Welcome, to the first ever Loadout Update. In keeping with the Sci-fi RPG theme these updates will cover any updates to the Elysium’s loadout. I’m still not sure if I’m the ship or the captain of the ship, but we’ll figure it out as we go!
Big thanks to Julian Lehr for their Inventory Update posts and Jacob Pretorius for his Everyday Stack Updates that inspired me to emulate the same format.
Let’s get into it. I plan on splitting these updates into three sections: Equipped, Unequipped, and Field Testing. For this first update the “Equipped” section will be rather long so I’ll also add a “Newly Equipped” section to distinguish recent changes.
- iPhone 12 Mini: I love this phone. The shape, size and weight is perfect in my opinion and it just works. Currently running iOS 17.
- Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm): Great watch and has served me well over the past two years. Battery life is not so great anymore but it still gets through a day if I charge it while I shower. Currently running watchOS 10.
- iPad Pro 12.9” (2nd Gen): It’s starting to show its age but it is still a very impressive machine. The folio keyboard I got with it is not working anymore and I had to block off the connector with isolation tape to stop the “Device Cannot Connect” message from continuously popping up so it can still serve as
an expensivea decent stand.
- Apple Magic Keyboard: I got this to replace the folio keyboard for my iPad since it was less expensive than getting a new folio keyboard. This is a great little keyboard, especially for travelling, I love it.
- Apple AirPods Pro (1st Gen): Currently in for repairs/replacement. The right side bud’s sound cut out and made scratchy sounds when it does eventually play sound. Regardless, I love them.
- Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Gaming Keyboard: I bought this at the same time I bought my, now retired, Cooler Master Sentinel Advance about 10 years ago. It has served me well over the years and it has a lot of macro keys which is a nice bonus. I do have my eyes on a the Logitech MX Keys S if this keyboard starts giving me trouble.
- SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless: Needed something comfortable with a decent mic and sound that I can wear 6-8 hours a day for work. This headset checks all of those boxes.
- DELL Inspiron 15 5000: It’s a laptop. It runs Windows 11 and doesn’t buckle too badly under the weight of too many Chrome tabs. Don’t love it, don’t hate it.
- Razer Wolverine V2: I don’t game often, but when I do, I like to kick back with a controller. It has great build quality and is very comfortable. So far I’ve mostly played Hades, Need for Speed™ Heat and Dauntless with it and I have no complaints.
- Obsidian: Where I write the content for this website.
- Roam Research: My magic junkyard. This is where I keep my Interstitial Journal, fleeting notes and daily highlights.
- VS Code: My go to IDE for frontend code. This website was written in VS Code.
- Visual Studio: My go to IDE for backend, mostly .NET C#, code.
- Insomnia: REST client. I know everyone uses Postman, and from time to time I’m forced to, but I prefer Insomnia. It’s clean, simple and does what it says on the tin.
- Spotify: Productivity amplifier. Currently smashing keys to the beats of Lofi Girl. Their Relax/Study and Chill/Game Synthwave playlists have been on high rotation recently.
- Last.fm: Tracks music listening habits.
- ClickUp: We use this for project management at my company. I don’t mind it, but it can be a bit slow sometimes. Still better than Jira though.
- Coda: This software is so versatile I don’t even know where to start. I always describe it as “Imagine if Google Docs and Google Sheets had a baby”. We use this at work for company wikis, documentation, estimates, project breakdowns, functional specifications, the list goes on. I also built a family dashboard that I shared with my wife to keep track of family stuff. I’ll probably post about Coda quite a bit on here in the future. If you wish you can use my referral link to get $10 credit on sign up.
- Due: I use this when I need a repeating reminder that will nag me constantly until I finish the task, like taking out the trash on a Wednesday. Sometimes being reminded once is not enough.
- Oak: Meditation. Simple, well built, free. Thank you Kevin Rose for putting this out into the world.
- Siri Shortcuts: Automate all the things. I will write about this a fair bit on here as well.
- RescueTime: Focus tracking & distraction blocking. It has a great Google Calendar integration.
- Toggl Track: Time tracking. Use this for getting paid and keeping track of where I spend my time & attention.
- Exist: Personal analytics dashboard.
- AutoSleep: Sleep tracking.
- Audible: Books in my ears.
- Overcast: People in my ears.
- 1Password: Keeps passwords and personal documents safe and close.
- Fantastical: On the chopping block to be removed if Morgen Calendar works out.
- Gmail: Mail. Yes, I use it in the browser.
- Google Calendar: Main event storage.
- Calendly: Meeting scheduling. Clients and partners use it to book meetings with me and my business partner.
- Chrome: My browser of choice. I have to deal with many different email accounts for all of our clients. This was one of the first browsers that supported multiple profiles and I jumped on it. I currently have 9 profiles. One for personal, one for my company and 7 that are configured different partners and clients.
