Stuff I Use
Inspired by projects like The Setup, here is the stuff I use.
What’s in my Bag
I carry a custom Timbuk2 messenger bag for just about everything. If that isn’t enough space, I wear a Jansport Classic backpack for backup.
Ever since I was 10 I’ve been writing with PaperMate Clearpoint 0.5mm mechanical pencils on blank computer paper. More recently I’ve been carrying a single Moleskin sketchbook for meeting and research notes. The size is great for an all-in-one notebook, and the paper in the sketchbook from the Art Collection is 111lb, which is much thicker than the average Moleskin notebook1.
I also never leave the apartment without a backpocket Field Notes and my REI carabiner clip to hold my keys.
I’m using an upgraded 2016 15” MacBook Pro, which replaced a 2011 15” MacBook Pro, which replaced a late 2007 20” iMac.
When I’m at my desk I connect to a LG Ultrafine 5K Monitor using a single USB-C cable for power, internet, and peripherals (Logitech G502 mouse and Code keyboard).
I built my own PC in March 2018 for gaming and deep learning side projects. It’s a high performing Intel + NVIDIA build with mesmerizing RGB fans packed into an excellent compact metal and glass case.
|CPU||Intel Core i7 8700K|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair H100i v2 All in One Water Cooler|
|Motherboard||ASRock z370 Tai Chi|
|Memory||G.Skill Trident RGB 32GB (2x16GB) 3000Hz|
|Storage (M.2)||Samsung 970 Evo Plus m.2 PCIe NVMe 1TB|
|Storage (M.2)||Samsung 960 Evo m.2 PCIe NVMe 1TB|
|Storage (HDD)||Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200rpm|
|GPU||NVIDIA Titan Xp|
|Power Supply||EVGA 850W G3|
|Case||Fractal Design Meshify C (Tempered Glass Edition)|
|Case Fans||Corsair LL120mm RGB|
I’m currently carrying a 64GB black iPhone X, with an old, rarely touched fourth-gen iPad resting on its stand.
On my homescreen sits many of the mobile versions of the desktop services I use on OS X, but notable mentions include Fantastical for calendar and reminders, Dark Sky for down-to-the-minute weather predictions, Inbox by Gmail for email, the data-centric alarm clock Sleep Cycle, and Overcast for podcasts.
I also wear a gen 1 space gray Apple Watch Sport with the red sport band. Necessary? No. Stylish? Hardly. Convenient? Certainly.
At any time of day I’m probably listening to music on Spotify. I rely on Dropbox and Google Drive for file sharing. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are also frequently used. For getting things, I’ve tried every to-do list and task manager out there, and I haven’t really liked any, but I’ve found that Trello is useful for managing different projects; it can also export specific tasks to my calendar while preserving the task’s due date, time, and notes.
While browsing Twitter on Tweetbot or Reddit on AlienBlue, I constantly save things to my Pocket to read whenever I get a few minutes. I use 1Password for saving passwords and Mint for tracking money. Slack is always open, and IFTTT can be handy too.
I write journal entries in Day One that contain research notes, a days summary, and interesting quotes and pieces I read. I’ve used Day One off and on for a few years, but during the summer of 2015 I started writing daily entries to log every day of my time as a Ph.D. student so that upon graduation I can look back and remember the details, both big and little. I believe daily writing also helps one communicate more effectively and easily.
I typeset LaTeX in TeXShop, take notes in Markdown with Sublime, and write code in Visual Studio Code.
I use Keynote for slides, Affinity Designer for vector drawing and most digital illustration, with the occasional use of Pixelmator for image editing.
When I was working in 3D printing, I used Mathematica and OpenSCAD to generate models, Blender for renders and mesh manipulation, and Makerware for print preparation. Tinkercad is also a great, easy-to-use modeling app that runs in the browser.
On both sides of my desk sit KRK Rokit 5 studio monitors with an accompanying Rokit 10s subwoofer. I run audio from my computer through a now old Presonus Firestudio. For less serious recording, I use a Blue Yeticaster microphone for video calling and voice overs.
I carry Shure SE846 isolating headphones/earbuds with me at all times for excellent sound quality (portable bass!), noise cancellation, and most importantly: they never fall out of my ears. I have a number of other IEMs, including my older Shure SE215s and the cheap but surprinsgly fantastic Tin Audio T2s. I also carry a pair of the renowned Audio Technica ATH-m50x headphones for sound quality and portability.
As an amateur photographer, I’m shooting with a hand-me-down Nikon D80, but I always have my phone on me to snap a quick picture. When I was taking macro shots, I’d often set up a homemade light box.
I received a Sonor Force 2001 drum set when I was 10, and I still play it today. I play Sabian AA and AAX cymbals and coated Evans drumheads. My drumstick of choice is the Vic Firth 5A. For quieter jam sessions, I make less noise on a Roland electric drum set.
Aside from my gaming PC, I have the lovely Nintendo Switch and an Xbox One that doesn’t do much anymore. A Chromecast sticks out of my TV too.
When trying to relax, there is no better companion than an Eno hammock.
Sometimes it irks me when ink bleeds through paper. ↩