Digital life upgrades

This page lists various digital life upgrades that I personally use and recommend. At the moment it only includes software, but I plan to add to it in the future.


  • Laptop: Thinkpad Carbon X1 (6th gen)
    • Specs: 16gb RAM, 512gb SSD, i7 8th gen.
    • I love ThinkPad on both an aesthetic and technical level, and the X1 series in particular is great for travelling. I’m currently on my second model and will likely go for a third – that is, unless there’s no M1-equivalent chip option available at the time I want to upgrade.
  • Split keyboard: Iris split keyboard (rev.6b) – picture
    • Specs: ice candy switches, pudding keycaps.
    • Keymap: Colemak DH (with a few tweaks) (1) (2)
    • I recommend this split keyboard if you are new to the hobby of ergonomics enjoy mechanical typing. While I would personally prefer something with lower-profile switches, it is a great size and shape for home use & has survived various custom modifications (see). Also the LEDs on the PCB are very strong, so a great option if you are into optimizing for colour qualia!
  • 65% keyboard: KBD67 Lite R3
  • Dextral trackball: Ploopy Mini (1)
    • Near-frictionless bearings and fits my hand well, though I regret not getting the larger classic model. Set to high mouse sensitivity.
  • Ambidextral trackball: Logitech Trackman Marble
    • More robust build than the Ploopy (due to large-scale manufacturing), but the bearings are inferior and it lacks a scroll wheel. Set to low mouse sensitivity (to complement the Ploopy).
  • Dextral mouse: Swiftpoint GT (precursor to ProPoint)
    • I often use this while standing up, on my lap, as a powerpoint clicker, in addition to many other useful contexts. It weighs next to nothing so easy to play around with ergonomic setups.

Wishlist: Ploopy Adept, ZSA Voyager, Ergohaven K:02, Armband keyboard mechanism


  • Limber Mini (sitting & standing desk)
    • As a sufferer of lower-back problems, having the freedom to work from the floor or standing up in-between sitting on a chair is a game-changer. It is beautiful to behold, so I often just leave it around the house for aesthetics. I also just love products that are easy to assemble & disassemble with simple mechanisms! Sometimes I use this for watching movies in weird positions, or as an impromptu stand – the possibility space for using this object is vast.
  • Orangebox Do Chair
    • Would you believe me if I said that I found one of these as-new for less than £50? What if I told you I found a second one of these for free in another continent that I regularly visit for work? I am a lucky duck, and I do love this chair dearly. Minimalist design, modular construction, and highly adaptable in a variety of ergonomic contexts, this chair receives the Arataki stamp of approval.

Wishlist: Treadmill (for a standing desk)


  • Operating system: Windows 11 (professional)
    • Honestly its a great upgrade to Windows 10, I don’t understand why everybody dunks on it. Though I would prefer an LTSC version.
  • Browser: Microsoft Edge
    • The most optimized browser for my OS, though I prefer the UI and general aesthetic of Firefox.
  • Undervolting: Throttlestop
    • I have a possibly-irrational fear that my CPU getting hot = reduced motherboard longevity, but also it reduces fan activity so worth it for peace of sound.
  • PDF management: Zotero
    • All around great academic / research organization system. Open source, active userbase, clean UI, easily customisable, etc. Would recommend organising your repository by research projects.
    • My plugins: MS Word, Obsidian.
  • Knowledge management: Obsidian
    • Similar to Zotero but more general, extremely helpful for life & project management. Love writing in MD. Worth investing some time into setting up your vault structure for frictionless use, but be careful not to fall into the optimization-procrastination trap.
    • My plugins: Auto note mover, Calendar, Dataview, Homepage, Periodic notes, Quickadd, Tracker, Zotero integration.
  • Distraction blocker: Cold Turkey
    • The most comprehensive productivity-focused distraction blocking application available on PC. Also bonus points for offering a one-time purchase.
  • Speech-to-text: Dragon Professional (V15)
    • Faster than typing and more friendly to your organism (i.e., ergonomic). Great for performing low-effort digital tasks that involve writing such as note-taking, sending emails, etc., but requires a quiet environment.
  • Text-to-speech: Whisper
    • Best audio transcription software available, and its free! Great for journaling if (like me) you prefer to talk to yourself on a leisurely stroll through the park.


  • International money transfer: Wise (referral link)
    • Wise is great for travelling, and worthwhile if you typically spend <9 months in a country (otherwise its usually worth opening a local bank account). Been using them for close to a decade now and have always been a satisfied customer.
  • Cloud storage: Filen (referral link)
    • Reasons for: (1) most secure / privacy focused cloud storage service, (2) offers a lifetime plan (I hate subscription services), (3) offers substantial black Friday discounts.
    • Reasons against: (1) not the fastest file transfer speeds relative to competitors (e.g., MEGA), (2) new-ish company, no guarantee they will continue to exist in the longer term.
  • AI assistant: GPT-4
    • I use LLMs for various administrative tasks (e.g., emails), in addition to helping me to write poetry and silly stories to share with friends. GPT-4 happens to be the best general purpose LLM, and I appreciate that you can interface with it verbally (using the app).
  • Messaging: Telegram
    • I use other messaging services (e.g., Whatsapp, Signal), but Telegram is usually my first choice unless I require specific functions.
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