- Toby: I have this configured on all 9 of my chrome profiles and set up with link collections for all the different services and apps I usually need for each profile.
- GoodNotes: For taking hand written notes. My handwriting is actually decent which means I can search my handwritten notes with OCR. Leverage your strengths.
- Affinity Designer: For making birthday invites and designing the occasional logo. Also dabbled with Vector Art for a while. It’s a well built app.
- GitHub: We use this for version control at my company and I use it for my personal projects as well.
- Timery: Hands down the best Toggl Track app for Mac & iOS.
- Stoic.: Journaling prompts, stoic wisdom & affirmations.
- Discord: Company chat. Hot take: Discord is better at threads than Slack.
- 22Seven: Finance tracker app. Syncs with all of my accounts, even loyalty schemes and crypto exchange and allows me to categories and split transactions them. Also keeps track of budgets and shows “nudges” based on spending trends. Only available in South Africa.
- Chat GPT: I’ve been using Chat GPT since January 2023 and got a paid subscription around July. I think it is a very powerful companion when used responsibly in specific scenarios.
- Microsoft To Do: Add task, check off task. Nothing more, nothing less. I still use iOS Reminders for location based reminders every now and then when I need them, or remember to use them. Works well on iOS and Windows. Completely free.
- Duolingo: Used this a very long time ago but stopped because, life… I have a knack for languages and I think it’s a shame that I only know two. I’ve started learning Japanese again, because I actually enjoy watching anime quite a lot and not having to read English subtitles would be pretty amazing. English dubs are usually pretty awful in my experience. I’m also picking up Irish because of an upcoming trip to Ireland, and it would be a pretty cool party trick to speak Irish when I’ve had a few whiskeys.
- MX Master 3S: Hands down the best mouse I’ve ever owned. Excellent build quality and combined with the Logi Options+ software it makes this a productivity powerhouse.
- Quarterly Personal Retreats: I’ve done two of these now this year and it’s been great. I’m still figuring out the format of these retreats. My thoughts on the topic will be collected in this note.
- CoolerMaster Sentinel Advance: After 10 years the right click button stopped working. It served me well over the years. My new MX Master S3 is replacing this. > Press F to Pay Respects.
- Todoist: I honestly only used it for NLP task adding and recurring tasks which Microsoft To Do can do for free. There is no reason for me to keep using it.
- Morgen Calendar:
- Purpose: I use it for time blocking, calendar management and scheduling tasks on my calendar. It can also manage booking links so people can book meetings with you but we currently use Calendly for work and it works well. The iOS app seems solid so far although the widgets can do with some love. It’s actively being worked on and has a public roadmap.
- Field Test Status: I’m pretty happy so far. It’s a relatively new app so there are some small annoyances, but nothing I can’t live with.
- Arc Browser:
- Purpose: Browsers haven’t changed much since their inception and I’m always on the lookout for paradigm shifting software.
- Field Test Status: Still too early to tell but so far it feels a lot more like a mindful research assistant than a browser. The notes and canvas features are a nice bonus for structuring project research. I like the automatic tab archiving, it keeps me from hoarding tabs and it forces me to intentionally decide on the spot if something is worth keeping around.
- GitHub Co-Pilot:
- Purpose: Speed up development.
- GitHub Co-Pilot Chat:
- Purpose: More of the same that the inline version provides just on a higher level.
- Field Test Status: It’s useful for generating unit tests, albeit not very good tests, it does offer some additional test cases that might not be immediately obvious. More useful perhaps is generating comments based on a piece of code or describing the functionality of a particularly abstract piece of code. Once again I will more than likely end up equipping this as the usefulness outweighs the negatives and accuracy will improve over time.
- Purpose: Pitched as an “intelligent all-in-one workspace” I’m keeping an eye on this as it might be one of those paradigm shifting software. Probably the most intriguing aspect of tana is that it’s built on top of a semantic ontology framework that you can maintain yourself for your notes via what they call “Supertags”.
- Field Test Status: I think it’s an amazing piece of software. At the time of writing it does not have a plugin ecosystem like Obsidian and Roam Research which is my main reason for sticking with these. They did recently release an Input API which I still need to dig into. I can definitely see myself switching to Tana from Roam Research one day.
That’s it for the Elysium’s 2023 Q3 loadout update. Whether I’m captaining the ship or am the ship, I’m navigating the digital seas with some top-notch gear and software. There are a few items I’m testing out, some long-time companions, and even a couple of newcomers. As the quarters roll on, expect to see more shifts in the line-up as technology evolves and as my needs change. Who knows, the next quarter might just see some game-changing additions or heartbreaking goodbyes.
Until then, may your tech serve you well and your upgrades be plentiful. Stay tuned for the next loadout update. Safe travels through the digital cosmos!