Tools - Chris Ullrich dot net

Tools

Some of the tools I use to get work done & have some fun. A few things have changed since the last update, so check them out below.

(Updated March 9, 2024)

Hardware

Apple 2020 13″ MacBook Pro – Quad Core, 10th Gen i7, 1 TB SSD, 16GB RAM. It’s a great machine. Of course, now I want an M1 (or M2 or M3) MacBook Pro. But I can wait. Besides, I ended up getting an M1 MacBook Air for H to use (and for me to test out), so that’s something at least. Plus, the boy now has an M2 MacMini for his Roblox needs (and other things, hopefully) so I can always use that while he’s at school.

Asus ProArt Monitor – Not sure how I used a 13″ laptop screen exclusively for so long. Turns out, it’s much easier when you attach a monitor to it and use it as a de-facto desktop. So, that’s what I’m doing now.  Speaking of de-facto desktops, I also now use:

Keychron V3 TKL Keyboard – I had been using an old Apple wireless keyboard, but since the holidays (2023), I’ve been banging away at the Keychron mechanical keyboard. Gotta say, I do enjoy it.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro – Upgraded from an iPhone 11 Pro, mostly because of the new camera. That’s pretty much why I upgrade phones these days. Better cameras.

We also changed providers and went from AT&T to T-Mobile and then to Verizon all in the space of a year. What a pain. I think we’ll stay with Verizon for the foreseeable future. Probably.

Apple iPad – I gave my older iPad to the kid (which now has a cracked screen) and got myself a 10th Gen iPad. I mostly use it for the usual stuff: YouTube, Reading, Chess apps, etc. Still don’t need an iPad Pro. Will probably never get one, actually.

Software

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.

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 (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. Although, I’ve pretty much stopped using it these days in favor of the one below.

Foundry VTT – The longest running D&D campaign I’m part of (almost three years now) has been using a VTT called Foundry. So far, we all really like it. Although, we don’t need to do much as most of us aren’t the DM. Still, he has good things to say too so there’s something to this software.

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.

Final Draft – One of the best screenplay writing software apps 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. I’m writing my latest novel with it. Only a few thousand-ish words to go.

Transmit – The best FTP software available for OS X.

Photo Gear

Analog

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 recent favorite photos were taken with this camera.

Nikon FM2n – My other favorite film camera. This one’s a tank. Works great with the Nikon 35mm f2.8, 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.

Polaroid OneStep 2 – A cool Polaroid camera from the gang at Polaroid Originals. I really like it. Read my review for more about this camera.

Digital

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 have my eye on the latest version of the Fuji X100 series, the X100v. I had an X100T for awhile and I liked it. Probably shouldn’t have sold it. Oh well.

I will pick up and X100v wherever they’re available again. Hopefully it won’t be too long.

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.

Audio

I record a lot of audio for podcasts and such and I also listen to a lot of music and other audio content too.

Shure SM7B – This microphone has been around for quite a few years and has become an industry standard. It works very well and sounds great with my voice. Plus, it’s built like a tank and should last a lifetime. Expensive, but worth it.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 – My current and favorite DA converter that provides phantom power to the SM7B and enables me to record into Logic Pro X on the Mac.

Cloudlifter CL1 – The SM7B is a great mic but it’s quite gain hungry. So, I dropped in this device to provide a bit of extra “clean” gain to help the mic be its best. Not required to use the SM7B, but it doesn’t hurt to have it.

Rode PSA1 – A great boom arm to attach the SM7B and get it up to my face and off the desk. You’ve seen these in lots of videos and streams because, like the SM7B, it works great.

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.

Grids + Lines Idea Journal – These notebooks from Doane Paper are also a favorite. I use them for planning projects, sketching and more. They’re great.

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.

Uni-ball 207 – My favorite gel pen. Although, the newer Uni-ball 307 is fast becoming my new favorite.

TWSBI Eco Clear and TWSBI Diamond 580AL – Love both of these fountain pens. Great pens at a reasonable price. You can spend way more for fountain pens, believe me. But with these, it’s not necessary. Just get one. Or both. They come in colors too.

Lamy Safari – Relatively inexpensive and a great fountain pen to write with. A longtime favorite. I have a few in various colors.

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.

Other

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.

Server

This site runs on WordPress and is hosted on my server at Site Ground.

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.