6 min read

Life Stack (as of 2022)

Taking a pa(i)ge from Lillian Karabaic's Life Stack post I figured I'd share the software that rules my world āœØ

This is not #sponcon and I get 0 ad/affiliation bennies out of this - these are true recommendations from my laptop to yours šŸ’» ā¤ļø

cheery bearded and be-hatted man saying "Not an advertisement"

šŸŖ¢ Wrangling Chaos of Internet Browsing šŸŖ¢

as an internet denizen i come across vast quantities of information on the daily. my browsing habits resemble that of a squirrel stocking up nuts for the cold winter...or for my tech-minded friends BFS (breadth first search)

i've tried a few ways to organize bookmarks with built-in browser features, browser extensions and ultimately landed on Pinboard
for ease of use, no incessant bs UI/UX updates, reliability, and meshes with my personal eng values.

I started by importing my bookmarks from Firefox + Safari + Chrome (yes I had them scattered across 3 browsers! you see why I needed Pinboard) and slowly over time re-tagging and updating

top tags for paigerduty's pinboard. Largest are Shopping, technology, books, and fiberfrenzy

for now if I see something that would make a good present I tag it Shopping and person's name, anything fiber arts related goes to the catch-all fiberfrenzy and lit-wise anything I want to check out from the library or purchase goes in books.

tbh there's a LOT more I could be doing with Pinboard and tagging and "read later" but this is where I've landed for now!

šŸ“ˆ Bloggy Blog šŸ“‰

First, this is a Ghost blog aaaaand hosted by Ghost via the Pro plan.

And you may be thinking.... "Wow, paigerduty, why don't you use those fancy SRE skills and just host a static site on S3 yourself? Or do x/y/z it'll be SO much cheaper".

Look, I don't want to bring my day job home with me - I don't even like futzing with custom domain DNS stuff tbh I just want a site that, you know, works. I don't want to worry about updating dependencies, CI pipelines, security group rules...I just want to write, GIF it up, and go about my business.

Ghost provides all that and an exit path if I decide to self-host. Really the reason to go Ghost imo is the benefits of open source software - ability to extend, own your data/content, migrate hosting providers, support developers, etc.

This snippet from their site sums it up:

Built to Last. A product you can depend on. Ghost is open source, independent, and funded 100% by its users. No investors. No bullshit.

As I stood up my blog I knew that getting a peek into analytics was essential for understanding the reach and types of posts that resonate with folks.

I also knew that I didn't want to go the Google Analytics route - its overkill for my site, I am not interested in being "Googleable", and I like to support engineers by paying for my software šŸ˜€

Enter Fathom Analytics, thanks to an integration between Fathom <> Ghost setup was painless! Seriously. I want absolutely 0 friction running this site and so far been really chuffed with Ghost Pro + Fathom.

Also will take a quick sec to nerd out over their live product demo, nothing wins a devs heart quicker than being able to test drive a tool with realistic production data!

ā±ļø ADHD/Time Management ā²ļø

this is and will probs always be a work-in-progress but we are in a glorious age of beautiful UIs and interesting visualizations which the next apps imo nail.

for my brain I need visuals and I need external help to prioritize tasks and since plans tend to change as the day unfolds...any features that help me easily adapt the day's plan is a win

Llama Life was my first foray here which has a handy built-in countdown timer and a snazzy feature that adds up how long each task will take and calculates an "end of day" if you were to complete each item.

That comes in clutch when someone comes to me with an ad-hoc request or asks to meet.

Llama life to do list: plan my day 10m, schedule meeting with team 5m, get to inbox zero 15m

As much as I love llama life (and believe me I have to set aside my considerable adoration of alpaca to do so šŸ˜›) it doesn't yet quite stretch to meet my needs as a daily driver since it is a web app.

Structured App is available across the apple ecosystem (and yes pls I get the irony of me using Apple devices and loving OSS and indie developers).

and first off I mean amazing calming salmon (šŸ£) as the main app color? YES pls. moar pink tech!

Structured app phone screenshot showing working day list focused on Go Shopping 19m remaining 2/5 subtasks complete

everything I love about llama life is included in Structured with sub-tasks (if you've worked in Jira/Asana with me you know my need for sub-tasks)

šŸ“§ Electronic Mail

No big shocker that I have a Gmail account that at this point is a security risk to let go - that account has seen me through high school, college and beyond and is attached to god knows how many random sites.

As my inbox became almost unusable due to that address being sold, breached, available on LinkedIn, etc and tbh how long it takes big G to actually innovate on the daily driver apps (GCal and Gmail looking at you šŸ‘€šŸ‘€šŸ‘€) I went in search of a new email provider to set up a new digital life.

I've been told my memory is like an elephant's and in this case tucked away in my mind marbles was a former colleague's email hosted by Proton Mail . This particular colleague has A+ taste in software and has similar engineering values to me so I actually didn't do too much research before signing up but dug the e2e encryption since some people in 2022 are still! emailing! sensitive! info! in! plaintext!

Its been about 9 months since I started using ProtonMail and no complaints - they've even added a calendar to the mix which bodes well for me eventually hibernating my Gmail and moving to Proton full-time. No complaints from me.

šŸŒ WIKI šŸ“–

jury is out on personal wiki's tbh I am an ardent Atlassian fangirl and do actually pay for Confluence Cloud but installed so many add-ons page loads are sluggish af. <- that's most definitely a me-problem and why its not worth digging into here.

This year I tried out Obsidian, Craft, GoodNotes 5, with no real winners emerging. Each tool has a specific use case but nothing rises to the level of interconnections/integrations that I look for....

In the next year I'm going to experiment with something like a publicly available instance of NocoDB.

Backups ā˜ļøšŸ”™šŸ–„ļø

this one is easy - Backblaze all the way I love getting my lil email update "yo yr data is safe we backed it up"

I have yet to recover using a personal backup but am going to have my own disaster recovery (DR) exercise this winter break by factory resetting this baby and attempting a full recovery.

Ideally I'll have my dotfiles synced to source control and clean up some of the crufty files but I think its important to not only have backups but test them so whether or not I "feel" ready I'll be resetting anyways!


so there's the main components of my Life Stack these days.

Norman the black cat comfortably lays on a pile of towels in the closet framed by colorful string lights. He wishes you a warm winter holiday season