Some of the tools I use to get work done & have some fun. A few things have changed so check them out below.
(Updated October 9, 2021)
I decided to go all-laptop and see if I like using just one computer at home and on the road (whenever that happens again). Gave the iMac to my son for virtual school and now I’m using the 13″ MacBook Pro exclusively.
• Apple 2020 13″ MacBook Pro – Quad Core, 10th Gen i7, 1 TB SSD, 16GB RAM. So cool. Of course, now I want an M-1 MacBook Pro. But I can wait. Besides, I ended up getting an M1 MacBook Air for my wife to use (and me to test out), so that’s something at least.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro – Upgraded from the iPhone XR, mostly because of the new camera setup. It’s a nice phone. It’s a bit smaller than the XR, which was sorta weird at first. Now I’m used to it and, as I suspected, the camera is pretty great.
I’ll probably use this for another year (at least) and then upgrade when the “newer” new iPhones eventually drop. Maybe iPhone 14? Who knows? Although, I do have my eye on the recently available iPhone 13 Pro. We’ll see.
• Apple iPad – I use this for a lot of things, but mostly for consuming media and apps like YouTube, HBOMax, Disney+, etc. Was considering an upgrade to the iPad Pro but opted for the MacBook Pro instead. In truth, with the 13″ MacBook Pro being so portable, I don’t really see a reason for the iPad Pro.
• Olympia SM3 – Yes, I also use a typewriter. This one was made in West Germany (in the early 50’s) and, after a bit of TLC, works great.
• Smith Corona Silent Super – My other favorite typewriter. Just like Mom used to have, except mine isn’t pink (aka Coral) like hers. I learned to type on one of these, with her help. Thanks Mom.
If you haven’t tried a typewriter before, do it. You just might love it.
• Logic Pro X – I’m podcasting and recording audio so I need a way to record, edit, enhance and output the final audio files. So, Logic Pro X is my DAW of choice. Although, I now do a lot of editing using the tool below.
• Descript – Editing audio files can be a chore so this recent discovery is pretty amazing. You edit the audio files after they’ve been converted to text by editing the text itself. As you edit the text the audio file is also edited. Amazing and so easy. Did I mention it’s pretty amazing? It is.
• Discord – This software and service provides text, voice and video chat for communities and does a darn fine job considering it’s basically free. I use it for playing D&D, for working with my podcast team and for pretty much anything else that requires communication with a group of people. It’s great.
• D&D Beyond – I’ve been playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons lately (online, of course) and this site is invaluable and so well done it’s ridiculous. How did I ever play without it before?
Even when we do go back to being able to play together in person, I’ll probably never go back to paper and pencil again. Well, maybe.
• Roll20 – This VTT or “Virtual Tabletop” is also a great tool for playing D&D online, which we all have to do these days. It has a few bugs, but it still works pretty well and makes the sessions far more enjoyable.
• Apple Mail – It has some issues, but I still use it for most of my email accounts. I also use Apple’s Calendar and Contacts apps because I’m used to them and they’re adequate for my needs.
• Dropbox – I had left the fold for a bit (for Google), but now I’m back. It’s just so useful I couldn’t stay away.
• Final Draft – One of the best screenplay writing software available for OS X and the iPad.
• Highland 2 – I used to be a die hard Final Draft user, but this software from noted writer and podcaster John August is really growing on me. In fact, I kinda love it. Great for screenplays, novels or whatever you want to write.
• Pixelmator – A great photo editing and cropping/resizing tool I use every day on the Mac.
• Transmit – The best FTP software available for OS X.
• Ulysses – I still use this for older projects that are already written with it, but for new stuff I’ve pretty much transitioned to Highland 2. Still, this software is pretty great. I just prefer Highland 2. It works better for the way I like to do do things.
• Leica M6 – I’m shooting mostly film (and black & white in particular) these days. Simply put, I prefer the process of it and I find the results more pleasing.
This camera is wonderful, especially when combined with a great lens like the Leica Summicron 50mm 2.0 or the Zeiss 35mm 2.8. Most of my favorite photos were taken with this camera.
• Nikon FM2n – My other favorite film camera. This one’s a tank. Works great with the Nikon 50mm 1.4, which is what I have mounted on it 90% of the time.
Kodak Tri-X – A classic for as long as I’ve been alive.
Ilford HP5 – I’ve always been pretty much 100% Tri-X, but this film is growing on me. Plus, it’s less expensive than Tri-X, which doesn’t hurt.
Well, I went back to the dark side (a little, at least) and picked up a gently used Nikon Z5 and a Z 24-70 4 S lens from the fine folks at KEH. I’m testing out the mirrorless options Nikon has, in large part because I’ve shot Nikon for years and know the system well.
So far, the Z5 is excellent. I’m not a big fan of zooms, I prefer primes as much as possible. Still, the 24-70 has helped me make some great photos so far.
If I end up shooting more digital I may decided to “upgrade” a little and pick up a Z6II or even a Z7II, but not yet. Mirrorless, however, is here to stay . . . for me. I’d probably be better off investing in some prime Z glass anyway rather than another body.
I also still have the “classic” Nikon D800. But now that I’ve embraced mirrorless, I doubt I’ll use it much, if at all.
• Lightroom – In the past I used Photoshop all the time, but now Lightroom is pretty much all I use. But I still have Photoshop . . just in case.
Pens, Pencils, Paper
• Field Notes Notebooks – I use a notebook every day. These rock and are small enough to take pretty much anywhere. I always have one (or three) handy, just in case.
• Baronfig Confidant – I haven’t given up on Rhodia, but these notebooks from Baronfig are my new favorites. They’re the right size with great paper and not super expensive.
• Rhodia Webnotebook – I love the way they’re put together and how well the paper holds pencils or ink. Beautiful notebooks that are a pleasure to use. That said, I’ve pretty much transitioned to all Baronfig all the time.
• Palomino Blackwing 602. Sure, these pencils may look kinda weird, but they write nice. I’m also a big fan of the pencil below, which are my true daily driver.
• General’s Test Scoring 580 – I love this pencil. I use it every day. Goes very well with the Baronfig Confidant, the Field Notes or pretty much anything else.
• Lamy Safari – Relatively inexpensive and a great fountain pen to write with. A longtime favorite. I have a few. You should have one too.
• Kweco AL Sport – Another great fountain pen. Small, but mighty. I take it pretty much everywhere and it writes well.
Support & Motivation
• MoccaMaster Coffee Maker – This amazing coffee maker from the Netherlands is the ultimate device to make coffee at home, especially if you need a lot of coffee.
• Hario V60 – If it’s just me and I want to make a few cups, I tend to make them using this pour over system. It takes a minute to get it right, but when you do, it really tastes great. This isn’t the exact one I use because I’ve mixed and matched mine, but this is a great place to start.
• Baratza Preciso – If you make coffee at home, you need a good coffee grinder. This one does the job very well. I love this one so much I had it repaired instead of buying a new one,
• Apple HomePod – I used to be a big Sonos fan but have moved away from them in favor of this offering from Apple. I’m already an Apple Music subscriber so it couldn’t be easier to use this device to play my favorite tunes.
Plus, you can have Siri schedule appointments, turn on lights (after getting other components like smart bulbs, which I’ve dived into too) or whatever else you might want her to do. It’s pretty cool.
• Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet in Black Alox – I think you should always have a pocket knife. They really come in handy. This is my current EDC. Besides its stainless steel blade, it also has the requisite bottle opener, small screw driver and nail file.
One More Thing
The above are all things I personally use and paid for with my own money. No company or individual has provided consideration in any form to influence my opinion. If they had, I would disclose it. Just so you know.