past 3 years.

I've had a fully digital workflow since Y13, and I have to thank my tech for that:

In this post, I'm going to cover my setup for each, for posterity (and bragging).

Surface Pro 4

I've been wrestling with my Surface for a while now: on the one hand, it's a beautiful device, and the crux of my workflow. I hand-write my notes on here, type my code, download lecture slides, watch youtube, etc, etc. But on the other hand, it's very Microsoft. Putting Ubuntu on this thing is a nightmare, and even after compiling my own kernel, I still can't reach 100% functionality. Yet, it's "good enough", with a few software tweaks (except when Microsoft decides to release firmware updates and brick my device >:( )

The general flow: A custom-patched Xournal (dubbed Tournal) for handwritten notes, synced to a Dropbox folder. Export to PDF, email or print as necessary for hand-ins and deadlines, and scan marked work back in using my portable scanner. Unfortunately, this last step still needs Windows: the scanning drivers on Linux have terrible colour-correction support, making my scans look pink.

I log in to my laptop using Pico. This generally lets me get to my Ubuntu desktop without typing a password, when it works. Recently, I've also been seeing what place a tool like telepad has: for example, in capturing screenshots when my surface is in tablet mode and I don't have a keyboard. Telepad can also be useful for playing/pausing films when my laptop is connected to my projector.

Nexus 4

My friend even when my beloved laptop is far away: she was old when I got her, but still an excellent machine.

My phone very much acts as a hub, and a bridge between my laptop and my watch. Although I do have an excessive screen-on time, must of the stuff I actually do happens on one of the other interfaces by default: email, laptop. IM, laptop. Work, laptop. Timers, notifications: watch.

At the same time, my phone is a crucial and often utilised 2nd-choice for me. I can't have my laptop on me 24/7 in the way I can have my phone.

In addition, my phone serves as my financial hub: I use Monzo and Starling, app-only banks. I pay almost exclusively by Android Pay, and only carry cash on rare occasions. It's so freeing to only have keys and phone, without a wallet to worry about.

Most of my other crucial apps relate to either schoolwork or watch: Dropbox and XOJTools for editing work on the go; Pebble, a custom Pebble Notification Centre, and a bunch of other Pebble apps to offload the battery strain from my phone to my watch

Pebble Time

The poor CompSci's watch of choice, my pebble time is a constant companion. As I sit here, my phone is in my bag, but I'm controlling the music in my (wireless) earphones from my watch. That's what I mean when I say my phone is mostly a 'hub': It acts to connect my other devices together

A lot of the stack on my watch, like on my laptop, is now my own customised version. That's the Pebble way. My watchface is coded from scratch to display a selection of images, a large clock, and YYYY-MM-DD formatted date (is anything else even an option?)

I use a custom fork of Pebble Notification Centre for Android by matteo, to add some missing features and some UI fixes that bugged me. It's really perfect, and almost doesn't make me wish I had an Android Wear device instead.

I have a few more things I'd like to implement for my watch: for example, a remote control for my Surface that works with Linux. If I could do some basic I/O from my watch, I'd be a happy bunny. I'd also love to implement a video player, just for fun.


The newest addition to my workflow, a wireless portable projector. I use it as a secondary display while coding, and for some intense media consumption.

Unfortunately, there's still no working miracast servers for Linux, so my use of the projector is exclusively from my phone or from Windows; regardless, it works quite well. In addition, there's an SD card slot, and an HDMI port (which doesn't seem to like my miniDisplayPort adapter for my Surface :/)


Wow, what a nerd. I haven't covered the basic stuff unless in passing: Bluetooth speakers and headphones, wireless chargers, and, in experimentation, a Google Cardboard.

Regardless, I think I've accumulated a good collection over the years, which, although it doesn't interface perfectly a-la Apple, I'm working on it, and the functionality spread is much wider.

What's next? I think my general upgrade plan, for the far future, is a watch upgrade, then a phone upgrade. Before I upgrade my phone, I'd like a watch that does NFC payments. Then, I can load custom ROMs and extend the life of my current phone. My next phone will probably be a Samsung Note: but who knows how old it will be when I get it this time?! My laptop doesn't need upgrading: in fact, I would quite appreciate not upgrading and instead getting a fully-featured kernel for the SP4.

(what a blog post. is that how those things go? who knows).