Personal Tech Stack – Part 2
Personal Tech Stack – PART 2
Part 1 detailed the hardware that I use every day. You can read it here.
Part 2 is a listing of the services, applications, and extensions that I use to increase my productivity and make my life easier. Well, sometimes it makes things harder. Does anyone want to guess how much time I've spent trying to find the perfect to-do list app? (Cue the hysterical laughter of hardcore pen and paper adherents)
- Evernote. Let's just get this out of the way upfront as we are all on the constant search for the ultimate method to take and keep notes. I was an early adopter of Evernote but left when they socked us with a significant subscription fee increase a few years back. Then I spent years wandering in the wilderness experimenting with about every note-taking application available. Google Keep, OneNote, Joplin, Apple Notes, Bear, SimpleNote, and the list could go on. Last year, I broke down and paid Evernote's ransom demand because it is the best. At least for me.
- Dropbox. Same story as Evernote. I've tried other services and dropbox just works. I still have accounts and keep storage in Onedrive, iCloud, Box, and a few others, but Dropbox is my main cloud drive.
BitWarden. Probably the most frequent question I'm asked is, “What password manager do you suggest?”. I used Lastpass for years and was happy with it until they rearranged their fee schedule and limited the number of devices you can link on the free tier. Password managers are not that complicated, technically, and don't deserve some of the extravagant fees they demand. Bitwarden is open source, easy to use, and is free.
Brave. The second most frequent question I'm asked is what web browser do I suggest. Brave is chromium-based so you get many of the benefits of Chrome without the evilness of Google. Brave is privacy-focused and blocks ads and trackers by default. And best of all, Chrome extensions work on Brave.
– Brave Extensions:
– SingleFile: Download any webpage as a single HTML file
– Tab Resize: Easily split your screen within the browser
– Kopier: Store commonly used links within the browser and easily copy them when needed
– ZeroBlur: Easily blur parts of your browser screen when recording or screen sharing
– Evernote Webclipper: Save web items and clips directly to your Evernote storage
Signal. Out of convenience, most of my messaging comes through iMessage but I use Signal when I want to make sure that my communications are secure. And you should too.
Zettlr. I like to write in Markdown. Zettlr provides markdown support, themes, tagging, multi-directional linking of notes, full-text search, and exports to over 35 different formats. It's an awesome writing tool. Marktext is nice also but not nearly as robust as Zettlr.
Atom: When I have to get dirty and write some code or break someone else's working code (which is more likely) I use the Atom editor.
Monoline. I used to send emails and text messages to myself when I wanted to quickly note something for later. Now when I need to remember a web link, email address, a snippet of code, etc... I just drop into monoline. It's exactly like sending yourself a text message and you can access it from any device.
Loom. Record just your screen, record your screen and your voice, or record your screen, voice, and webcam. And then easily share it.
Calendly. Ask to schedule a call or meeting with me and I'll send you my Calendly link. Calendly saves us three or four emails as we do the awkward “when are you free”?” scheduling dance.
VPN. NordVPN. It's based in Panama and claims to keep no logs. I've tried PIA, ExpressVPN, and a few others but none have proven to be as reliable as Nord. And by reliable, I mean constant connection, fast transfer speeds, and the least amount of Captcha challenges.
Apple macOS specific:
- Alfred 4. I don't have enough space to adequately explain this app. If you use a Mac and aren't using Alfred then you're only half as productive as you should be. Universal search, hotkeys, text expansion, and custom workflows. Even if you only use the free version you'll significantly improve the efficiency of your Mac.
- Airbuddy. A nice little tool to assist with pairing your AirPods to your Mac.
- Apple Mail. I've tried other email applications and I keep coming back to the stock app.
- Bartender. Easily manage all of the items displayed on the menu bar. You don't think you need something like this until you use it.
- CopyClip. Master the clipboard manager. Having the ability to look back through your history and paste something you grabbed 25 copies ago is a definite time-saver.
- Shottr. Screenshot and editor tool that lives in the menu bar.
The struggle continues:
Task applications: Much like the note-taking applications, I've pretty much gone through them all. I've been using the ToDoist for a while but it doesn't satisfy me. I'm experimenting with Taskflow right now also. Meh. We'll see.
Weather: I use DarkSky now but I'm always looking for the next best thing.
Calendar app: I don't have enough time and you don't have enough attention...