I use many browser plug-ins and utilities to make using the computer easier or more productive. Here are a few of my favorites.

Chrome extensions

I use these Chrome extensions on a regular basis.


OneTab lets you collapse your open tabs into a OneTab tab group. The tabs are no longer in memory. You can then expand the tab group again, or delete the tab group.

When I'm doing research I will open a bunch of tabs. OneTab keeps me from having to close all those tabs by hand.

1Password or LastPass

I have historically used 1Password for my home passwords. I'm now using LastPass for work passwords. This way you can generate strong passwords and not need to remember them.

EverNote/OneNote extension

I'm using Evernote at home and OneNote at work.

Marinara (Pomodoros)

Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant lets me time myself with "pomodoros"–25 minutes of focus followed by 5 minutes of break.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere tries to use https: connections to web sites when possible, so that web connections are secure by default.

Ears: Bass Boost

Ears: Bass Boost is a silly one but sometimes videos (e.g. on Amazon video) are too quiet. This extension can make audio louder.

Don't Fuck With Paste

Web site not letting you paste content (e.g. a password)? Use Don't Fuck With Paste.

Key web sites


I use toodledo for my execution system.


I use pinboard for saving new bookmarks (and searching my current bookmarks).

Computer programs

Ninite (for installing Windows programs)

Ninite is useful for quickly installing many programs on a new computer.


I use Chrome for my web browser.

Arq (backups)

For home I use Arq. Arq is amazing! Arq is a program that backs up your computer to a cloud service regularly (by default every hour). Another great thing about Arq is it lets you use your existing cloud services for backup storage. You can configure Arq to back up to Amazon, Google Drive, or other cloud services.

I have successfully restored my user content using Arq due to computer failure. I have successfully restored a Minecraft game using Arq when I accidentally summoned the Ender Dragon.

(PS I recommend not using Amazon Glacier for your backups. You can get your backups back but it'll take a week.)

Google Drive File Stream or Dropbox

For work I use Google Drive File Stream, which lets you access your Google Drive files through a network drive on your computer.

For home I use Dropbox.

Monosnap or ShareX (Picture screen capture)

I like Monosnap for OS X, and ShareX for Windows. It is a game changer to be able to select a region of the screen to copy, then annotate that image, and then paste into an email. For example, if someone asks, "where do I click to do X?" you can send them a picture in 30 seconds.

QuickTime Player or Jing (Video screen capture)

I use QuickTime Player for OS X: File -> New Screen Recording. Make sure to select the microphone so your voice is recorded. I then save the recordings to Google Drive in a temporary folder, and I then get a shareable link to send to people.

For Windows, I like to use Jing. Jing lets you record videos up to five minutes long. As a bonus, it'll also upload your video to TechSmith's servers and put the link in your clipboard.


I install Evernote on my computers to look at my inbox and references.

Emacs (text editor/way of life)

I try to use the official GNU/Emacs distribution. (I did use Aquamacs for a long time.)

Terminal or cygwin (UNIX-like terminal)

If you saw Perl one-liners, you can tell that I like to have a terminal environment. For OS X, this is built in. I then install macports so I can easily download programs.

For Windows I use cygwin due to habit; eventually I'll try to convert to Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Spectacle (Window layout)

For OS X, Spectacle will give you keyboard shortcuts for rearranging your windows (e.g. to put a window on the left half of the screen).

In Windows 10 keyboard-based window rearranging is built-in.


Blue Yeti microphone

The Blue Yeti microphone is a great microphone. It sounds silly to buy a microphone but the audio quality vs. a built-in microphone is ridiculous. If you ever record yourself for any reason, I recommend getting a microphone. It costs $120 but I really believe the quality of audio makes you sound more believable to listeners.