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Our Daily Drivers: The Tools We Use Episode 37

Our Daily Drivers: The Tools We Use

· 43:24


Colin: Welcome to Build Learn.

My name is Colin.

CJ: And I'm CJ.

And today we're going to share some of
the tools we use to get things done.

And this is the first episode
we're recording in 2024.

So we made it

Colin: Yeah, I figured getting
into some tools is like a good way

to chat about getting things done
without worrying about resolutions

and goals and all that kind of stuff.

CJ: totally.


I I can't remember when did we start
like our first podcast recording?

I think it was in the summer after
a RailsConf or after a RubyConf, but

I don't remember what year it was.

Colin: Yeah, August 2022 I think
was like when that trailer went out.

And so we're kind of going
up against what is this?

This is the 37th episode.

And a little fun fact, but when, when
podcasts kind of die, it's called

pod fading and most podcasts don't
live past their seventh episode.

So you know, best laid intentions,
people try to, try to do the thing.

I've seen a lot of podcasts that
only do like one or two episodes

and then they're just done.

So not too bad, 16 months, 37 episodes.

We're still at it.

CJ: Yeah, I think one thing that has
helped me this time around is having

you to kind of keep me accountable.

And like, I feel, I feel some like
obligation in a way to show up when

I know that like, Hey, you're going
to be on the other end of the line.

And so if you know, even on the days where
I'm not feeling it, maybe or whatever,

I'm like, it'll be fun to hang out.

And so I think that's one key
is like having a cohost and then

another key for consistency.

Is honestly just putting a
recurring event on the calendar.

Like if there's something there to
remind you, like, Hey, there's a

podcast episode that you're planning
on recording and it can move around.

Like we've probably changed
the date and time that we

record like three or four times

Colin: Right.

CJ: it doesn't always work on the day
or the time that we plan, but it's,

it's a calendar event that's there
that we have to like move around or

intentionally decide to delete it.

And so that seems to be a pretty good

Colin: Totally.

CJ: consistency.

Colin: Yeah, it's tricky because like
when we have a bunch of episodes.

already recorded and in the can, there's
a little bit more temptation to be

like, well, we could skip this week
cause we've got a few to fall back on.

But then you end up using that buffer.

And sometimes like, you know, if we
have trips or someone's sick, you

know, it's nice to have that buffer
for the emergency fund of sorts.

So it's good to, to rebuild
that and just be consistent.

So the magic of podcast editing,
you're going to be hearing this a

This is the first episode of 2024.

So let's let's dig into it.

What, what kinds of things
are you working on right now?

CJ: tons of stuff at Kraftwerk.

We are building out a bunch
more integrations and things.

But this last weekend I had tons of fun.

I just sat down on like Sunday afternoon
and had like my own little mini hackathon.

As part of the new year, I think we
always sit down and start to like,

talk about our money and our finances.

And a lot of it is around like
tax planning and like starting

to get all the docs together.

And so Nicole and I often will
like sit down kind of like reset

and talk about budgeting again.

And we learned that there is a button
somewhere on YNAB that lets you

say, like, start from scratch and
like, we're going to try this again.

So we kind of, she went through
and reset all of our budgets.

And now that Mint is shut down, I know we
talked about this a couple episodes ago,

but I was really missing just being able
to go and look at, you know, just high

level, what are the balances looking like?

And there is a new API
that Stripe released called

Financial Connection Accounts.

Which is a way that you can pull
balances and transactions for

lots of different institutions.

And so I was like, Hey,
I want to try that out.

So I built this thing called buckets,
which is, I kind of like think

about managing my money as like
just a bunch of buckets of money.

And It's up and running and I was able
to finally able to connect almost all of

our accounts, which is like pretty sweet.

And for those that we couldn't
connect, I like manually added those.

So super, super fun, little
live tweeted hackathon from

my couch on Sunday afternoon.

But yeah, it was a blast.


Colin: have to go look up those tweets.

I've definitely missed those, but
it's a great name for what it is.

I think people think of it
as like envelopes or buckets

and you know, everyone treats
personal finance is personal.

So everyone kind of treats it
differently and everyone's looking for

the one size fits all app right now.

And it's like everyone kind of approaches
and thinks about money differently.

And yeah, that's, that's cool.

Let's try pass that.

Now I'll have to check that out.

I know they were like starting to get
into the more treasury type space.

CJ: Yeah, I think part of it was,
well, yeah, there's other, there's like

other providers that let you do this.

I think FinCity or Teller and some
others and Stripe is just one of them.

And it's actually quite expensive.

