What I Use
A list of things that I use to manage my life or that I simply enjoy using.
Last updated May 2023. (Still working on it)
- Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max (2022) – Finally, Apple makes a great laptop again.
- Apple iPad Pro 10.9 (2021) – I am not an iPad person, but this is a great “get-away” device. The Magic Keyboard makes it usable.
- iPhone 12 Mini – The properly-sized iPhone. I put it in the Computing category but it fits in nearly every category.
- Apple Studio display – Just the right size. Gorgeous view.
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) – I tinker with Linux on this. I hate the trackpad more than anything.
- Synology DS918+ - For cold storage and running Plex
- Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 – The greatest keyboard there is. It’s nearly perfect.
- Logitech MX Master 3 mouse - I still prefer a mouse over a trackpad. This is a good one.
Here’s the software that I currently use on a regular basis.
- Emacs and Org mode – I write nearly everything in Org-mode. Tasks, lists, documents, publishing, all in plain text. I basically live there.
- DEVONthink – Email Archives, Manuals, PDFs, Scanned documents. Years of archives remain searchable and synced across devices. It’s also another way into my ~/org files.
- Apple Mail – It’s fine, and it’s always right there.
- BBEdit – As much as I try to remain in Emacs for editing, whenever I need something fancy done with a lot of text, I turn to BBEdit. It’s the editor I’ve used the longest. In fact, it may be the piece of software I’ve used the longest, period. It remains truly great.
- LaTeX – I have no real need for LaTeX but it does such a great job laying out documents that I use it anyway. Mostly, this is done via Org mode but I also use LaTeX directly when I feel like being tweaky.
- Terminal – I spend a lot of time in a terminal. Apple’s built-in Terminal app works fine for me, now that I’m using Fish Shell.
- Git – For a long time I pushed Mercurial over Git, as it was simpler to use and understand. I lost, so everything goes in Git.
- 1Password – Password management
- Arq Backup – Helps me keep things backed up properly
- Raycast – Launcher and generally useful utility for all sorts of automation and shortcuts. Replaced Alfred for me a year or so ago.
- Espanso - Text expansion utility. It’s free, cross-platform, fast, and appropriately nerdy.
- CleanShot X — Far and away the best screenshot utility there is
- Apple Messages – Nearly everyone I communicate with uses Apple devices
- Signal – For non-Apple and/or private communication
- Digital Ocean - Static hosting for most of my websites
- Fastmail - Personal email
- Mullvad VPN - Privacy for browsing
- Porkbun - Domains and DNS
- Github - Repo hosting
- TODO: There’s gotta be more, right?
- Leica SL2 (Digital) - Superb build and image quality. Best EVF I’ve ever used. And made for use with adapted M lenses.
- Leica MP (Black Paint) - OMG it’s so beautiful. I bought it new in 2021 as my “forever” camera.
- Leica M3 - OG Leica M. Built in 1960 and works like butter.
- Leica IIIf – Barnack! Mine was made in 1946.
- Hasselblad 500C/M - The Hasselblad V series cameras are iconic, beautiful, and superbly engineered. They also produce wonderful images, which is why they are my favorite all-around cameras.
- Ricoh GRIII (Digital) - Pocketable, high-quality (APS-C), and fun to use snapshot camera.
- Graflex Crown Graphic - Large Format (4×5) film camera. Mine is beat up and held together with gaffer tape, and I love it. It’s a pain in the ass to use, but there’s nothing like a 4×5 negative.
- Graflex Speed Graphic – Another 4×5 film camera. Mine has a bad light leak so it sits on a shelf.
- Canon AE–1 Program – 35mm Film SLR. This is the first “real” camera I ever owned.
- Canon Canonet – 35mm rangefinder camera. Retired.
- Canon Pro-zoom 814 Electronic – Super8 movie film camera
- Minolta Autocord – Medium format TLR. Retired.
- Nikon F100 – 35mm auto-focus film camera. Best bang for the buck in film cameras.
- Olympus OM–1n – 35mm film camera. Tiny and jewel-like. Amazing viewfinder.
- Olympus OM–2n – 35mm film camera
- Olympus Stylus Epic – Compact 35mm film camera
- Adobe Lightroom Classic – My primary catalog and photo editor
- Capture One Pro – Raw file editor for special occasions and tethering
- Apple Photos – For iPhone shots and keepers exported from my editor
- Photo Mechanic – Ingesting, tagging, and renaming photos from cards. Nothing is faster or easier. I’d like to not need it, but trying to caption and tag dozens of photos at a time is an exercise in frustration in any other app.
Some miscellaneous photo-related support items
- Canon PRO–100 – Photo printer that I too rarely use
- Epson V850 — Flatbed film scanner. Works great for medium and large format. Less great for 35mm, but still fine.
- Profoto D1 Monolights – Aging but still great for studio portraits.
- Billingham Hadley Pro Small – Beautiful and well-made camera bag
I use a basement bathroom as a makeshift darkroom.
- Leitz Focomat v35 – 35mm auto-focus enlarger. Solid and reliable. It is a fantastic device.
- Beseler 45MXT – This is for printing medium and large format negatives. Mine is a little janky but works great overall.
- Leitz Focomat IIc – Manufactured from 1956–1983, the Focomat IIc is a giant, over-engineered marvel of an enlarger. I bought mine as a fixer-upper from Craigslist and I still don’t have it working completely. Getting there, though.
Lifestyle and Miscellaneous Hardware
Most of my music equipment was purchased nearly 15 years ago and still works great.
