Old computers

Hardware and Software Tools of the Trade 2018

After several years, time has come for an update of my 2015 Tools of the trade post.

These are the hardware and software tools I work with in 2018.

Computers and other hardware

I’m still a Mac person (an old 2009 IMac and a 2010 MacBook Pro 13 inches, still reliable, albeit a bit slow). I have Windows on Bootcamp but I rarely switch to it.

No tablet or smartphone yet. Not needed them so far, except a couple of times when we got lost on vacation.

Information and Project Management

For information and project management, I remain faithful to my stalwart combination of DevonThink , Things, and Reminders, which comes with OSX. They are always open in my session. Included in my toolbox are Xmind for mind mapping and Scapple. But I realize I really do not turn to Xmind much. I have tried several brands of notebooks recently, but I stick to Leuchtturm .

No change for bibliography management. My tool of choice remains Bookends


For small documents, I write text files in TextMate or with Vim (a Unix text editor which also comes installed on OSX). I find myself working more and more with it. Very powerful and super fast.

Not much change in wordprocessing tools either. For everyday writing and accumulation of text Mellel remains my first choice. I occasionally switch to Word when I need to interact with Word people.

I must confess that I do not write in \LaTeX much anymore. No particular reason I think, except the fact that Mellel has gotten better and that I increasingly turn to Adobe InDesign. I still use Scrivener extensively and, as I just said, Adobe InDesign for more graphically demanding documents.

Correcting and editing in French and English is done with Druide’s fantastic Antidote. The OSX’s Dictionary is also always open (I have loaded dictionaries in French, English, German, Spanish and Dutch from the preferences).


To help me memorize things, especially in my case in learning vocabulary, I use Anki, a really nice open-source multiplatform software. I have started using it to learn Romanian (I have a lot of Romanian students) in combination with Duolingo and a few other ressources.

My presentation software of choice remains Keynote. Since my 2015 article, I have bought a Logitech R400 Wireless PresenterR400, which has really proven to be a plus.

My other tools remain TextExpander (though, not wanting to switch to the subscription model, I have not upgraded to the last version and do not intend to do so); 1Password for password management; ScreenFlow for screencasting; and Lightroom and Photoshop for managing and editing my pictures.

I have stopped using Yummy FTP-I just ftp through the OSX terminal- and Path Finder-I just go through the OSX Finder or Unix commands to manage my computer and my files.

In Short

That’s still a lot of software. I have to say that I increasingly resort to the terminal and Unix commands. It’s just simpler and more powerful than a lot of apps out there. The programs I work with the most are definitely DevonThink, Mellel, Scrivener, Things, the OSX Dictionary and Terminal. These are almost always open in my session.