What do I use?
A list of tools I use daily to work efficiently, stay focused, and keep organized.
The right mix of tools can save you hours a week, or cost you hours. I’m always looking for better ways of doing things and new ways of getting leverage. Here are lists of the hardware, software, and services I use daily.
- Macbook Air 11” with thin padded case and power cord protector
- iPhone with Tech21 case and apps:
- Instapaper – instead of reading everything at the moment, I queue up articles to read later using their bookmarklet and Kindle integration.
- Sleep Cycle to wake me up gently at just the right time
- for Facebook and news, I just use Safari. I want to use Chrome, but Apple insists on Safari as the default browser (reminiscent of Internet Explorer bundling).
- Kindle Paperwhite for carrying around a small library of interesting books and articles. The backlit screen is fantastic in low light. I got the 3G model which has come in handy fetching new books while traveling in the US and abroad, but Wifi-only is sufficient. Integrates with Instapaper.
- Audéo earbuds while working at the computer, expensive but superb sound and snug fit
TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones for listening on the go. Good sound, excellent price, great for commute and cordless jogging
- Chrome web browser with extensions:
- AdBlock to knock out advertisements
- LastPass to keep all my passwords safe, quickly log me into sites, and fill out tedious forms
- Vimium to quickly navigate and search pages without moving to the mouse
- The Great Suspender to suspend and save inactive tabs, saves CPU cycles and memory and battery
- Facebook bookmarklet to share pages with friends and family.
- Overwrite Downloads to avoid accumulating downloads Foo (1), Foo (2), Foo (3), … instead overwrite Foo
- Useful ones that I don’t use as much anymore:
- Spectacle to move and resize windows with hot keys
- MenuMeters to keep an eye on CPU, memory, internet speed, etc.
- AltTab to switch between the individual windows of an application (Mac OSX only lets you switch between full applications with Command+Tab, and Command+` between windows within one application; Witch lets you switch between individual windows in separate applications, just like Windows)
- Airfoil to route Chrome, YouTube, and any audio from my laptop to Bose Airplay speakers
- Caffeine to keep my Mac from going to sleep while I’m presenting or surfing
- F.lux to alter my laptop’s screen colors to the time of day (blue light is bad at night). If you’re on a Chromebook then use G.lux.
- SelfControl (Mac) and ColdTurkey (Win) to keep me off facebook, email, and the news when I need to be productive
- TotalTerminal for quick full-screen access to the command line.
- Emacs/vim/bash/screen/git. Copy my dot files.
- Monolingual to remove unused language files and object code (architectures), eg. you only use English and use a 64-bit Mac so get rid of Russian language files and PowerPC libraries
- AutoRaise moving the mouse over a window gives it focus (no need to click)
- Google Apps - get Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc all using my own domain (jgmalcolm.com)
- Google Apps Scripting lets you write powerful scripts to manage Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc.
- Wikipedia interface tricks to navigate and view images more efficiently
- IFTTT - I use facebook and twitter to share articles with friends and family. IFTTT records all my tweets and facebook posts so I can keep track of interesting articles. It’s also setup to cross post facebook article shares over to twitter, so I don’t have to post to both accounts. I use the Facebook bookmarklet to quickly post.
- post the current page on Facebook or Twitter or send via Gmail
- send this page to Instapaper
- create a blank Google Doc or Sheet in a new tab