People, ideas, hardware – in that order. Benjamin Wittorf

Tools

Occasionally I am asked what tools I use to pursue my calling. Since I appreciate good tools, perhaps this list will inspire you to take a closer look at yours as well.


Last updated 2021.11.13.

Hardware

In the office / at home

On the road

  • As a notebook in conversations, I use a LEUCHTTURM1917 with a pen from Parker. The notebook has replaced the one from Moleskine, quite trivial because of the pen loop; qualitatively they give nothing to each other. The pen on the notebook replaced my Parker Vector, which got lost somewhere in Düsseldorf despite an awesome search. (And sometimes it has to be a Fisher SpacePen.)
  • The smartphone of my choice is an Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, which I have first and foremost because of its camera—which isn’t that much better, and the regular “Pro” would have done, too, because the phone is often simply too big for me. Nevertheless, I will only replace it when it falls apart.
  • The Apple Airpods are great for listening to podcasts and audio books.
  • For so many other things, and already for serious work (not just simply “mobile”), I use an Apple iPad Air with an Apple Pencil. It replaced my iPad Pro, which was just too big for me, and the smaller Pro wasn’t worth the premium over the Air. It also works so well that I won’t replace it until it no longer does its job.
  • Since I live in a big city and somewhat adapt to my clients, I usually carry items in my Louis Vuitton Messenger Bag.

Web Services

  • feedly helps me with my information consumption—and I learn to appreciate “Leo” more and more.
  • With IFTTT I automate the transport of information and knowledge, from services to services or into files.
  • Roam Research is my “Zettelkasten deluxe”: My outsourced knowledge memory that I read through every now and then, work through regularly, and also use as a kind of diary.

Software

Not only do I appreciate Apple devices for their workmanship and aesthetics: The available software is an almost unquantifiable productivity gain for me in its quality and through the (also rightly criticized) eco-system in which all apps synchronize across devices. Listing alphabetically.

macOS

  • aText manages my keyboard shortcuts, of which I have accumulated quite a few in the meantime: small set pieces up to whole (automatically adapted) e-mails.
  • With Atom I do many of my programmatic tasks.
  • Automator is an essential part to let my iMac do automated tasks. This alone would be worth a separate article: Automation helps me a lot to concentrate on essential tasks instead of spending time on busy work.
  • I use Bartender for aesthetic reasons. Constantly visible in my menu bar I only have the time, Time Out and BusyCal.
  • Also BetterTouchTool belongs to the automation tools. Mainly I use it for the concept of Hyper Key.
  • I manage my calendar with BusyMac, also because I get my scheduled tasks (“reminders”) displayed there as well.
  • I have way too many books, and they are no less in Books. What I like: extensive notes syncing across all devices, and somehow always having something in between to read.
  • If I ever need to rehash an e-book, calibre helps. How can software be so ugly and practical at the same time.
  • Sometimes I’m too lazy to translate texts myself, and that’s where DeepL helps me.
  • If I ever order something, I want to be informed about where the packages are: Deliveries.
  • For my researches in the internet DEVONagent is indispensable.
  • DEVONsphere](https://www.devontechnologies.com/apps/devonsphere) is a kind of contextualized Spotlight: applied to a document in the Finder or mails in my mail program, it shows very reliably related, connected and similar documents and mails.
  • The one or other project I’m following or by myself is represented for the exchange around it with Discord.
  • With Reminders I also manage my tasks.
  • To work with tasks/reminders I often use GoodTask for the Kanban-like boards.
  • Goldie App I use because then I do compose “things” on my screen in golden ratio surprisingly often.
  • With iA Writer I manage my OVERWRITING.
  • iTerm2 is my terminal of choice.
  • For good reason, I don’t trust software vendors, and Little Snitch does a delightful job of squealing where programs connect — if I let it.
  • I use MarsEdit to manage my blog content.
  • Music because I can’t stand Spotify for looks alone. Always runs full screen.
  • Even though I love music, Noizio runs often enough: the virtual coffee house ambiance for home. Actually makes me focused.
  • In Notes I record instructions and data.
  • As part of my automation, PDF OCR X Enterprise Edition helps me make PDFs searchable.
  • Pixelmator Pro is slowly morphing into my photo editing tool of choice, and I also set my OVERWRITING in it. If it still had four-point perspective correction, it would be “perfect”.
  • For surfing, I use Safari: not only because the browser is fast, but also because all the websites I’ve ever visited are searchable with Spotlight.
  • Signal I use for confidential communications.
  • I can hardly put into words the power and usefulness of Spotlight in my work, because a CMD spacebar has become synonymous with outsourced knowledge access at my place. Almost all content that is on my devices, or that my devices have access to, I can find that way. I am not exaggerating when I say that I consider Spotlight to be one of the greatest inventions in information technology.
  • Sync Folders Pro](https://www.greenworldsoft.com/sync-folders-pro-help.php) always keeps my most important documents synchronized on an encrypted USB and network drive.
  • I almost always write text in Markdown, and TableFlip is essential for tables.
  • Tampermonkey is a very useful extension for Safari, for example to unclutter Facebook or to show “read on one page” directly on various websites.
  • The Unarchiver can unpack things that macOS can’t.
  • Time Out helps me take regular breaks.
  • For working with some clients, Tor Browser is essential.
  • Transmit I use to copy files from my devices to my servers in a very oldschool way.
  • Tweetbot is my app for the only social network that I use to share.
  • After neglecting my creative writing, I started using Ulysses again — and now write a lot of other writing, like my articles, with it again.
  • My ad blocker of choice is Wipr.
  • WordCounter as a pure vanity metric and just something to drive me: the program tells me how many words I’ve written in total in a day (so far).

iOS

  • 1.1.1.1 is my “default VPN” and does its job, transparently.
  • With Authy I maintain my two-factor authentication.
  • I feel like a hacker and reminded of good old times with Blink. Since I run a couple of my own servers, I can’t get around it.
  • I also read Books on the iPhone. Of course also on toilet.
  • Deliveries also shows me on the go that the parcel delivery guy just dropped the card in again instead of ringing the neighbors.
  • Also on the way I like to look into the exchange around the one or other project at Discord.
  • I also use Reminders on my mobile devices.
  • On the iPhone, I kind of only occasionally use iA Writer as a notepad — which at least syncs instantly with all other devices.
  • Instagram I use exclusively for my OVERWRITING.
  • JotNot Pro is the first step into a paperless office. And into my automation, for that matter.
  • What ShortCommands can and does is worth a whole book. Do I include it under “automation.”
  • When I listen to music, I do it with music. Not only having constant access to what feels like the entire world’s music catalog, but having access to gems I’ve collected wherever I am is nice.
  • Notes serves the same purpose as on iMac.
  • Procreate Pocket when I doodle.
  • PS Express I use for only one function: perspective correction of photos.
  • Safari for the same reasons as on iMac, and like iMac, everything on the iPhone is searchable with Spotlight.
  • For work with some clients I need secure communication, and for that I use Signal.
  • For mobile data exchange to my servers, I also use Transmit.
  • Because it syncs beautifully with iOS, Tweetbot is also my app of choice for Twitter on mobile.
  • Unexpectedly, I also use Ulysses to revise my texts on the go.
  • Wipr also blocks ads on iPhone.

iPadOS

In addition to or different from the apps on my iPhone, I also use the following apps on my iPad: