My Current Tech Stack


Futzing around with tools can be a productivity trap. Even so, I've found a stack I like and I wanted to share it in brief.

Generally, here's what I like in tools:

  • They "just work" by default.
  • They have batteries included.
  • They have a pleasant look and feel.
  • They're fast.
  • They're built for power users.
  • They're not from some megacorp.


Chair: An old Steelcase. It was whatever we used at Google, and I got it at a big discount on a clearance sale.

Laptop: 16 inch Macbook with Apple M1. It's a Unix laptop that works well enough, and it has an outstanding build quality. There are a few power features that I wish were available, though.

Keyboard: an Apple Magic Keyboard. Left over from a prior employer who didn't want it back. Compared to the laptop keyboard, I find it much nicer to type on, though I might try a mechanical keyboard at some point.

Stand: It's a cheap Griffin stand. I like it just fine.

Command line

Shell: Fish shell. It's pretty, it has powerful history search and autocomplete, and I hardly need to configure it. alias -s is a lifesaver for rapidly creating aliases as needed. Likewise for fish_vi_key_bindings.

Utilities: There are a few:

  • I use Byobu for session management. It's a lifesaver if I accidentally close the terminal.
  • I search with ripgrep, which is more than an order of magnitude faster than grep.

Editor: Vim. I use it for light scripting. Being able to suspend the editor with cmd-Z is really convenient for quickly doing work in the terminal.

Terminal: iTerm2. I heard it was what the cool kinds were using, but iTerm2 doesn't add much over the default Terminal app.


Raycast: A command palette for everything in macOS. My favorites two days in:

  • keyword searches
  • window management
  • keyboard bindings for everything (e.g. ^T to open the terminal)
  • clipboard history
  • snippets
  • fuzzy search for menu commands

My one misgiving is that it's free and produced by a VC-funded startup, so I don't know what's in store for its future. A similar app was just acquired and is no longer available, for example.

Obsidian: Notes that are just Markdown files on disk. If needed, I can just edit a file in Vim. Otherwise, there's some nice chrome on top and it's surprisingly feature-rich. I'm still learning about bidirectional links, and sometimes I do think about trying org-mode.

Timing: Like RescueTime on steroids. Detailed time tracking for everything you do on and off the computer. Still ramping up on it.

Firefox: I feel a bit like a sucker using it these days, but I do like supporting the nominally non-corporate browser. Vimium-FF for Vim mode everywhere.

PyCharm: For power features on Python projects. I generally like a lot of what JetBrains does.


GSuite, unfortunately. I plan to switch off some of it in the future.