There's like, for some things
it's 10 cents every API call.

And so I'm like, that's kind of wild.

Like, I don't think I want to do this or
like, I don't think it makes financial

sense if I'm, if, even if I'm just
trying to pull people's balances for.

You know, a family that might
have 20 different accounts

spread across different things.

Like, it probably, it would be
tough to get them to pay, you

know, a monthly fee that would
equal the cost just for the API.

So, I don't know, it would be worth
it to dig in and figure it out, but,

yeah, it's been, it's been fun to build
and I'm glad to have some North star

metric that I can pull up now again.

And yeah, so I guess if people
are listening to this later, you

should be able to go to buckets.


dev if you want to get on the wait list
and I'll reach out to you and try to

try to show you what it's all about.

So yeah, that's what we're,
what we're working on.

We're building.

Colin: Very cool.

Yeah, you could I don't know if it
makes sense to do, like, credits or

make people put a card on file to
pay for those transaction fees, but

CJ: Yeah, I thought about doing

Colin: open API credits.

CJ: exactly like cost plus, like
you just pay as much as it costs

me to make these API calls.

And then like, yeah, exactly.

But yeah,

Colin: the hard part.

CJ: yeah, I'd love to show it to you too.

Cause I know that you've got like
tons of experience and research

done and in the finance app world.


Colin: Totally.

CJ: I have to carve out some

Colin: Very cool.

CJ: And,

Colin: so for me, I've been kind of
tinkering around with the docs at Discord.

That's mostly been my, my day to day.

Got a big project that can't talk
about quite yet, but I'll share in a

few episodes once it's live and, uh,
kind of pushed it out into the world.

So, uh, found like we had this
really strange thing, how we like

generate our sidebar for our docs.

And if any two pages had the same name.

the sub menu would like
unfold under both of them.

And so we've avoided just using
the same name of any two pages.

But now I want like, for this
new thing, I want an overview.

And there's an overview under
monetization, there's an

overview under like the game SDK.

So I finally figured out like how
the sidebar gets generated, where I

can go in there and figure out how
to like not have that duplication.

So we can have like a
getting started guide.

in a completely different area of the
product than like the main getting

started guide or different reference,
different overview, things like that.

So I think I've talked about it a
lot, but just kind of been diving down

that whole docs as code and technical
writer rabbit holes of like the

different philosophies around content.

And kind of as part of that.

I've binged listened to almost the
whole backlog of the Write the Docs

podcast which they don't do anymore.

They have, I don't know for what reason
they stopped in 2021 but there's a

few really good nuggets in there.

Some of the things I was dealing with.

Specifically, which was like, how
do you handle doing docs across

multiple repos, multiple projects?

If you want to like keep the docs close to
the source code, or do you put it all the

docs in one place and it's disconnected
from the source, things like that, that

They didn't have a definitive answer.

It's like kind of a, one of
those, it depends on company

culture and stuff like that too.


CJ: Yeah, when you're ready to launch
this new secret stealth thing, will

it be like a beta to start with,
or are there people already kind

of like in the beta right now?

Colin: yeah, we have some
people using the current docs.

They're kind of like private
and then we're making them more

public docs for something that
we'll be able to talk about soon.

CJ: Got it.

Is it like a hosted set of docs,
like they're going to be, or is

it kind of like in the GitHub
repos, or how does that work?


Colin: That has been like the big
struggle of like, do you keep the docs

again, like with the, the GitHub repo,
or do we put it in our like discord.

com slash developers docs?

And we do want them to be there.

So they are going to
be in the public docs.

But it's one of those things.

It's like, do people, when they
find something on GitHub, do they

expect the docs to be fully there?

Or is it annoying?

Like, would it be annoying
for you to read the readme and

then have to go to the docs?

I don't think it's necessarily annoying.

It's just, we have to pick one.

And we have to make sure we support that.

And so that we don't end up with like
broken links and things like that.

CJ: Yeah, it's interesting.

I don't know what the product
is but the, yeah, depending on

what is in the repo, like if the
repo is a library that's using.

An API or something, it's kind of tricky
because you want to document how the

library works in their GitHub repo,
but you want to document how to use the

library, maybe somewhere else or something
like, yeah, they might be like two

different things, which, yeah, it's, it's
definitely a tricky balance to strike.

And I've definitely.

I've seen, you know extremes
in both directions recently.

Like people have like getting started
and you just click this link and it

brings you to some hosted docs page.

That's nice and beautiful
and searchable and whatever.

And other times it's just like a giant
read me with all the steps, you know?


