Inspired by a post on, I consider to publish my setup on daily life.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Mingshen Sun, I am a PhD student in The Chinese University of Hong Kong. My research interest is smartphone security. I am focusing on Android security and malware detection. My usual study include research study, attending lectures, teaching tutorials and responsible for class office hours.

In my research area, I should come up new ideas to detect malware and eliminate the spreading of suspicious applications. Our basic method is on malware disassembling and dynamically running. I use science methodology such data mining or machine learning to assist my research and prove the effectiveness. On daily life, I always utilize efficient tools to help me quickly finish the work and enjoy the life. At last, I am a heavy user of Python. So treat me in the pythonic way.

What hardware do you use?

PC: Dell OptiPlex Bussiness Desktop Computer (Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2400 CPU @ 3.10GHz 3.10GHz, 4.00GB RAM). This is the office computer. I think it's enough for my study and current research. I am satisfied with the 23-in LCD screen. Although it is tiny compared with 27-in iMac, I can tackle the basic tasks on the screen easily at least.

Laptop: HP Elite 6930p with Logitech M215 wireless mouse. I should admit that the laptop is old enough that it takes 5 minuets to start a Windows. I am glad to recommend you my last laptop - Lenovo X200. The portability and usability is fascinated. In particular, the keyboard of X200 is the best keyboard I have ever used.

Mobile: Motorola (not smartphone, old style, 256bit screen and better phone function and battery performance). You may ask why a smartphone researchers uses an old, simple mobile. Frankly speaking, because it is simple enough. Someone always ask me to recommend a smartphone as a smartphone researcher. I strongly advice an elegant Android phone - Meizu MX2.

Kindle: Kindle Paperwhite. This is my first Kindle. The reading experience on Kindle is more convenient than any other tablets. The point is Paperwhite have background light and this is a big improvement for the people like reading at night. Design for me ^_^.

Miscellaneous: I use Lamy Safari pen.

And what software?

Operating System: Windows 7 for office and Ubuntu 12.04 for research. Windows is the most popular OS in China, I have to use it to handle office affairs or buying things on the Internet. For Ubuntu, the reason why I do not choose other Linux distribution is the apt in Ubuntu or Debian benefits me a lot. I have tried other Linux distributions for my research like Fedora and CentOS, it turns out more and more utilities can be only used on Ubuntu. You need to configure something especially for other distributions.

Editor: Vim on Linux, Sublime Text or Notpad++ on Windows, 010Editor when study some binary files. Vim is a Swiss Army Knife of code editor in the world. I think I don't need to say more about Vim. Also I have my own vimrc hosed on GitHub. I have tried Emacs, but I really cannot adapt to it. At last few years, Notpad++ is the best editor on Windows. When the Sublime comes to me, I realize that I miss this editor for years. Sublime have represented Notepad++ as my first editor in Windows. It's so clean and simple that I can concentrate myself to the codes. Meanwhile, there are no big improvements of Notpad++. So I drop it. 010Editor is the one which I find when I did research on the dex file which runs on Dalvik Virual Machine. The templates for binary file is a great tools for me to discern the meaning of each byte of the binary codes.

IDE: Eclipse. I don't really use IDE in my research. That's because I prefer writing codes on the simple editor. However, when writing some projects of Android or JavaEE web sites, Eclipse help me a lot. Certainly, MyEclipse is a better choice if you are constructing website using JavaEE.

Miscellaneous: I use Internet Download Manager to download software. However there are some famous downloader in China whose function is pretty good but the user interface is so terrible. Chrome is my first choice of Internet browser. It's so clean like my style. The extension is helpful such as: AdBlock, Evernote Wep Clipper, Google Mail Checker, Google Task, Send to Kindle, Douban FM, etc. Evernote is a good tools to write down notes in research. Also you can clip the useful article to repository. Dropbox help me cloud the files and I always install dropbox client on all my devices. I use XMind to draw a mind map helping me brain storming.

What would be your dream set up?

My dream set up should be "minimumism".

  • Apple iMac
  • Apple MacBook Air
  • Lenovo X230
  • Apple iPhone
  • Apple iPad
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Nexus
  • Nike Airforce 1