As I get older I try to be increasingly mindful about the products that I use. I’m a big fan of whittling down and paring away at long lists of tools and software, instead opting to go deeper and narrower into certain things.
Some of this is in flux — I’m always re-evaluating the services that I use. In mid-2019 I stopped using Google services, almost entirely. I still use search, but no longer have anything that requires an account that I actively use outside of Ads and Analytics.
This page is inspired by all of the people who have done it before me.
FireFox – My web browser of choice. I’ve spent significant time with pretty much every other major browser. I do, however, use several for testing websites.
Things – Takes care of my task management. I don’t have very many items in here, it’s mostly just a log of my weekly projects. If it’s recurring or has a time/date it’s probably on my calendar.
Bear – I write in markdown as often as possible. Bear is also ridiculously beautiful and minimal. I love to crack open a new note and minimize everything else.
1Password – Been using 1p for password management for several years at this point. If I had to do it all over again — I’d still use it. I spent several weeks earlier this year looking at and trying all of the reasonable products on the market. Still the best.
Atom – I write a lot of code. I do that within Atom. I don’t have any crazy custom themes or fonts. I just write code, man.
Figma – Anytime I need to work up a mockup or design.
Balsamiq – For wireframes. They look ridiculous but that’s often for the best so I don’t spend too much time “designing” a wireframe. Also, comic sans.
Sizzy – I use this almost every day to play with websites in multiple device breakpoints. Responsive design is like, really important.
Spotify – Been using it for years. Both desktop + mobile. I listen to a lot of music.
VPN – I do use a VPN (both on Mobile and Desktop) but I’m not going to disclose which. I strongly suggest you take the time to do your own research and evaluation 🙂
I also stopped using Google services (in mid-2019), so I’ve listed replacements where applicable.
Fastmail – I dropped Gmail for my own email domain(s) and love Fastmail. Awesome service, and really helpful for people like me with dozens of domains for side projects that need a quick email.
Laravel – When I have the option, I typically use Laravel for rapid development of custom web apps.
CraftCMS – I’ve built out a handful of sites with Craft and I think it’s a pretty good middleground between WordPress and Laravel.
WordPress – For sites that have specific dependencies (like Memberful) or simple content requirements (like this site) I prefer to spin up a custom WP theme. I don’t use any plugins except WP Rocket. I use WPEngine for hosting my WordPress sites.
Cloudflare – I only have about a 72% understanding of exactly what it is that they do, but I’m using it anyway.
DNSimple – When I’ve got domains that have significant DNS requirements I’ll use DNSimple. Mostly for adding all of those pesky Fastmail records.
Digital Ocean – For hosting everything that isn’t WordPress.
Github – For source control and code collaboration.
Laravel Forge – I’m not 100% sure I’ll continue using this going forward, but I’ve had a sub for a few years and it does make it easy to deploy and spin up droplets.
Fathom – I’ve replaced Google Analytics with Fathom on all of my sites. I love the minimal and privacy-forward approach. It gives me just what I need. Since switching I also spend way less time looking at analytics (with GA I could spend about an hour a day) — now I’m checking stats about once a week.
Stripe – I use Stripe wherever possible to accept credit cards online.
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