Some of the tools I use to get work done & have some fun. A few things have changed so check them out below.
(Updated November 20, 2020)
I decided to go all-laptop for a bit and see if I like using just one computer. Gave the iMac to my son and now I’m just using the MacBook Pro.
• 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. G.A.S. is a real bitch sometimes.
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 and then upgrade again when the “newer” new iPhones eventually drop.
• Apple iPad – I use this for a lot of things these days, 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 small and lite, I don’t really see a reason for the iPad Pro, at least for me.
• Olympia SM3 – Yes, I 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 like hers. I learned to type on it 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 edit and enhance the 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 by editing the text. As you edit the text the audio file is also edited. Amazing and so easy. Did I mention this is 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 and so useful.
• 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.
Sold (most) all of my digital cameras and now 100% film. Except, of course, for photos taken with the iPhone 11 Pro. We do have one or two other digital cameras around, we just don’t take them out unless absolutely necessary.
• 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.