This is a list of tools I use for software development and other work.
MacBook Pro 13” M1
- LG Ultrafine 27-inch 5K display. I’m very happy with this device. Good display; powers the laptop; adds three USB ports to which I’ve plugged in another hub and my other peripherals so there’s only one USB cable to connect/disconnect in order to detach or return my computer.
- Logitech MX Master Mouse. I’m also very happy with this. It’s more precise than the trackpad, has a right button, and another few buttons that I’ve customized for the applications that I use enough to develop muscle memory for.
- IQUNIX S108 Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboard.
I use the numeric keypad as keyboard shortcuts (move and resize windows, run web searches, launch applications).
For elegance, I bought the model with the keys printed on the sides instead of the top. but it turns out that this means people who don’t touch type have great difficulty using my keyboard.
I bought the RGB backlight keyboard because I thought I might use the lights for something, but I don’t think their programmable without a greater degree of disassembly than I’ve had time for so far.
I previously owned their F96-Knight Wireless Mechanical Keyboard. (This keyboard is currently on loan.) I prefer its housing style to the S108, but it was more difficult to use the numeric keypad for shortcuts on the S108, since they were neither spatially nor visually distinct from the main keys.
iPhone SE 2
I like the small for factor. I don’t like the puny battery life (maybe four hours — even though Settings says the battery is above 90% health).
I hear that Shanghai is hard on batteries. (Because there are so many cells for it to roam between?) It’s worse, of course, if you leave your VPN on, and/or leave WiFi on so that the phone roams among the vast number of base stations that pepper the area.
iPad Pro (12.9”; 4th gen)
Apple Pencil 2. This is great. I use it for Procreate and Concepts.
Magic Keyboard. This is an excellent keyboard and stand. I use it with the iPad when I know that I want to spend a dedicated amount of time just on writing, taking notes on one document at a time. For other tasks that involve a keyboard, I have gone back to the MacBook, which is smaller and lighter than the iPad + Keyboard combination and supports a greater range of workflows and workflow customization.
Whole-house audio: Sonos (in the U.S.); HomePod and HomePod minis (China); Alexa’s and Echo’s (both locations).
The Sonos works better with Spotify, because the Sonos itself fetches the music and controls the playlist. I decided to try out the HomePods instead of buying a second set for China. (I don’t even know if Sonos is available in China, and whether they work here.) They are nice hardware, but playing Spotify from my phone or computer has major disadvantages compared to Sonos.
Routers: Eero (in the U.S.), Asus (in China)
Audio: Audible (audiobooks), Overcast (podcasts), Spotify (music).
Communications: Slack, Spark, WeChat, Messages, FaceTime, Google Voice.
Document Management: Files, Dropbox, Scanner Pro.
Entertainment: NY Times Crossword, Amazon Prime, Netflix.
Language Learning and Translation: Baidu Translate, Pleco, Skritter.
Notes: Notion, Roam, Apple Notes, Muse.
Password Management: 1Password.
Photo editing: Halide, Lightroom, Darkroom, Picsew, PicCollege.
Reading: Kindle, Storygraph.
Utilities: Clean Text
Web: Safari, Wikipedia.
In addition to iOS software, above.
Drawing and Sketching: Concepts and Procreate.
Reading: Liquid Text (in addition to Apple Books and Kindle).
I own a Kindle Paperwhite, but except for traveling, I end up reading Kindle books on this device instead because the screen is better (except outdoors) and I can flip through pages at a reasonable rate.
Publishing and Hosting
Compute: AWS EC2, GCE
Domain management: CloudFront, NameCheap
Publishing: Notion, Super, SquareSpace. Previously Wordpress.
Static Hosting: GitHub Pages, AWS S3, Vercel, Netlify.