Benjamin Chodoroff's blog

Whenever I start pairing with someone new, we just about always end up teaching new things to each other. These little tricks end up being recorded in my dotfiles repo, which is a huge pile of spaghetti that is not meant to be useful for anyone besides me. I’ve kept it under git revision control since 2012. It is what it is.

But I often want to share little bits of my setup with people - in this post, I’m going to give some of my favorite things in my dotfiles.



On Ubuntu, here are some neat programs I end up installing on every new system:

openssh-server # I'll almost always want to be able to ssh into my own laptop
kitty # This is an amazing terminal emulator. I love it.
vim-nox # A nice baseline vim, has everything I need to support my collection of plugins
htop # Replacement for top
bwm-ng # Easy way to monitor network throughput
gnome-tweak-tool # Lets you remap caps lock to ctrl, among other things
ctags-exuberant # Used by ctrl-p vim plugin
direnv # Automatically instantiate env vars, per directory
tmuxinator # I only just started using tmuxinator to automate tmux setup for each of my projects
# I also keep a running list of dependencies that I need for whatever projects I have to build frequently


On MacOS, I install Homebrew and then do:

brew install bash go pinentry-mac coreutils git curl tmux vim java htop bwm-ng mailhog ctags tmuxinator

Config on MacOS

Display: I always turn off font smoothing, and choose the middle option for “Scaled” - it takes a little more screen real estate, but your eyes don’t get as sore.

I could not survive withuot the haptic touchbar utility - it makes the trackpad click when you hit the escape key.

Both OSes

Non-apt/homebrew-installable tools include:

For asdf, i just keep a script like this that I copy/paste to run:

git clone ~/.asdf --branch v0.7.8
asdf plugin-add erlang
asdf plugin-add elixir
asdf install erlang
asdf local erlang
asdf install elixir 1.10
asdf local elixir 1.10

#  Nodejs stuff
asdf plugin add nodejs
bash -c '${ASDF_DATA_DIR:=$HOME/.asdf}/plugins/nodejs/bin/import-release-team-keyring'
asdf install nodejs
asdf plugin-add yarn
asdf install yarn
yarn config set prefix ~/.yarn # ensures programs added with `yarn global add` will be available in PATH


I use vim as a text editor. For plugin management, I use pathogen because it works just fine. I add new plugins as subtrees in my dotfiles repo.

Here are my plugins, replete with some salesforce and PHP-related relics:

alchemist.vim           typescript-vim           vim-lsc
ctrlp.vim               vim-abolish             vim-fugitive            vim-mix-format
dart-vim-plugin         vim-colors-solarized    vim-gitgutter           vim-prettier
delimitMate             vim-elixir              vim-gutentags           vimproc.vim
php.vim                 vim-endwise             vim-js-pretty-template
tsquyomi                vim-flagship            vim-jsx-pretty

Some interesting tidbits from my vimrc:


I can’t believe I stuck with screen for so long. Tmux is great. I use this guy’s tmux config with very few customizations.

Dotfile management

I use dfm and it is perfectly fine - it uses symlinks, and can deal with having only certain git-managed files in a directory like ~/.config. It’s good. I have no reason to change.


I used to use Consolas but now I use Firacode.

Cool .bashrc things


Put this in ~/.curl_stat_format:

    time_namelookup:  %{time_namelookup}\n
       time_connect:  %{time_connect}\n
    time_appconnect:  %{time_appconnect}\n
   time_pretransfer:  %{time_pretransfer}\n
      time_redirect:  %{time_redirect}\n
 time_starttransfer:  %{time_starttransfer}\n
         time_total:  %{time_total}\n

and then you can do alias curltimer='curl -w "@$HOME/.curl_stat_format" -o /dev/null -s' for a nice quick benchmarking tool. Combine this with sed, bc, for loops, etc and make your own ab :)

Elixir with history

alias iex='iex --erl "-kernel shell_history enabled"' gives your repl shell history.


Wow, I haven’t really looked at my dotfiles in a while! This feels like a healthy thing to do every once in a while. Now that I’ve written down the foundations, any future dotfile-related posts can be a little more bite-sized.

Thanks for reading. Email me at ben at falafelcopter dot com.