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Life is too short to use shitty tools. I put a lot of thought into choosing the workhorses that will get me through my workday and my life.

Updated: September 18, 2022

Hard tools

  • M1 Macbook Air 2020. This chip with 16 GB is all I need to get all my work done. Even 1080p video editing.
  • Ergodox EZ keyboard. Risk of carpal tunnel is just not worth using a standard keyboard, for the amount that I type. Also the ability to make your own hotkeys is incredible. There is a lot of time wasted just switching your hand from keyboard to mouse and then using the mouse to point and click.
  • Logitech G604 mouse. Made for gamers who want more buttons, but I map the buttons for when I don't want to switch my hand from mouse to keyboard.
  • LG 32UD59-b. A 32" monitor I found used for $400. I like the screen real estate on 4K resolution, but 4K on 27" is too small. I can't go back to 27".  
  • Waterglider Zafu. For meditation. I actually turn this on its side to give it more height, more comfortable for my legs.
  • Kindle Voyage. This is the best e-reader made to date. Fight me on this.
  • Rode NT-USB Mini. If your job depends on people hearing you over a Zoom call, why on Earth would you skimp on audio quality? Much more important than video. I got my mic for $30 used, plus a $20 mini boom arm. Absolutely worth it. If you don't want a mic on your table, get a legit wired headset for $30, and do NOT assume your Bluetooth airpods or headphones are good enough.
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 - this is my shooting camera whenever I shoot. I just love the experience of having my entire exposure triangle as dedicated physical dials and the whole rangefinder aesthetic. I only shoot with primes (56 f/1.2, 23 f/2, 16 f/1.4).

Soft tools

  • OmniFocus 3. Fast keyboard shortcut for quick add, which is missing in Asana. Ability to defer task to later date is a unique feature over Things.
  • Obsidian for notetaking. The hotkeys and extensibility make this all worth it. I used to use Roam but I like owning my own notes and keeping them locally (but synced to iCloud).
  • Brave Browser, Firefox (which is only used for Facebook Marketplace)
  • DuckDuckGo instead of Google.
  • Hazeover. Sometimes we need a subtle nudge to focus on the active window pane.
  • Feedly
  • Magnet
  • GIF Brewery 3
  • f.lux
  • Dozer
  • Ghost

Browser Extensions

  • Pocket. I've tried Instapaper, but the parsing isn't as good (sometimes it does get through paywalls better though). I've tried Feedly but it's just too slow. Pocket is just about the fastest tool for bookmarking, reading, and highlighting all the articles I read. The added bonus is that this syncs with Readwise so I can get my highlights fed in spaced reptition.
  • Bitwarden. Open source, free, cross-platform. There is no need to pay for a password manager. Conceptually, it's one of the simplest software you can make.
  • Roam Highlighter (by – don't get it confused with the other one). Best way to highlight notes from web articles I'm reading, and port them over to my Obsidian. I would otherwise recommend Pocket to highlight, but I have a chrome extension that gets me past a lot of paywalls that I can't get past on Pocket's in-app browser or parser.
  • Language Reactor. This is the best tool for practicing my language listening skills (h/t to my brother who was using this to learn French). It pairs with Netflix so I can watch foreign films with the target language and English subtitle next to each other. There are hotkeys to go back to the last subtitle (instead of going back 15 seconds). There is also an auto-pause function where it pauses at the end of each subtitle for beginners like me.

Behavioral stack

  • Duolingo. $80/year got me to high school level Spanish pretty fast.
  • YNAB. $100/year but it keeps me accountable to every single transaction I make and forces me to justify it.

Other tools

  • Pixelmator Pro. It's a good alternative to Photoshop, and trust me, I have been using Photoshop since version 7.0 when texts could finally become full vectors. The Pro version is $40 for a lifetime, which is the same as Photoshop CC for 4 months.