Things I Use


These are a few tools, services, and products I’ve found useful or enjoyable. I have tried each one and currently own or subscribe to most of them. The links may include affiliate codes that will provide me a small credit if you purchase or subscribe to an item. See my core tech stack beneath the following table. 

ItemDescription
brain.fmDitch the distractions, supercharge your focus. Brain.fm’s music doesn’t fight for your attention, it fuels it. Forget mind-numbing playlists, unlock peak performance with rhythmic brainwaves woven into every note. Work smarter, not harder. Use my referral link now and enjoy a new depth of focus.
everand.comEverand’s website and apps provide access to millions of ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, sheet music, and more. Read what you want, how you want — across devices and even offline. Everand (formerly Scribd) proportions royalties to content creators based on consumption of their works. I have used old-school and AI-assisted web searching to research any claims of IP abuse, but have found no evidence. (I would like to know if you find evidence of compensation issues.)
Fathom.aiFathom.ai can capture Zoom and Google Meet video and generate time- and speaker-stamped transcripts and summaries. It can start automatically or manually. It automatically recognizes many languages. Fathom processes quickly and you can share results with a link. It’s a true time saver and learning booster. Just be sure to notify other participants when you will record. Fathom.ai (basic) is free. I find it extremely helpful for reviewing my Spanish language learning sessions.
ProWritingAidProWritingAid is the most effective automatic checker for grammar, style, readability, and dozens of other text content quality indicators. It works in real-time with uploaded text and through integrations with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, and other writing apps. Through browser plugins and extensions, it can assess and make real-time recommendations in any browser-rendered editing window. If you prefer to save editing for a post-drafting step, you can choose to bypass real-time suggestions and work only with completed drafts. I’ve tried the competing tools and none come close to ProWritingAid’s comprehensiveness, configurability, or accuracy. This is like having expert copy and line editors at the ready for every project. Here’s my referral link. Use it if you’d like me to receive an incentive if you sign up. Student Special! Get 20% Off ProWritingAid Premium!
Readwise.ioDo you want to recall more from the articles, books, correspondence, and other content you read? Readwise aggregates your highlights and annotations from content you read on the web, in Kindle and other ebook readers, and (grab your socks) even in physical books. Readwise can also use the proven learning technique, spaced repetition, to send you a periodic (I use daily) set of the quotes that are due for review, which can be in simple quote, fill-in-the-blank, or flash card format. This remarkable service can import from and export to an impressive number of sources and services. Put your highlighter pens on partial or full retirement. Use digital sources and tools to their full advantage to learn and remember more of what matters to you.
If you use my link and subscribe, I may receive a small incentive.
humata.aihumata.ai is an AI (GPT) based PDF auto-summarizer. It enables subscribers to summarize and converse with one or a group of PDF files. The implications for research are significant. This is a tool of particular value for learning and other sensemaking activities. The developer is an academic who needed to metabolize research articles more quickly to inform his own learning and research agenda. There’s a free plan that (as of December 2023) will let you interact regarding up to 60 pages from one or multiple PDFs. The platform uses enterprise-grade 256 bit SHA encryption to lock files added to the system. Files remain encrypted at rest (in storage) and during transmission (aka during site usage). Only allowed users can access content. Subscribers can share access with trusted contacts, who can then ask questions on ther document. Furthermore, the data is not used to train the AI.
If you subscribe using my affiliate link, I will receive a small monetary reward, which will not be charged to you.
Empower PersonalEmpower (formerly Personal Capital) Personal Dashboard is an excellent financial and retirement planning tool. Use the Dashboard at no cost. They will ask if you’d like to learn about Empower’s paid advisory services or to learn more about the savings account or investments, including IRAs, they offer. You can decline and continue using the Dashboard.
If you sign up using my affiliate link and obtain any paid service, I will receive a small referral incentive of $50, which will cost you nothing.
My Core Tech Stack
  • Discussion groups (support topical channels):
    • Slack (free version used for community discussion with several writing groups)
    • Discord (community discussions of various groups)
    • Mighty Networks (writing and course groups)
  • Secure messaging
    • Signal
    • Telegram
  • File sharing
    • Box
    • Dropbox
    • OneDrive
    • Google Drive
  • Online meetings
    • Zoom
    • Google Meet
    • Microsoft Teams
  • Social
    • LinkedIn
    • MeWe
    • Mastodon
  • Device ecosystem
    • Apple
      • macOS
      • iOS
      • iPadOS
    • Windows 11 (virtual)