Off Topic

My favorite dev tools, apps of 2019… so far.

I hate listicles, so lets not call it that even though this is one. Here are my favorite productivity tools of 2019.


I love terminal based apps

Primarily I use Vim and feel like I’ve finally mastered it. While everyone is moving to Visual Studio Code I’m sticking to the classic. I’ll use Gedit when opening a terminal window just seems like to much work to copy and paste something. I occasionally use Nano.

The last few years I used the the i3 window manager and gained an appreciation for the fantastic applications available for bash and the terminal. Git, htop, alsamixer, ranger, cmux, and the text based web browser links.


Geary email client
Geary email client

I use Geary as my email client. Its well designed, organized and almost fun, at the end of the day its email so reliability is key. I haven’t had a single problem using it.

At work I log into Office365’s web client. One advantage of using Linux in 2019, if there isn’t a native app there’s probably a web client to fill the gap.


Rhythmbox on Pop_OS!

Pianobar is an ultra lightweight terminal based Pandora Radio client i discovered years ago and is literally the only reason I still subscribe to Pandora radio.

Rhythmbox is a dedicated music and podcast app for my local audio library.


Gutenberg block editor for WordPress
Gutenberg block editor for WordPress

I’m a big fan of the Gutenberg block editor in WordPress, as such its become one of my favorite tools to take notes. Of course, those notes become more or less public so I curate what I take and publish. Currently, I’m working on a custom post type plugin to require a log in to view the posts but it’s not quite where I need it to be. More on that in the future.

Gnote is my favorite offline note taking app. If you’re looking for a quick to use few thrill notes app this one is hard to beat. You can link to other notes and notebooks by typing their headlines. How cool is that?

I use a Bullet Journal most frequently as I rarely find technology can replace a good notebook and a pencil. Unlike a phone, tablet or lapop I can drop the notebook from a 10 story building and pick it up and continue where I left off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pocket Notebook Combination
Typo Passport holder, two Field Notes pocket notebooks and a Fisher Space Pen

I also frequently carry a Field Notes pocket notebook in my front pocket next to my phone and a Fisher Space Pen in the opposite pocket.

I don’t use a phone based note taking app, I find them to slow and a phone keyboard inefficient.

Web Browser

Firefox homepage

Firefox has been my browser of choice since the Netscape / Mozilla browser days. Chrome never really gave me a passing interest. If you haven’t used it recently, give it a go.

eBooks & eMagazines

Calibre with the December 2018 edition of Linux Jounal

I have several tools in this category so I’ll keep it to a list

  • Google Play Books for proprietary titles and magazines
  • Nook for my Barnes and Noble library
  • Kindle for my tiny Amazon library (I’m not a kindle fan)
  • Kobo Books for a few titles
  • The Los Angeles Times android app
  • Calibre for everything else on my desktop


pianobar and liferea

I’ve been a longtime fan of RSS readers, I don’t like to randomly load up my favorite sites for the off chance that a blogger, vlogger, journalist, category, or topic has a new podcast, video, post or whatever. I use Liferea to bypass the homepage and go straight to the content.


System76 Galgo Pro 2018
The Galago Pro on a sunny afternoon last December

Last November I purchased a Galago Pro from System76 to replace my previous workhorse. The Galago Pro is a 13″ sub three pound ultrabook that’s a dream to code with and a fantastic tool for my relatively meager needs as a WordPress developer. If anyone’s curious I get 6+ hours on a full charge under a light load.

This is a response post to Chris Weigman’s “Tools of the Trade 2019

By Joseph Dickson

Joseph Dickson is a web developer in higher education and an avid proponent of using WordPressโ€™ core features to create flexible and manageable design solutions.

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