People get caught up in tools as a distraction from actually learning and doing. I probably do too, but I also find directing attention to the tools around me that mostly just disappear into the background and are taken for granted is a great way to find the very best exemplars of what tools should be, and helps me be a better tool-maker.

Here are some of the more important tools I use day-to-day to build with:

Digital Tools

  • Firefox. To be honest most browsers are all pretty decent, but some are slightly more decent than others. I like Firefox.
  • DuckDuckGo. I know it’s basically a re-wrapped version of Bing, but I still enjoy the vibe. Search results are generally good enough and I like their !bangs .
  • Futureland . Where my process is recorded and I work through a daily routine.
  • VS Code. I recently switched over from Sublime Text, and it’s been pretty good so far with a nice ecosystem of plugins. I just wish it wasn’t quite as heavy.
  • Figma.
  • iTerm.
  • Fastmail . Hosted my own email for a few years but eventually gave into using a service when the big G decided to send all my mail to spam. Turns out they just blacklist IP ranges for public cloud providers. Fastmail has been a pretty nice alternative.

Physical Tools

  • A computer. It runs Ubuntu and Windows. It’s got an i7 8086k, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and an RTX 2060 TI. I’ve had a custom built computer like this for quite a while. I tend to re-use the old components when I sell off pieces of it, so it’s a bit of a Ship of Theseus situation.
  • A laptop. It’s a MacBook Pro 13” from 2017 with whatever the cheapest specs are. It’s in the process of nearing it’s date of obsolescence; highly unfortunate.
  • A knife. It’s a Kan Knives Santoku .
  • A pan. An All Clad D5 Stainless Brushed 12-inch fry pan. Gorgeous tool.
  • A trenching shovel. An absolutely essential tool for the garden. Second only to the pickaxe, but the trenching shovel is a bit more broad in its uses.

I was going to add this to the list, but I realized I really don’t use it much and definitely don’t use it to create anything. It’s still on here because I like ranting:

  • A phone. It’s an iPhone XR that I got when my old iPhone 6s died. I was in Omaha without a car at the time and walked to the only Verizon store in the city only to find that the least-fancy phone I could get was an iPhone XR. It seems inferior to my old phone in pretty much all of the meaningful ways I can think of.