Colin: It's like a link to
a random Apple notes on some

developers phone or something.

CJ: Yeah.




It sounds like that's coming along.

I I'm sure it's there's a lot of
anticipation and excitement around

launching too, and probably like
maybe a little bit of a little

bit of anxiety, but I'm, I'm I'm
excited to see what you guys launch.

Colin: Yeah.

It's going to be fun.

CJ: Awesome.

Let's talk about tools.

Tools are so fun.

Yeah, it's like the, one of the, I don't
know the things we like to nerd about,

Colin: Totally.


I figure, you know, a lot of
podcasts do like a year in review.

This will be more of our tools in review.

So I broke these down into categories
and we can kind of just go back

and forth and kind of riff on them.

If there's any other ones that
come to mind, we can add those in.

But yeah, I guess, I mean, it's almost
like a, an Emmy award show or something,

but let's do the first category is
what terminal are you using these days?

CJ: terminal.

So right now, and probably for the
last year and a half or so, I've been

using warp, which is I think they
pitched themselves as an AI enabled.


They've got a few interesting
features built in where you can use

like a pound sign and then type out,
you know, a request and it'll ship

it off to GPT and then come back
with some command that you can run.

And I want to say it's written in
rust so it's like pretty fast or

whatever, but it is not as feature
rich as some other terminals.

So yeah, warp.

How about you?

What are you rocking for
the terminal these days?

Colin: I am just rocking
iTerm2, so a classic.

I don't really I don't think I use
most of the features, I just, very

bare bones you know, I go in and
replace the original terminal and

the dock and all that stuff every
time I have a new computer to set up.

But yeah, pretty straightforward.

And then, uh, I guess the next category
would be, like, how we customize that.

So I use Oh, my Z shell for the most
part and love to use the Dracula theme,

which we can, we'll, we'll post links
to all of these things, but I use the

Dracula theme, which I should know
who designed this, but there's like a

whole website for it, which is amazing.

Just Dracula theme.


CJ: Yeah.

I find that when I'm feeling particularly
like like I want to procrastinate, I go

and mess around with themes like my Vim
theme and my terminal theme and whatever.

So yeah, I'm also using Omai Zeesh
with a custom theme that is forked

from Sarah Drasner's Night Owl.

And I th Yeah, it was, I think it
was like the closest one I could find

to stripy colors back in the day.

And so then I just copied it and
tried to make it feel on brand.

And so, yeah, I've kind of just
continued to use that as my, my default.

Colin: Yeah, I'll say like I used my main
editor used to be textmate and that the

themes that were in there when it like
first came out have really like literally

influenced like my future themes since
I'm always like trying to find things

like like what I had in textmate which
yeah, kind of brings us to editors.

What are you using as your main editor?

CJ: My go to right now is NeoVim, and
I have been Actually, like this last

few weeks, I've been experimenting with
some new plugins to try to get things

working even faster and smoother.

So FZF, I was using FZF for my fuzzy
finder, but I just installed telescope,

which also uses FZF under the hood, but it
gives you like a bunch of like previewing.

So when you try to open up a
new file or like if you're in

a project and you basically.

Command P or control P or
whatever to fuzzy find a file.

It'll give you like a type of
head thing that you can type into.

And then when it finds a result,
like it'll preview the result

that you're looking at in a
second pane, which is pretty dope.

And then I use a bunch of T POP things
for Vim rails and comments and get

with Vim fugitive using Vim tests to
like run my tests directly from Vim.

And then.

Ale for linting co pilot,
which is another T POP thing.

And a couple of weeks ago, I installed
this tool called Butterfish, which

was written by a former Stripe.

And this is kind of like the brushes
that are built into VS code, where you

can, from directly from Vim, you can
say like write a Fibonacci function

or something, and then it'll put it
in line, or you can say like refactor

or explain this or some really cool
tools that are built directly into.

Directly into your editor.

So yeah.

How about you?

What are you rocking these days?

Colin: Yeah, I, well before I
do that, I think the, I forgot

about the copilot brushes.

I don't know why I haven't, they're like
in my editor when I'm in there day to day.

But there's some handy ones in there
and I totally forgot about this.

So yeah, I'm running VS Code.

It's something that we use
at work, but also just kinda.

I think I had used, I went from like
textmate to sublime to eventually Adam

and now firmly in the VS code land.

Not, you know, writing,
I use it for Markdown.

I have some good Markdown
extensions for that.

Including one that I'll link that's
more of like a grammar spelling one.

Which has been nice because there's some
really cool ones out there for doing like

very intense styling for like your, you
can create a style guide for your company.

