Tools I Use

This is a list of tools I use for writing code, building this blog, etc. This list is broken down based on what I am using for what purpose. I do update this list regularly, so bookmark it and come back later for more updates.

NOTE: By default I link to Amazon because that is where I buy most of my own gear and also because I get affiliate commissions. It's not a huge amount of money, but it does help motivate me to keep creating useful content for you and everyone else. You can certainly find many of these products at Best Buy or EBay or your favorite local retailer too.

Computer & Accessories

The core tools are obviously my computer, mouse, monitor and so on. So let's start there.

MacBook Pro 13" Laptop

I've used both the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro and they are both fantastic. For personal use, most of the time the 13" is all I need and this is my go-to computer.

I have the older model 13" and I find it to be a great balance between having enough power to write code, do some lighter video eiting, and it is portable enough to take with me everywhere.

The only place where this laptop can be a bit of a letdown is in raw power. The 15" laptop can be spec'ed higher and for audio or video production. I really feel the lack of power in the 13" for doing anything beyond the basics in media production.

MacBook Pro 15" Laptop

At work my daily driver is a MacBook Pro 15" laptop. I've used various versions of the 15" MacBook Pro in different jobs and they are always great machines.

In general, I think the 15" MacBook Pro is a fantastic laptop for coding or doing any kind of professional level computing. If you make money from writing code or doing any sort of media production (video or audio), the extra performance of the 15" pays for itself pretty quick.

The only real downside of the 15" MacBook Pro is that while it is very portable, the 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air feel lighter and more portable. So, if you don't need the extra power you can save a few dollars and go with something ligher and more portable.

Dell 24" QHD Monitor

A high quality monitor makes programming better. First, higher resolution makes it so you can have more windows on screen and everything looks nice. Second, by having a large monitor, the laptop screen becomes a nice secondary monitor to put chat windows and such on.

I've worked on cheaper Lenovo HD monitors and really expensive Apple Cinema Displays. The Dell 24" QHD has been a great monitor for me. It seems to sit in the sweet spot between size, resolution, quality, and all of that. It's really nice and really simple.

In the future I might jump up to a larger 4k screen, but for now QHD at 24" is a very nice combination of size and resolution. 4K doesn't seem worth it unless I can go to a much larger 30-40" monitor size to really mazimize screen real estate.

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Desktop

Your mouse and keyboard are two of the most critical pieces to the puzzle when it comes to your long term health and productivity at work. Many years ago I struggled quite a bit with discomfort working on my laptop. Then I found this magical, affordable, ergonomic option from Microsoft. Yes, it works well on the mac as well as Windows.

These are so good that I own two sets - one for the office and one for home.

Sony WH1000X Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

Programming requires focus to get into flow. In many work environments there are too many distractions to get work done and a good pair of noise cancelling headphones ges a long way to blocking all of that out.

I have the first generation model and from what I can tell not much has changed in the two years since I bought mine. They sound great, block the noise well, and have some really handy gesture and touch features which makes them a joy to use. I love my Sony headphones for when I travel or work in a coffee shop. They've added hours of quality productivity that I woudln't have had otherwise. I'm sure they've paid for themselves many times by now.

Remote Work Essentials

I work remotely and these are the best tools I've found to make that entire experience work better.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

When working remote, a quality webcame is pretty much a requirement and the default laptop webcam has two major issues. First, it's not that good of a webcam. Second, when working with a second monitor, the camera position is all wrong. I work with an external monitor and the Logitech C920 mounted to that and it works flawlessly.

Also, this webcam is so good that I use it for a lot of the videos I make too. It adds a level of professionalism and quality I can't get with the standard built-in webcam. For about $50, it's incredible.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is an amazing microphone. First of all, I use it for video calls to have the best possible sound. When paired with my Logitech C920 HD webcam, I usually have the best quality video and sound on most calls. That might not seem like a huge deal, but looking and sounding as good as possible helps communication go as smooth as possible. There is nothing worse than doing a Zoom call and not being able to see or hear the other person well.

Also, like the Logitech C920, it is so good that I end up using it for a lot of video production work too. While you can spend more on a microphone, most of us don't need to. When it comes to buying a microphone, the Blue Yeti is a great value.

One last thing the Blue Yeti does so well is it has a headphone jack and independent volume control so that you can use any set of heaphones you have with it and monitor your own volume level as well as hear other people too. For video calls, this is a great and totally underrated feature.