Matt Gauger

Matt Gauger

Hacker, cyclist, vegan

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Matt Gauger, and I’m a geek. I’m also currently a college student, a freelance developer for hire, an avid cyclist, a boyfriend, and a human being.

In the past I’ve worked at a Java consulting shop pleasing clients and writing neat code, and have also been a professional snow-shoveler. I volunteer my time and my skills to local nonprofits, helping them with their computer networks and websites. I also spend time fixing bikes at the the Milwaukee Bicycle Collective.

I’m a part of Milwaukee’s awesome tech scene and am involved in Web414 and BarCampMilwaukee. I’ve also started MKE Hacker House, which I’d like to make a regular self-sufficient event in Milwaukee.

In my free time, my hobbies include playing guitar, building robots, screen-printing, brewing strong coffee, building and riding fixed gear bicycles, mathematics, reading several books at once, and using Twitter constantly.

What hardware are you using?

I currently have an Apple Macmini (1.86Ghz Intel Core Duo) as my desktop, running Snow Leopard. It is connected to an old Samsung 17” LCD monitor and a 500Gb Seagate FreeAgent drive, an aluminum Apple (wired) keyboard, and an old Microsoft wireless mouse. I use ancient Yamaha computer speakers that date back to my parent’s Pentium 166Mhz Packard Bell.

Most of the time, though, I am on my 12” Apple Powerbook G4. Some say this is the best laptop ever made, and I would agree with them. Mine has the 1.5Ghz PowerPC processor, 1.25gigs of RAM, a 60Gb hard drive, and a replacement battery that powers it for around 3 hours from full charge. It runs Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard because Snow Leopard doesn’t support PowerPC processors. I use my Powerbook as both a dev machine (this site and my blog were designed exclusively on it) and in a netbook web-browsing capacity, but unfortunately Flash just doesn’t have very good PowerPC support anymore, so my web browsing is restricted.

I’ve used a ZeroShock sleeve since I got my Powerbook, and I love it. My latest laptop bag is a LowePro backpack that I got for nearly free at a local Half Price books.

I ride a white EighthInch fixed gear bike that I built from parts. The frame is Cromoly steel, providing a comfortable ride. I prefer it over any other bike, but I ride a beater mountain bike in the winter to keep the EighthInch from rusting away.

And what software?

I recently went through a paring-down process with my software. Most of the time, I’m looking at Chrome on the Macmini and Firefox on the Powerbook.

Other daily software includes iTunes,,, for FTP, and to play all sorts of media.

I split text editing duties between TextMate and MacVim. I have used Unix/Linux for nearly a decade, so I tend to fall back to the bash shell for almost everything. I use the git version control system to watch over my projects, and currently code primarily in Ruby and Javascript/jQuery. I use when I need to do some Drupal or PHP/MySQL work locally.

After being a fervent Quicksilver user, I switched to Google Quick Search, but ended up removing both. I’ve also disabled both Growl and the Dashboard on both machines. As for the Dock, I hide it off to the side, don’t keep any icons in it permanently, and keep it as small as possible.

Online, I use Google Apps and GMail to manage my life. Google Docs holds all my documents for both work & school, and tracks other random things like my cycling mileage and my budget. Google Calendar knows where I am (or am supposed to be) all the time. I run GMail Tasks in their own browser tab using the fullscreen UI. I can easily turn email from GMail into a task and all the due dates from that show up on my Google Calendar. I’m really happy with how Google’s apps integrate with each other and help run my life. I’d be lost without them.

What would be your dream setup?

I have to admit that I prefer a laptop over a desktop computer. But I also carry 10 pounds of textbooks and notes regularly and ride my bike a lot — crashing could be fatal to a fragile laptop. It seems likely that I’d destroy a Macbook Air, which is why I’m hesitant to save up for one.

So my dream setup would be built around a unibody white plastic Macbook, which is relatively light and rather durable. In a perfect dream, Apple would have released a quadcore 4Ghz Macbook with 16gigs of RAM and a 256Gb SSD standard, and the battery would last days without requiring me to get the charger out of my bag. An nVidia super-GPU would give me access to several thousand cores through OpenCL to play with, and accelerate Snow Leopard and apps like crazy. The 13” screen and full size keyboard will be very similar to my trusty old Powerbook.

When I got home, I’d keep my Apple aluminum keyboard, add an Apple Magic Mouse, and connect the laptop to a 24” Apple Cinema display. I’d store media on a Drobo S outfitted with 5x 2Tb drives (roughly 9Tb usable) and backup the laptop itself to a 1Tb Time Capsule. I’d prefer this one-machine setup over having a dedicated desktop and a dedicated laptop to switch between.

Software isn’t perfect either. I’d like to see the next few iterations of Google Chrome bring us a faster and more stable browsing experience. It’s already well on its way. Full support of HTML5’s features in browsers would bring us a richer browsing experience and allow for much more interesting client side applications to be written.

I still haven’t found a text editor that clicked for me, even though I’ve gone to the trouble to learn several. I’d like a Mac text editor that surpasses TextMate: I want it to be out of my way, extremely fast, simple, and have plugins for everything I need, yet be standard in behavior across all those plugins (as opposed to the many disparate TextMate bundles.) And not be an IDE. IDEs get in my way too much.

With my dream setup, I’d ride a Geekhouse Rockcity fixed-gear bike, because they’re made in Boston, Massachusetts by hand and the company’s name is awesome.

Lastly, I’d like an iPhone 3GS. I don’t have one yet, and they seem pretty decent to me. It is the AT&T side of things that seems to be broken currently.

Question format and CSS borrowed from The Setup under the Attribution-Share Alike license. Photos subject to their own copyright/licenses.