But and that's like veil.

sh would be one of those, but it
was a little too restrictive for us.

And so now I use I don't actually know
how to pronounce it, but it's L A T E X.

How do you pronounce that?


I think it's actually pronounced
differently, but I've heard

it pronounced differently.

That also could be the French
folks that I was working with.

And so yeah, VS code also
has the Dracula theme.

So my terminal and my editor
match which is always fun.

CJ: nice.


You got the the matching pants and jacket.

Yeah, I, uh, I think my,
yeah, I can't remember.

I think my editor is like slightly
different than than the terminal,

but I do like it when it matches.

So that's cool.

Do you find yourself using
the built in terminal?

That's like part of VS code when you're.

Doing terminal stuff or do you
like jump back to iterm two?


Colin: both.

So I'll use the terminal and VS code
the way that we build stuff at discord.

We use something called coder.

So we have like remote instances
that we're building in.

And so I'm actually remote connected in
VS code to that instance and using that.

And then sometimes I, I think of
my terminal as my local machine and

then the terminal and VS code as.

The remote machine.

So some people I think use iTerm to
do remote connections into their coder

instance, and then, you know, now you have
to know like which terminal is your remote

instance and which one's your local one.

I'm sure there's some cool tricks out
there to like change the theme based on

which one you're connected to and all
that kind of stuff, but I like to keep it.

pretty easy and just use VS
Code for the remote stuff.

CJ: That's a, so that's, I guess
that's the editor's category.

Should we jump over to
API tools and clients?

Colin: Let's do it.

CJ: All right.

Next category.

What are you using these days
for like a, yeah, API client.

Colin: So, I mostly use what's
now called just the RapidAPI app.

It used to be PAW.

So, I don't know if, I
think this is Mac specific.

They might have had a Windows version.

But I was always a fan of Paw and
they got bought by RapidAPI, so now

it's the RapidAPI icon in my doc,
but Very similar to Postman, very

similar to Insomnia, things like that

CJ: never heard of PA.

I need to check this out.


Colin: yeah,

CJ: Awesome.


The I've been using Postman late,
like most recently, but before I

used insomnia, uh, and the thing
that I, that kind of like sold me on

Postman is that a lot of API companies
will have a Postman collection

that you can download and install.

And so, yeah, I just started saving those
off and kind of building, building like a.

A portfolio of different, uh,
collection of collections and

each collection is like a company.

And then each of those companies has
like lots of different API endpoints

in these directories and syncing
that back to my Postman account.

So that if I open up on a different
machine, it's kind of like pre

saved all my stuff for dev.

So yeah, I think I'm pretty, pretty
solidly sold on Postman these days, but

we'll definitely need to check out Paw.

Colin: Yeah, I, there's something
about the, how polished Paw is,

like, I want to use Postman, I, but
it's just, it feels a little clumsy.

To me, or from a design perspective,
it's a little bit less so, and I don't

know, I don't use it that much, but
it's nice to have like some collections

that I can like rerun and so forth, so,

CJ: Next category, content
creation and editing.

Colin: yeah, so podcasting,
video, what, what kinds of things

are you using for all of that?

CJ: I, yeah, I've collapsed all of that
content creation stuff down into Descript.

So I'm using Descript for podcasting,
using Descript for video, screencasting,

vertical shorts, TikToks, all the things
are now happening in Descript for me.

Yeah, it, uh, I like that it
consolidated and removed all of

the different import export steps.

What about you?

What's yeah, what are you using
these days for that content stuff?


Colin: Um, I don't really, I
think Descript is my go to now.

I'm not yet got to the point in the
screencasting course where I'm like

doing too much other video stuff.

Usually my go to is Webflow for,
for videos, not Webflow Screenflow.

Yeah for like kind of screen recording.

Surprisingly, I do like Loom, but I
don't currently have a subscription

for that in terms of just like.

Talking to the camera and recording
your screen and being able to

get comments and stuff on it is
like in line in the timeline is

probably the biggest advantage.

But yeah, I think for the most
part, Descript has become the

kind of a Swiss army knife of,
of content creation these days.

CJ: hmm.

Yeah, I sent my first Descript
quick recording, which is kind

of like a loom the other day.

And there weren't comments on it or
anything, but there were a couple of

integrations in loom that I preferred
where like loom will tell you, okay, your

loom has been watched one or three times
or something, or you got these comments

or these reactions on your loom that are
features I'm sure Descript will launch.

Soon if they haven't already, but
yeah, it's nice to just collapse

it all down into one tool.


Colin: Totally.

