Here are objects I like. It feels to me that having good objects is underrated.

General rules I follow:

  • It’s okay to pay for something if it gives you more value than however-much-the-subscription costs.
  • Minimize unnecessary physical objects, but don’t be afraid of having good ones around.

Other People’s Objects

Other people have good objects, too. Many of them are probably better than mine. An incomplete list:

(I wonder if there should be a central list for this, or something.)

The Physical

Physical objects are very annoying. They have to be moved, stored, gotten from another room, etc. But some of them are worth it.

Technology

  • AirPods Pro for wireless earbuds that don’t hurt my ears over time
  • iPad + Pencil + a paper-like screen protector for Anki, scratch writing, and RemNote review (currently)
  • Kindle for reading (coupled with Calibre + USB transfer for ebooks)
    • I have the Kindle KT7, but there are better models these days.
  • Spectre C35 for an external montior
    • There are better monitors out there, but this one was a nice balance of cost and performance for me.
  • Magnetic USB-C adapter to make plugging in and out ridiculously convenient
  • Ergodox EZ for an incredibly quality keyboard that doesn’t squish my hands
  • Logitech G602 for a fairly speedy wireless mouse
  • Flexispot Motorized Standing Desk Converter for an effective standing desk that can fit in a dorm
  • A good USB-C hub for a desk setup where you can plug in and out with just one cable
  • A USB charging station with enough ports to top off every single device I own at a time

Potential Future Things

  • A Lumenator to make the room look like daylight

The Digital

A note: many of these apps are Apple products-only. This is kind of unfortunate. I suspect there are alternatives that are about as good on Windows, though.

Productivity

  • Krisp for never having to worry about noise in video calls again

  • Linux-only:

    • i3 for an efficient tiling window manager. (Sway is another option, but Wayland still has a lot of rough edges wrt screen sharing and cursor lag, so I wouldn’t recommend unless it’s required, e.g. for a mixed DPI setup.)
      • Flameshot for a powerful snipping tool
      • Redshift for making screens nicer in the dark
      • kitti3 for a quake-style dropdown terminal in i3
      • xidlehook for a better idle locker daemon
    • PulseEffects + Pipewire for noise suppression that’s only slightly buggier and lower quality than Krisp
  • macOS-only:

    • Things for a low-effort and pretty way to capture tasks
      • Shout out to Emacs Org Mode, though, which I used for several years prior.
    • Alfred for a slightly faster Spotlight
    • Karabiner-Elements for fixing macOS’s insane keyboard problems
    • SensibleSideButtons to fix the forward/back buttons on my mouse
    • Rectangle for window hotkeys
    • Dropover for making drag and drop ridiculously easy
    • MultiTimer for naming timers and counters

Notetaking

  • Anki for learning a language (currently Chinese!)
  • RemNote for a powerful knowledge base and amazing flashcard system
    • I tried Roam. It was okay, but it felt kind of cobbled-together (markdown? paste random js into your editor to add plugins? no spaced repetition by default?). RemNote is definitely buggier, but I feel that it wins out just because it seems like it got the data structure right.
  • Instapaper for queuing things to be read later without getting distracted in the moment
  • Mathpix Snip for amazing screenshot-to-LaTeX abilities
  • macOS-only:
    • GoodNotes for handwritten notetaking
    • Apple Books for a book syncing system that works well enough
      • I also used to use Calibre, but I realized that I don’t really need all of its complexity.

Development

Chat

  • Element for an open-source, end-to-end encrypted chat application with nice UX

Fun

Historical

Things I used to have, but no longer do. They might still be good for you, though.

  • MacBook Pro (M1, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) for an incredible-quality computer
    • I really enjoyed the performance and battery life, but ultimately, it didn’t “spark joy” since I disagree with Apple’s philosophy against user control.