Software and equipment I use
This is a list of software and hardware I use and generally recommend, typically with caveats. Note that my needs are probably not yours, and I have tried to be transparent with why I picked what I did and for which reason.
Overall, I prefer software and hardware with durability; things that last for a long time and does not require tinkering, maintenance work, or updates. I want low-friction interfaces. A user should not be waiting for a computer during normal operations.
I strongly prefer graphical computing that makes full use of a windowed environment, but use terminal-based applications if there are no good alternatives.
A quick acceptance test
I have a few steps that I use to surface bugs and misdesigns in a piece of software. They are as follows:
- Wherever text can be entered or files created, try inputting Unicode characters, within reason. Look out for misrenderings. In environments that use spaces to separate command-line arguments, try using spaces in file names and make sure it works.
- Turn off networking (e.g. go into airplane mode). Does the program still work?
- Cold-start the program on a quiet machine. Do you have time to forget what you were going to do with the program? Then it's too slow. Does it show a splash screen? Then it's definitely too slow. A good target is atmost three seconds.
- If the program has support for a dark mode, trigger it (preferably via changing the entire desktop), then trigger light mode, then dark mode, then ligt mode again. Ensure the colours don't get whacked up anywhere during the transition. This is a surprisingly common bug!
- Open a file or similar with the more complex input you can imagine editing or operating on. Scroll up and down as fast as you can. Ensure there is no lag or tearing.
- Repeat the same step but with dragging the window around as fast as you can.
- Do the same thing, but resize the window as fast as you can. Ensure it resizes in real time.
- Dragging and dropping into, and out of the application works as expected.
- If the application allows viewing or editing multiple things (chats, image files, etc), it should be possible to do so in multiple windows.
- Put the windows of the application like you want them. Close the application. Open it again. Does it retain the layout?
Audiobooks: BookPlayer. Its sleep timer Shortcuts action doesn't really work for me, and it doesn't expose playing specific books like the built-in Books.app does, but it's fine. Importing books is annoying though, because as far as I can tell you can only add files one by one, but it does allow you to group files into books. I have imported CD audiobooks and this is the only way that makes sense for me.
Music player: Doppler. Synchronising music from a laptop to the phone is a pain though. I also have two MiniDisc players that I use to play music.
pCloud. AFAICT, there are no acceptable cloud sync services out there, but I currently use Box, which isn't so bad.
Code editor: Zed.
Web Search: Kagi.
Web Browser: Orion.