And less subscriptions for the,
the buckets of money that you're,

CJ: exactly one

Colin: your budgeting apps.

CJ: Cool.

Colin: I think the next category,
let's do kind of Mac helper apps.

So these are like, I'm thinking
apps that help you move around

windows, menu bar apps spotlight
replacements, those kinds of things.

What, what do you use?

CJ: I have been using Ray cast recently.

In place of spotlight slash
Alfred slash whatever.

And it's okay.

I, I feel like I, I don't know, I don't
use it as much as I could for sure.

I feel like I'm, you know, using less than
1 percent of the tools that are in there.

I'm also using key caster.

What else?

Yeah, I, I don't actually use a tool
to manage my windows, which probably

sounds like a serial killer type
situation, but no, yeah, I just, I

don't ever full screen or like I avoid
full screening anything and like.

I just manually adjust
the sizes of my windows.

I would say that most of the time I
stretch the windows to be full size,

but if I'm on a call like we are now,
then I will put the camera or like

the person's face underneath where
the camera is and then I'll kind of

like slide the other windows around.

But otherwise, Almost all the time.

I have everything full screen, which
I should probably just get some window

manager that makes that happen for me.

But yeah, do it the Neanderthal way.

Colin: you've lived this long without
one, you know, it does take some

learning to, to get used to it.


CJ: So what, yeah, like, what are
you using to, to manage windows?

Colin: I think I use, so I use magnet
right now and my, like, really the only.

use I use it for is there's a hot key
that will make whatever window I'm

in be half of my screen on one side.

And then the other one I can push
the other arrow and it'll do half

the other side of the screen.

So I'll usually do that with like docs
and an editor or terminal and a docks if

I'm like playing around with some, some
other site you know, that kind of thing.

So it's mostly for half and half
sometimes like I've seen some people

get pretty fancy or it's like bottom
left quadrant and top quadrant.

And when you have more screens, I'd
like to only work with one screen.

So I don't really have to worry
about like throwing things to

multiple screens and stuff like that.

So I also use Raycast, but
I use it literally the same

way only to launch things.

I think I found Alfred and Raycast
have better index for finding things.

Like, sometimes in Spotlight, you'll
type in the thing you're looking for

and it just doesn't find it fast.

Granted, I also haven't really
used Spotlight in years,

so maybe it's been fixed.

But love, like, how Raycast looks.

So, that's, that's the one for me.

I have some little particular ones.

I have one called Hand Mirror
that literally just shows

me what my camera sees.

So it's my little like green
room pre check like all of that.

So like when we're on a call right
now, I can obviously see it, but you

can pop it open and switch cameras
and just see it without having

to like broadcast your camera.

They have a feature where you can pay and
monitor your audio, but it's really just

like, is audio coming through or not.

What I actually want if anyone out there
has heard of this scene, this wants to

build this, it's on my list of things
to build is I want it like a, a DB like

decibel audio monitor in my menu bar.

So that I can see like if
our levels are just too low.

I have like a monitor in front of me,
like a hardware thing, but it, it goes

green, yellow, red for like if I'm peaking
and things, but it doesn't tell me how.

you know, how quiet or how, how loud I am.

So just because different software
treats audio a little bit differently.

Being able to kind of be consistent,
obviously we use Descript, so

it's like studio sound and stuff
fixes a lot of that for us.

But yeah, so that's another one.

CJ: Yeah.

Hand mirror sounds cool.

I usually open up photo booth and like,
you know, whatever, check my makeup and

make sure that I'm looking fresh before
going on, but or, and also Descript

has like They're a little monitor
and I think ScreenFlow has a monitor

too, but hand mirror sounds useful.

Another one that I forgot to mention
that we've got to drop in here is

Orlando built this tool called Dash Cam.

That is kind of like a dash
cam in your car where it's

always recording your screen.

And at any point you can say, you can
go back and say like, Oh, I want to

look at the last two hours of my screen.

So it's kind of like, you know, if
you've got a camera in your car as you're

driving, you see an accident, but you
don't think to like push the record

button before you, the accident happens.

So this is like recording
kind of like all the time.

And so kind of, kind of a neat tool.

So yeah, if you're
interested, go check that out.

Colin: Nice.

That's kind of like how like the modern
consoles are like recording a buffer

of like the last 30 seconds and so
you can have like your achievement

of like whatever, whatever cool
gaming moment you had you can still

get a video of it without having to
know that you wanted to record it.

CJ: right, cool.