- Rega P1 Turntable – I love listening to records. I love owning my music and being able to see as well as hear it. I consider the P1 to be a terrific value. Audio people call it a “budget” turntable but I prefer to think of it as a cheap, “high-end” turntable. I’ve used it nearly every day for almost a decade.
- Rega Brio 3 Integrated Amplifier – Purchased in 2010 to go with P1. It has a good phono stage and still sounds great. I don’t feel a need to replace it.
- Bluesound Node – Hi-Res music streamer
- Roon Optimized Core Kit / NUC – This is my new favorite thing. It’s a tiny computer running the Roon music software and it’s the best way I’ve ever had to listen to, organize, and discover music.
And the rest…
- Focal Chorus V Speakers – Pretty good floor-standing speakers in my TV/Music room.
- KEF LSX – Outstanding wireless speakers
- Yamaha CD-S300BL CD Player – I still listen to CDs, so I bought a new CD player a few years ago.
- Sonos wireless music system – Music everywhere in my house. I use a Soundbar and several Play:3 speakers.
- Sennheiser HD 600 – Open-back, over-the-ear headphones. These are for when I want to really listen to music.
- Apple AirPods Max – They’re amazing but I kind of hate them
- Apple HomePods – I ended up with a couple of these. They look and sound very good.
- Amazon Kindle Oasis (2nd gen) — Books on the go. I prefer real books but the Kindle sure is handy. I like the larger size of this model.
- Kobe Forma ebook reader — An alternative to Amazon that works great with more formats and I can rent books from my local library right from the device.
Pen and Paper
- Leuchtturm 1917 Notebooks – Better than a Moleskine and perfect for use as a Bullet Journal.
- Hobonichi Techo Planner – Best little day planner ever. I’ve carried one for many years. I sometimes use them only sporadically, but I always come back.
- Field Notes – Always have a Field Notes notebook in my back pocket. It’s a better capture tool than the iPhone
- Pilot Custom 823 – My everyday fountain pen. It’s nearly perfect
- Pelikan Souveran M400 – Beautiful, classic fountain pen. I had the nib tweaked by Richard Binder and it writes like butter. It’s for fancy writing.
- Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni Pencils – I’ve come around on pencils recently. I find myself reaching for a pencil as often as a pen. More so, maybe.
- Caran D’ache Pencil Sharpening Machine – Overkill, but I love it.
- Olympia SM3 Typewriter – My favorite typewriter
- Olympia SM9 Typewriter – My second favorite typewriter
Every Day Carry
- Tag Heuer Aquaracer Automatic watch – No batteries, beautiful, and good to 300 meters in the water — because that’s handy right?
- Apple Watch (Series 7) – The health stuff and proper notifications are handy. I wish I could wear this and the Tag.
- Casio G-Shock(s) - I have 2 of them. They’re great and I can beat them senseless without worry.
- Goruck GR1 backpack – If I ever go outside, I’m ready.
- Benchmade Mini Griptilian AXIS Lock Knife – Always in my pocket. I never realized how handy a pocket knife could be until I started carrying one everywhere.
- Bellroy Note Sleeve Wallet – Feels great, works great.
- Bellroy Field Notes Notebook Cover – A great way to carry my ever-present Field Notes notebook.
- Blunt Classic Umbrella – Who knew a good umbrella would make such a big difference? This is a very nice one.
- Filson original Briefcase – I’ve owned a number of bags and this one is the one I’ve settled on. Well-designed, simple, and very well-made.
Whew! That’s a lot of stuff.
Friday, May 5, 2023
- Removed Keyboard Maestro
- Added Espanso
- Replaced S5 with SL2
- Replaced Linhof with Crown Graphic
- Tidied up a few things
Saturday, October 1, 2022
- Removed M10-R (sold)
- Removed M6 (sold)
Friday, July 15, 2022
- Replaced 16″ MBP with M1 MBP
- Removed Apple 27″ Retina iMac (2017)
- Replaced 12.9″ iPad Pro with 10.9″ iPad Pro
- Replaced iPhone X with iPhone 12 Mini
- Removed Roam
- Replaced iTerm2 with Apple Terminal
- Removed Gitlab
- Removed Dropbox
- Replace Alfred with Raycast
- Removed Tinderbox
- Added TheBrain
- Added Linhof Technika
- Updated daily carry, bags, extra cameras
Sunday, September 6, 2020
- Swapped in Leica M10-P for the Leica Q
Saturday, February 08, 2020
- Added Red Oxx bag
- Removed TheBrain
- Removed older iMac
- Replaced 2016 MBP with 2019 16-inch MBP
Friday, January 18, 2019
- Added Emacs back 🤓
- New bag
Saturday, December 08, 2018
- Added new iPad 12.9″
- Added HomePods
- Replaced X-Pro2 with X-T3
Thursday, October 04, 2018
- Added Leica Q
- Added Photos and Affinity Photo
- Deleted Emacs and friends 😳
Sunday, September 23, 2018
- Replaced Lightroom with Capture One
Friday, July 13, 2018
- Removed 12.9″ iPad Pro. I gave it to my dad.
- Restored 1Password to its rightful place. Remind me to never switch password managers.
Friday, June 1, 2018
- Changed from 1Password to Dashlane for password management
- Replaced LaunchBar with Alfred
- Replaced Pass with YNAB
- Removed TextExpander since I’m now using Keyboard Maestro for text snippet expansion