David Abbott Projects Ltd. Menu

The tools I use

July 2019

I’m a sucker for lists of tools other people use to get their work done. And as no tool is ever quite perfect enough I’m always on the lookout for alternatives. While most tools could be better, a few are pretty close. Pretty close or so engrained in my day-to-day that I would find a move away from them hard to imagine.

Services

Dropbox

I looked at other cloud backup services a few years ago before committing to Dropbox. There are lots that provide more granular control, and a few that are more secure – I know Dropbox isn’t perfect. But nothing is as straightforward and no-nonsense as Dropbox. Design-wise, Dropbox has always completely satisfied me. I use Google Drive for creating documents up there in the cloud, but Dropbox keeps all my stuff uber-shareable and nicely synced. And recently I’ve been making more use of Dropbox’s inbuilt version control. Dropbox is the most reliable service I have ever used. I don’t think twice about having to pay for it, and I never worry that it won’t work. That’s how I know it’s great.

Harvest

I track all time and issue all my invoices through Harvest. Their mobile app has been greatly improved recently and clients like the invoices that it outputs to them.

Adobe Creative Cloud

You just have to. I use Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. It pays my old Typekit subs, and I get to sync my Typekit fonts to the aforementioned programs which for me is the standout feature. And that’s about it.

Other webfonts

I've got in the expensive habit of choosing fonts that I can't find through most webfont services so pay the foundry direct each and every time. But other than Adobe Fonts I use Fonts.com.

Amazon S3 & Rackspace

I backup to both of these services. They’re both easy and cheap. And a quick aside: I don't use Amazon.co.uk to shop with because I abhor almost all of their business practices.

Mailchimp

Because Mailchimp.

Instapaper

I save lots to Instapaper but then forget to look. I don't use Instapaper anymore. I've left it on here because it deserves a mention.

Apps

Coda & Transmit

I code in Coda. I chose it years ago and while there are aspects of it I don’t like, it’s friendly and doesn’t frustrate me. Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but really Coda does just fine. I use Transmit or Cyberduck to FTP larger stuff.

Google Maps

I haven’t used Apple maps since their disastrous launch. I’m sure they’re better now but I wouldn’t move from Google. For me, mapping is the best – maybe even only – reason for owning a smartphone.

Flipboard

I bought my first iPad so I could use Flipboard. I loved it. I still do. It’s the way I look at Twitter, and it houses my extinct Google Reader RSS feeds. For me it’s still such a great way to view content.

Instagram

Because I sometimes take photos and sometimes like to look at the photos other people sometimes take. Find me on Instagram here and here.

Spotify

Man, streaming music is tricky. I used Rdio. I miss Rdio. I moved to Spotify (boo) but actually it was alright (yay). But I was always frustrated that a big part of my music library lives only in iTunes. I trialled Apple Music when it first launched and it turned my library inside out. So I have come to terms with two music libraries – one in iTunes, and one in Spotify. Find me on Spotify here.

Hardware

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is my favourite piece of Apple hardware. Ever. It has all the power I want, is super portable and with a Thunderbolt display makes my life easy as.

15″ MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is a great piece of hardware in the grand tradition of mostly great pieces of Apple hardware. It probably has more power than I need and is way heavier than my MacBook Air so next time around it’s back to the Air.

Thunderbolt Display

See above. Laptop follows me around. Large display stays at work.

iPhone

I Instagram, use maps and sometimes sketch on my iPhone. I still love it as hardware but really find the whole addictive-phone-thing hard to shake.

Other

Fount

Tells me what webfont a website is displaying. Nice.

Coolors.co

Colour scheme generator. Veeeery useful.

Topo Designs Klettersack (backpack)

My friend Chris has one of these. I liked his so much I bought one that's basically exactly the same. Just as long as we're not wearing them together I think that's OK? Here's a photo of Chris with Bill Clinton wearing one of my Big Rock Candy Mountain tshirts (under his other shirt).

Drawing

I use pen or pencil and paper. Specifically a Moleskine A4 hardback plain sketchbook, Pigma and Tombow pens and a mechanical pencil with HB lead.

AeroPress

There's no better way for me to make a coffee. And it's great for camping. If you're interested I use the inverted method and wet the filter first.