Colin: magnet, raycast I think one other
one would be like, in the same kind of

category as like screenshotting, so I
use CleanShot, which I think they have

a free version, but the, I pay for it,
it's, it's, I think for you, I know

what you use, it's like the most modern
version of Skitch, um, it's very nice,

because I can record Like capture areas,
I can do scrolling capture, I can do

timers, I can record the screen as a
GIF or a video, you can annotate on it.

And it has a really cool UI for like the
screenshots don't end up in my desktop.

They end up in like floating on
my screen so I can just drag them

into whatever I'm using them.

Like throw them into Discord or whatever,
throw them into a GitHub PR and then

if I want them to be saved to my
computer, I hit save and it'll save it.

Cause I used to notoriously have like
a million screenshots on my desktop

or in another folder somewhere.

CJ: I feel seen because
that's my life, my desktop.

No one ever sees my desktop, including me.

Cause it's just littered
with like 5, 000 screenshots.

Colin: Yeah.

Well, do you use an app
to hide your desktop?

That's another, that's one I actually do.

CJ: Any app that is up is
hiding my desktop from me.

Colin: So I use an app called
hidden me, which literally shows

and hides my desktop icons.

So instead of having to like go clean it
up before I do a screencast, I just hide

all desktop icons and we're good to go.


CJ: which I've been using since, like,
I don't know, 2013 or 14 or something.

And it's this, like, free thing.

I think it came out of Evernote.

And I worked with this guy, John,
at MyVR, who is a huge Evernote fan.

And his, like, entire life
was run out of Evernote.

And he fought, like, he, adhered very,
very closely to the get things done,

like life framework and like used
Evernote really, really uh, intensely.

And so he was a big fan of Skitch.

And so I picked it up and then
just never stopped using it.

And anytime I need to annotate, I
just pop in there and point arrows

and draw squares and that's it.

So but I have

Colin: one of their longest
running customers at this point.

CJ: I've heard great things
about clean shot though.

And every time I tell people that I'm
using sketch, they suggest clean shot.

So I'd need to give it a shot.

Colin: Hey, I mean, if it,
if it's not broken, don't

CJ: yeah, I love the idea of recording
like scrolling stuff or like just

certain regions of the screen.

My flow is like, I'll do
like command shift three.

Screen grab, command space, open sketch,
paste, and then draw an arrow to a thing.

Command shift V, like, or then I'll
like command shift 4 again, re screen

grab sketch itself, and then paste
it into whatever, like, app I'm

using to like send the screenshot.

So that I'm never, like, I'm always
basically just using the clipboard.

Like I'm just into

Colin: you're using the
default Apple clipboard.

CJ: Yes.


Straight through the Apple clipboard.

Yeah, exactly.

Colin: Yeah.

Clean shot is a little aggressive
in that you have to go disable

the default native screenshotting.

Like all of the, you can still
use the keys, but you're literally

turning off the Apple screenshotting.

And this is like takes over.

So it.

Yeah, it's just very different,
but also it's not free, right?

So, Skitch, there's pros and cons there,
and I think screenshotting a screenshot

on a Mac doesn't, like, make a copy of
a copy worse, like, like a photocopier,

whereas, like, I don't know what it
is about some of the mobile apps, but,

like, when people screenshot things from
Instagram and then re upload it, each

one gets progressively worse because it's
compressed and compressed and compressed.

CJ: Yeah.


The other thing that is super annoying
about sketch is that when you go to

close it, every time it's like, are you
sure you want to discard this thing?

I'm like, I never, ever,
ever want to save it.

Like ever.

Don't ask me this ever again.

And there's no way to tell it to do that.

And so every single time I go to close
it, I have to like get my mouse and

go navigate over and click the button.

That's like, no, I don't care.



Colin: Yeah.

I think we have a list of apps
here that we should talk to about

sponsoring the show in the future

CJ: oh yes.


And maybe was that,

Colin: They're like, oh we
don't really use Raycast, but

CJ: Ah, ah, ah, ah,

Colin: I will figure out what the
other 99 percent of the features

do if you'd like to sponsor

CJ: Right.



Colin: All right.

So the next Emmy awarding
category, we have notes apps.

What are you using for notes these days?

Work notes, personal notes.

CJ: Yep.

I, I have been using notion more and
more and more, and now I'm, I'm pretty

firmly into notion for a lot of stuff.

I would say, yeah, 99
percent is now in notion.

We use notion at work.

And so I have kind of like personal
profile and work profile that

I'm jumping between all day long.

And Yeah.

That's where we write we like write
a bunch of meeting notes in there.

We run projects.

Through there, we run this
podcast through there.

I have a, like an ideas board that I've
got running in their personal journaling.

