My Toolkit


My primary machine is an Apple iMac, 2010, running OS X 10.6. I switch between that and a 13" Macbook Air. The latter usually comes with me whenever I head out to cover tech events, as does my Canon Kiss X50 (aka 1100D, T3). I’m just starting out with photography, and this is sort of a baby DSLR – but I’m liking it. Lenses to date: 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8 1, and f/2.8 Tamron.

Work Environment

I live in Tokyo, and although my home office is a little bit old fashioned, I like it a lot. As I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and I don't want my back to revolt, I've set up a workspace that is sort of a hybrid between a standing desk (front) and a normal sitting desk with a balance ball (around back). The desk is the Fredrik model from IKEA, which I found on sale for about $90 last year


  • TextMate - This text editor is a favorite among programmers, but I use it daily as my word processor and blogging interface.
    • I also use Brett Terpstra's excellent MarkedApp as a markdown preview for TextMate, as well as these fun little scripts when I need to start a new post.
    • Byword - If I'm going to be writing for a while, it's always nice to go full-screen in Byword. If you write for the web, you need this.
    • TextExpander: Great app for more text shortcuts, system wide.
  • Google Chrome - Still my browser of choice, by far.
    • Chrome extensions:
      • OS X Markdown service tools - A number of Markdown services from the amazing Brett Terpstra, but most importantly it gives you Markdown links from all open Chrome tabs
      • Awesome Screenshot - Particularly useful if you need a full-length screenshot of a web page.
      • Rikaikun - Mouse-hover Japanese dictionary
  • Colloquy - This IRC client is open at all times for real-time communication with everyone at in our ‘virtual newsroom.’
  • Dropbox - Backs up all my necessary documents. Good for sending large files.
  • nvAlt - Sort of like Evernote, but better. Plain-text notes synced across multiple machines via Dropbox.
  • Echofon - Not outstanding, but I have yet to find better.
  • Skype
    • Skype Call Recorder - Great for recording interviews with people in remote locations.
  • Quick Cal - Great application for quickly adding items to Apple's iCal, which I sync with Google Calendar.
  • Adium - Solid all-purpose instant messenger program.
  • VLC - Great all-around media player.
  • Apple's iPhoto for photo management
  • My Little Pomodoro: A fun application for tracking work time.
  • Geek Tool: A tricky app to use, but handy for displaying stuff like upcoming events and to-do items on your desktop. Check out the many geeklets too.
  • TaskPaper: Very quick, very handy to-do app. This geeklet lets you display upcoming tasks with GeekTool (mentioned above).

iOS Applications

Writing apps

  • Byword - A great writing application which can sync to Byword on a Mac via iCloud or Dropbox.
  • Writing Kit - Another great Markdown writing app. I bounce back and forth between this and Byword depending on my mood.
  • Text Expander - Canned snippets on the go.
  • Notesy - My mobile interface to nvALT notes
  • Poster - Mobile Wordpress access

Reading apps

  • Reeder - Awesome interface to Google Reader feeds
  • Slow Feeds - Similar to Reeder, but only takes the smaller publications, the feed items you may have missed.
  • Pocket - 'Read it later' application

Other apps

  • Camera+ - A step up over the native camera app
  • TaskPaper - Mobile interface to Taskpaper mentioned above
  • Glassboard - Private photo and message sharing for family
  • Zaim - Personal finance app
  • Scanner Pro - Scan documents with your phone


  • Dropbox link collection
  • Dropbox public link script - Sends file to Dropbox public folder, and copies public link to clipboard
  • iTunes latest podcast script


  • Google Advanced Search - A domain-restricted search, that really comes in handy when searching your own site archives.
  • Facebook share - Handy for quick sharing to Facebook
  • Word count of selection - Get word count of currently selected text

Web services

  • Google Docs - At Penn-Olson we do a lot of collaborative editing in docs. Google Spreadsheets is also invaluable for storing and charting key data, as well as occasional web scraping.
  • Grooveshark - For when I need some tunes.
  • Google Reader - My newsreader of choice. The keyboard shortcuts make it easy to plough through lots of info quick.
  • - This is particularly useful when used to direct a Google Reader bundle feed to Gchat, and then to Adium. Essentially it's a real-time news wire, with Growl alerts popping up whenever something is published.

  1. I’ve been playing with the 85mm whenever I have to cover volleyball. So far it has been great.