Digital Toolbox

I will continue to add to this post ~ this is just a place from which to start.

Any crafts-person relies not just on their knowledge, but their tools.

In this post I layout my complete tool-set for my entire digital existence!

Open-source: I love using free and open-source software because number one, I don’t have the money for all the proprietary stuff!

But also, the ability to dig into the software to make adjustments under-the-hood is incredibly appealing; because sometimes, you want something to work a particular way, and eureka, after a quick internet search I can find someone else with similar aspirations, see how they did it, and follow suit.

As well, by using my chosen operating system, I can easily keep up with the latest software updates, and newest features.

Operating Systems

Linux: Arch & Ubuntu

In league with the open-source kids, I first sought to learn the Linux, or *nix, environment many years ago.

Ubuntu one of the most common flavors, and is considerably stable.

The Arch flavor remains on the frontier of software development.

Arch Linux allows for considerable flexibility upon deployment, regarding where directories be housed, and the allowed size. Though I chose to make it a bit easier for myself, and am using a Manjaro flavor of Arch Linux. Digging a bit deeper down the Arch/Manjaro tunnel, I prefer to use the version with uses i3 as a window manger.

Ubuntu, on-the-other hand, has always sought be user friendly.

Though from a command-line perspective, they are almost identical.

PostgreSQL & MariaDB

There was a conversation sparked upon the release of NoSQL databases.

MongoDB appears to be a front-runner of the NoSQL software.

PostgreSQL is an open-source Relational Database Management System (RMDBS), and version one was released in 1986.

It is a robust, and began developing features comparable to NoSQL features quite a few years ago, the JSONB datatype.

For this reason, I’ve chosen to remain with Postgres, rather than migrate to any of the NoSQL database management systems.

Websites & Applications

Wordpress – ClassicPress

I used to have my personal site built using Django, PostgreSQL and Vue.js … but that became a REAL pain-in-the-butt to maintain.

So I’ve since switched to using Wordpress, though being a sucker for legacy, I’ve opted for the ClassicPress version. (They recently changed the UI to a style they call Gutenberg; I prefer what I remember, rather than learning a new trick.)

WP provides all of the plugins necessary for SEO, forms, payment portals, etc – all of which are practically plug ‘n’ play without much hassle.

WordPress Plugins

YoastSEO

WP Forms

Simple Pay Lite

Django, VueJS & Cordova

For websites that have phone applications as well, I still use the Django/Vue stack; and have been using the Cordova program to convert these stacks into mobile applications for the Google and Apple app stores.

The main reason for this is due to database maintenance and UI control.

Django allows me to completely control the database architecture, and how API calls are handled.

VueJS allows me complete control over how the UI is presented, and what data is loaded.

This is especially important for phone applications that may be using data connections, and the desire to minimize the amount of data used is very desirable.

Lastly, Cordova is a program which allows me to convert the JavaScript UI that I create with VueJS into an Android or iOS phone application, with relative ease!

Hence, I only need to make a few adjustments to the web-interface, in order to optimize it for mobile use and voila ~ I’ve created a phone app from my website!

Though I am considering moving the UI to use NativeScript, as this may allow for greater assimilation to each platforms, Android / iOS’,  architecture and aesthetic.

Social Media

You know the platforms, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the list goes on … and on … and on. It can all be rather overwhelming, though I’ve found a few tools that have helped me manage so many irons in a fire:

Instagram & Facebook

Regardless of our better-senses, Facebook and Instagram remain social media behemoths; and for those wanting to disseminate a message, tools worth wielding well.

Though, I am also a big fan of being able to schedule posts ~ so I don’t always have to feel glued to my phone.

I recently learned of tool called Later.app

which allows me schedule up to 30 IG posts per month, along with posts to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Repost, Headliner.app

Twitter

Built my own.

Read more about it here.

Link Aggregator

For a while I was using Linktr.ee ~ the issue being Instagram only allows you to put one link in your profile; and so putting a link to a web-page of links was preferred.

I have since found Campsite.bio which does the same thing as Linktr.ee, except you can add images to your links. As well they provide space for a small bio, as well the ability to add more social media links at the bottom of your bio!

Podcasting & Video Creation

OBS Studio

Open-Broadcast Software Studio is a standard program for live-streamers. It is easy to use, incredibly customizable, and just works!

I don’t do much live-streaming, but rather use the program to record my tutorials, via screen-capture; as well as recording podcasts.

There was a bit of trouble with audio/video not matching up; but as soon as I started using both an external microphone and external camera, the issue was resolved!

Audacity

Audacity is a completely basic audio recording program; though I use it mostly for editing my podcasts.

Again, it is simple, allows for moderate audio filters (pitch shifting, amplification, etc), and it allows me to export both WAV and MP3 files.

No fuss, no cruft, just able to get stuff done!

Blender

Blender is a heavy lifter!!!

Three exclamation marks!

Blender is a complete video creation suite and allows me to not just edit videos, but create 3D animations if need be (still perfecting that aspect.)

I learn much of my photo and video editing skills on the Adobe suite of products; and many of the same concepts carry-over. Primarily the concept of using keyframes.

Admittedly the control structure took a bit to get used to; left- and right- click buttons, along with keyboard shortcuts are not immediately intuitive.

Though now that I’ve got the hang of it, there is no turning back ~ I’m able to open up the program, import all of my assets, paste ’em together, fade-in, fade-out, along with so many other tricks and twists; then set the video to render while I make food!

Audio Mastering

Podcast Distribution

When I first started my first podcast, I used Feedburner, which was purchased by Google; and this allowed me to aggregate my podcast to the Apple store.

But I still wasn’t able to get onto Spotify or the other libraries of which I wanted to be a part.

Enter Anchor.fm ~ I remember hearing rumors of this new start-up for podcasters; they were actually trying to get us paid too!

So while doing my due diligence I came upon their website ~ it is free to join!

For those who don’t have access to all of the recording/editing equipment, you can even use their app, or website, to record and edit your podcast if you want!

And yes, they do have a no-nonsense way of helping get paid through sponsorship.

I am completely amazed, and although it is only day two, and I’ve only uploaded one episode; I’m incredibly excited about their support in distributing my audio creations!