Yeah, like basically
everything's a notion.

Yeah, I have never been like
a huge fan of Apple notes and.

I've been kind of a obsidian curious or,
you know, one of those other like note

taking, like intentionally dedicated
apps that are like just for note taking,

but I've never, yeah, never spent
time to like invest in one of those.

I guess they're called like knowledge.

What is it?


Colin: Yeah.

Like second brain or knowledge

CJ: Yeah, yeah,

Colin: type apps.

CJ: Right.

What about you?

Note, note taking stuff.

Colin: Yeah.

So I use too many.

I think this is another one of those like
attention deficit things, but a notion

for work and podcast notes like yourself.

I do use obsidian for
like longer form notes.

Like it's where I put my idea app ideas
when I like want to flush out an app

idea and sometimes I'll just leave it
there and then might come back to it.

CJ: Mm hmm.

Colin: and then I have a strange thing
where like I mentioned text me earlier,

I still put text me on all my computers.

It is not worked on to
my knowledge anymore.

But what's really cool about it compared
to almost anything else out there.

It's like when you open text me, you
can open as many windows as you want.

And they're super fast.

So like I use it as like a scratch pad
for like, I even like use markdown bullet

lists, like format in text mate just
to like make myself focus a little bit.

Or like leave myself a note that I leave
on my screen when I close my computer

for the day and it's just in text mate.

And so when I work through
those, I will close them.

I'm basically using that as like
a to do list, which is kind of

strange because it's not that.

But it works for me.

I usually end up with a whole bunch
of text made notes saved to my

desktop, just like my screenshots.

And then finally I do, I've
started using Apple Notes.

It's actually really good.

if you want to share notes
with someone without the

heaviness of Notion and things.

So like, collaborative grocery lists
or like, I remember like for Chanel

we had like a surprise party and
it was like, I was like, just add

a list of all of the friends that
you would want to hang out with.

And I was like, trying to be vague
add them to this list and then like,

who is this person and how do I get in
touch with them and things like that.

So it's really nice
because You can add to it.

We've done it for trips with friends too.

Like this is the itinerary.

When I was over overseas, I was
kind of like updating my itinerary,

like this is like, I made it, I
got on the plane, things like that.

So Chanel could actually see as like,
my trip was progressing, like, kind

of, kind of like a safety check-in,
but also just like knowing where I

was without doing like a creepy find
my friends or something like that.


CJ: That is, yeah, I could
definitely see the value in, in

sharing or collaborating that way.

We use any list and we have like
a shared grocery list on there and

that has worked really well for us.

But yeah, my brother.

Was doing standup for a little while
and he would write all his jokes

in his Apple notes on his phone.

And he had been writing jokes for
like years in these Apple notes and

something happened and he lost it all.

And so, yeah, since then I've been
like a little bit scared to, to use

it or like depend on it too much.

But I thought it totally like synced
to your iCloud and everything, but.

Colin: I think it does, but there's
like the magic there that I don't

know that you could go find the file.

Like, I don't know how that works.

Like, it's in iCloud somewhere, but I'm
sure it syncs to your, your, like, mobile

backups and stuff too if you do that.

CJ: Mm hmm.


Colin: I think, I feel like Apple Notes
kind of did what Evernote was trying to

do, but the tech was not quite there yet.

When, I mean, Evernote was like a darling
of the Notes space for so long and it's

just like launching it took Too long.

If you want to put something
into a note, took too long.

I used to use it as, like,
screenshots, images, text,

everything went into Evernote.

And I think my account's still alive.

I'd have to check that out.

But, yeah, that's notes.

I think we kind of round to the final two
core categories that I think everybody

has, which is calendar and email.

And this is kind of timely because
Things like hey email and hey calendar

CJ: Mm hmm.

Colin: Being pretty popular
these days from 37signals.

What are you using for calendar?

And what are you using
for email these days?

CJ: I use default just like
the browser versions of Google

calendar and Gmail for everything.

Pretty boring, but it works.

I would say like the one interesting
thing, maybe if people haven't done

this already, as you can turn on hotkeys
or like keyboard shortcuts in your

Gmail, there's like a setting and then
you can, you can navigate around like

crazy fast with just like with keys.

And so One of like, I would say like
one of my productivity hacks is like go

into Gmail and then use like J and K to
move up and down through the list and

then X to like mark them as read or not
read or like, I'm going to delete these.

And then you can use E to archive it.

And so you can just kind of, I don't
know, work through pretty quickly.

Yeah, exactly.

Colin: for email.

CJ: Right.


