Saravanan Sivaraman’s Mac and iPhone setup

Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

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Who are you and what do you do?

I am Saravanan, an IT Recruiter based out of Bangalore, India. I work at an IT staffing firm focused on lateral hiring for product-based IT companies. I write my own personal blog and you can find me literally everywhere on the web as @simplysaru. I am an amateur cyclist on the weekends and I race for a local cycling team in Bangalore.

What is your current setup?

Saravanan's desk

I currently I use a stock 15” MacBook Pro retina (late 2013). India is still not able to order a custom Mac yet, hence the stock configuration. Music streams to a Denon cocoon DSD 500 in the hall via Airplay, and I use the Jabra Halo wireless headset sometimes while watching movies on the Mac. My wallpaper was something from a Google search over a year back. I don’t remember where exactly I got it from, but now you can get it here. I use the same desk and chair that my dad used during his workdays. The gym ball becomes a chair when I am at my desk for long hours.

Saravanan's desk

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

Over the past five months I have picked up the Dvorak keyboard layout and now it is my default keyboard layout on the Mac.

Safari: I spend almost all day on the interwebs for work and otherwise. My work hours mostly require me to be on LinkedIn and job portals trying to connect with potential candidates and clients. I am yet to see a browser that displays content as elegantly as Safari does, and hence it is my default browser.

Microsoft Office: What can I say, work needs it and I have to use it. I am not much of a fan of the Office apps on the Mac, but live with it. They are a lot better on Windows. Outlook handles my office mail and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint is used when I have to access work-related documents. I don’t use iWork for work documents to avoid formatting and compatibility issues with clients.

MailMate: My email client of choice for personal email, despite the not-so-great UI. I love the search capabilities, keyboard navigation, live Markdown preview while composing a new mail, menu bar counters, and the various integrations (Evernote, OmniFocus, etc.).

RescueTime: Always connected to the internet means it’s always possible to overspend time on social media. I have been tracking time for over 3 years now. Reviewing where I am spending my time keeps me focused. I review my weekly hours on the weekends for about 30 minutes.

OmniFocus: I started over a year ago on GTD and am slowly getting the hang of it. OmniFocus ensures I stay on top of my tasks rather than the other way around.

ReadKit: I subscribe to a lot of Apple-focused blogs and independent writers. ReadKit does a great job at syncing with my Fever account, which is hosted on the same server as my blog.

Hazel: Hazel rules watch my downloads folder and automatically moves the documents (mostly resumes) into a separate work folder.

ControlPlane: A set of predetermined rules ensure I don’t have to open/close apps when I reach home or my office. All work-related apps are closed when I connect to my home Wi-Fi and vice-versa.

Contexts: Window management is a lot better with Contexts than with the finder. I just press Cmd + Tab and type a number to get to the window from a list of 15-20 open windows.

1Password: Nothing beats this for password management. A true gem of software worth recommending to anybody.

Alfred: I prefer using the keyboard more than the trackpad for everything. Some workflows are a must have for me.

TextExpander: Inserts my regular email templates when needed and makes work emails feel less repetitive.

Fantastical: The menu bar icon is super handy and adding appointments never felt easier.

Byword: My Markdown editor of choice for anything that goes into my blog.

Day One: There is nothing out there that can do journaling this well besides pen and paper.

GoldenCheetah: For analysing performance after a run/ride/race.

Garmin Express: For syncing my run/ride details from the Garmin Edge 500 /Forerunner 305 to Garmin Connect.

Little Snitch ensures I don’t waste bandwidth when I am tethered to my phone.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I am pretty happy with the setup I have. I may add a secondary retina display if Apple makes one.


What iPhone do you have?

Saravanan's iPhone 6 Plus

I have a white iPhone 6 Plus (16GB).

Two main reasons for picking the 6 Plus were its camera and battery life. The extra battery juice is always welcome in India where cellular connectivity is not the best. I have fairly large hands and hence the screen size isn’t much of an issue. I wanted the 64 GB model, but in India they were so overpriced that I could have a bought a 13” MacBook air instead. I still have about 4 GB of space at any point in time, but the camera is so great you could just fill up the free space with 15 minutes of HD video. I do use two iTunes store accounts on the phone. One US store account for trying apps available only in the US store and another Indian store account which is the primary account.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

My most used apps are WhatsApp, Launch Center Pro, Strides, and FastMail.

I use Launch Center Pro for speed-dial and handy workflows, Strides for tracking habits, FastMail for checking personal email, and WhatsApp for texting.

Almost all apps on the home screen are used at least once every day. I sometimes play Threes! when I have some leisure time.

Which app could you not live without?

1Password would be the app without which life would be very miserable.


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