Tools I Use, 2024

Gmail is my email service of choice. I haven’t found anything that beats Gmail’s antispam and virus protection. After nearly a decade, Gmail retains the top slot on the 2020 list. I mainly use the regular Gmail client. I have also used the Mac Mail app, which thanks to its Smart Mailboxes that allow me to see what’s arrived today, the past 7 days, and from the Beyond email domains. But on my phone, I almost exclusively use the Gmail client.

Email newsletters. I follow a lot of email newsletters. This is helpful because these come on a regular basis and are storable.

Dropbox: I have a Dropbox Pro account with a terabyte of space organized around the PARA method, which I’ve found to be indispensable.

Apple Notes: My Zettlekasten, or database of notes, is stored at this point exclusively in Apple Notes. I’ve tried a couple other approaches, including Obsidian coupled with raw text note files, but Apple Notes is synced to all my devices, instantly available and backed up to the cloud, and secure. Several recent updates to Notes has continued to make it better for me to use and rope me in more firmly.

Apple Photos and Google Photos: I store photos in my phone in Apple Photos. I used to back these up to Google Photos, but no longer–they’re exclusively in the Apple Photos cloud.

Feedly intrigued me with its AI system for training articles. You can tag a set of 20 or more articles into a news board, and then tell Feedly to bring you articles from all your sources that are similar to the ones you’ve tagged.

No Social Media. After years on Twitter, I have largely abandoned it–with the exception of one list that follows weather forecasters in the case of severe weather–and with it all social media. There’s just not enough return for the time spent on it. I maintain a list of weather trackers for times when tornadoes are nearby. is where I bookmark URLs. At the end of the week, producing the Roundup is largely a matter of going through the Pinboard entries since the last Roundup.

Matter. This is where I store articles. I have a pro account, it’s so indispensible. It lets me read and highlight and tag articles, so if there’s anything I run across it goes to Matter first, then gets evaluated and notes built in my Zettlekasten.

AWS Lightsail is where I host my databases. It’s cheap and reliable and completely customizable.

Mailchimp has been my email newsletter manager of choice. I’ve tried other services and always come back to Mailchimp.

Adobe Indesign. What I use when I’m writing any reports or longer documents (e.g. the Outlook the Cluster Forecasts, etc). I have a subscription.

Google Meet is what I use for nearly all online meetings. (I’m also able to use Zoom if someone needs to.)

Kindle: I love Amazon Kindle. I have hundreds of books/files in it. I use my Kindle App on iPhone/iPad far more than I do my actual Kindle, at this point. In 2020⁄2021, I’ve been using the Kindle to get samples and buying books in paper form, because I get less distracted (no notifications in a paper book).

Tripit maintains my travel calendar automatically. Anytime I purchase a flight, Tripit (which monitors my Gmail account) automatically sucks the flight data in and gives me a nice itinerary. It syncs to the iPhone/iPad app as well, so that’s always up to date, and shares the itinerary with my wife, so she has quick access to my schedule.

Spotify: what I use to play streaming music (radio); I’ve tuned some channels for instrumental music that plays during work. I shifted completely from Pandora to Spotify, and we have a family pro account. I love Spotify.

Apple’s Keychain. I used to use Lastpass, but since I became a Mac-only user, I use the one built in to Apple products.

Safari/Chrome. I’m pretty browser agnostic these days, but since I’m a Mac user, I tend to use Safari most.