And then yeah, Google calendar, just
Google calendar itself works pretty well.

How about you?

Colin: Nice.

Are you using like Chrome personas
to be able to switch between those?

CJ: Yes.


So I, okay.

So yeah, so I have my personal Gmail
calendar, which is like my life stuff.

And on there I'll share things like,
Oh, my son has swimming lessons today or

we've got to I don't know, pay this bill
or we're going to a wedding or whatever.

And then I'll share my personal calendar
with my work calendar and vice versa.

So that if I, yeah, if I'm like
looking at my work calendar in my

work persona, then it'll just see
like, Oh, you're busy on your personal

calendar for a certain amount of time.

And I'll know like, okay, that's
because the kids have, you know,

soccer that day or something.


Yeah, just kind of switching between
those two different personas.

Yeah, before you get to yours, did you
see that Notion released a calendar too?

I think it was like this week.

Colin: Yeah, is that a calendar
block or is it a calendar feature

in Notion cuz I'm in your Notion
right now So I can't really tell

CJ: I think it's like
a completely separate,

Colin: cuz calendar view has
been a thing for a while.

CJ: yeah, no, it is like
a, a whole new thing.

Yeah, so Jay Z, um, this guy worked at
that Stripe now, is now at Notion, and

I know worked on this, like launching
this new calendar thing, which is.

Colin: very cool so now Notion's trying
to become the Everything app which I

mean for a lot of Notion stuff like I
think calendar will make sense for people

CJ: The, yeah, the productivity
in Notion is great.

I'm excited to see where they take that.


Colin: Yeah.

So for me, I also use the
standard Gmail and Google calendar

for the most part on desktop.

I also use fantastic cow.

So what's kind of cool about that
is I have all my Google accounts

logged into and you can create a
profile so I can switch between Reno

collective discord personal, or I want
to see all of my calendars overlaid,

which is like, you know, Insanity.

CJ: yeah,

Colin: and what's, it's fast.

I mean, I think my discord one's
my default one when I like create

events and things like that.

And I mean, I get away with
probably doing the exact same thing

and Google persona profiles too.

But I, I am a sucker for very well
designed Mac apps and fantastic.

How is that?

That's why I use pod.

That's why I like things like clean shot.

And then Gmail.

I use main gmail.

I have a pretty crazy customization to
gmail that I don't think will translate

to audio But maybe i'll i'll try to
find a link to where I found it like

over a decade ago But my email has like
a main feed and then like an urgent

Delegated, scheduled, like side feed
so I can move emails into these little

buckets just with like, with icons
so I'll maybe we'll put a screenshot

in the show notes for the first time.

I think I think we can do that.

I don't know if show notes support
images, but we'll find out.

Yeah, so I use that.

And then on my phone, I'm using like
the default mail app for all of my

personal and Reno collective email.

And then I use the Gmail.

For work so that if I get it and I only
have notifications on my work email cause

we use discord for almost everything.

So I, if I get an email, it's like
probably something I need to read.

But we don't get, we had like
a few emails a day at most.

And usually that's more like DevRel
inbound stuff than specific stuff.


CJ: Got it.

Yeah, I do the same on on mobile for sure.

Yeah, I love that you can switch
between the different Gmail

profiles pretty smoothly too.

Like that, that just, it works so cleanly.


Colin: Yeah.

Separation of concerns.

CJ: yes, exactly.


Colin: Very cool.

I think that's our winners for
our personal app awards for the

CJ: Yes.

Colin: The things that we use, the things
that command our time and attention,

that's the real winners right there.

CJ: Exactly.


Colin: Yeah, if you love the
show and want to share what apps

you use, you can tweet at us.

We don't talk a lot about our Twitter and
our You know, giving reviews for the show.

But if you want to help other people
find the show, you can review us on

Spotify, Apple podcasts, whatever
podcasting app you're using.

We're going to start getting
back into tweeting and doing some

audiograms and just trying to pull
the community together a little bit.

There are, there are dozens
of us, CJ, dozens of us.

CJ: Nice.

All right.

That's all for this episode.

You can head over to buildandlearn.

dev to check out the show notes
and the links and all the resources

and yeah, we'll see you next time.

Colin: Bye friends.

View episode details

Creators and Guests

CJ Avilla
CJ Avilla
Developer Advocate @StripeDev. Veteran. 📽 https://t.co/2UI0oEAnFK. Building with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript
Colin Loretz
Colin Loretz
I like to build software and communities. Building software at @orbitmodel 🪐 Coworking at @renocollective 🎙Sharing software learnings on @buildandlearn_


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