Tools expand your abilities from body and beyond. They are physical or digital; portable or stationary. They are light or heavy; small or large; loud or quiet. Good tools are durable and reliable, withstanding extreme conditions and extended use. Safe tools shield danger, emit warnings, fail small before failing large, and sacrifice themselves to protect the user. Easy tools require minimal setup, adjust ergonomically, work intuitively, run on minimal maintenance, and can be fixed simply.
Search Engine - Recommendation: DuckDuckGo. Secure search engine that doesn't track you or save your personal search history.
Email Provider - Recommendation: Protonmail. Secure email provider based in Switzerland. Free and robust.
Diagram Creator - Recommendation: Draw.io. In-browser application with emphasis on alignment and node-to-node connections.
Office Program Suite - Recommendation: Libreoffice. Create documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, and basic drawings. Free and cross-platform with import/export compatibility for other popular office suite formats.
Text Editor - Recommendation: Atom. Simple, customizable text editor and integrated development environment (IDE). Great for writing and reading code and notes.
Password Manager - Recommendation: Keepass. Free, robust, open-source. Saves the encrypted database file to your computer to avoid web data vulnerabilities. Can be saved at a cloud storage host of your choice for working with multiple devices.
Vector Graphics Editor - Recommendation: Inkscape. Create or edit logos, line art, infographics, and other line-based images.
Raster Graphics Editor - Recommendation: GIMP. Produce, resize, crop, rotate, and retouch your photos and other dot-style image files.
Illustration Creator - Recommendation: Clip Studio Paint. Popular and effective digital drawing program for illustrations and manga. Formerly named Manga Studio. Use with a drawing tablet. See review by Brian Allen.
3D Animation Creator - Recommendation: Blender. Free and open-source with integrated video editor. Supported by the Blender Foundation.
Audio Editor - Recommendation: Audacity. Record your voice or music, manipulate audio clips for your media library, and import-export different filetypes. Great for handling standard audio tasks like other digital audio workstations (DAWs).
Video Editor - Recommendation: Kdenlive. Simple, robust video editor with primary support for Linux. Free and open source. Renders to numerous standard formats, including WebM and MP4 (AAC/HEVC).
Screen Recorder - Recommendation: Open Broadcaster Software. Simple on-screen video recording and live streaming program.
Operating System - Example: Windows 10 ISO Download
Solid State Drives - Absolutely recommended. Compared to spinning hard drives, SSDs are much more durable (no moving parts), perform over 10X faster (can literally cut boot time by over 70%), and finally affordable (SSD manufacturing has matured for years now).
Watch - Recommendation: Casio G-Shock GD350. Highly functional digital watch with 5 alarms, stopwatch, timer, dedicated timer-start button, hourly signal, world time, display illumination, vibration alert (incredibly convenient), resin strap, and stainless steel components. Great time control for cooking, laundry, workouts, sports, and meetings.
Screwdriver - Recommendation: Picquic Super 8 Plus. Durable multi-bit screwdriver with a strong unified design. Strong handle-to-bit mechanical frame can handle high torque operations. Integrated single-bit holding slots reduces risk of drops and part juggling while changing bits.
Retractable Utility Knife - Recommendation: Stanley Classic 99. Simple, cheap, all-metal construction. Utility knives are excellent for general-purpose needs such as opening boxes, cutting cardboard, and removing clothing tags. A retractable blade adds safety in use and in storage.
Power Strip - Recommendation: Tripp Lite Isobar. Highly durable power strip with metal frame, integrated surge protector, overheat detection, and isolated outlet filters. Lasts decades while protecting against over-current risks such as fires and meltdowns.
Can Opener - Recommendation: EZ-DUZ-IT. All-metal construction (including the turner and bearing), consistent quality (made in the USA) with polymer-insulated handles. Carbon steel blade and chromed steel frame. Conventional top-cutter mechanism (with precision-mating gears) works on all cans. Universal top-cutting leaves rough edges, which is better than smooth-edge side-unsealing that produces metal slivers (better to get a small cut than to swallow sharp/thin metal shards).