How I Work - May 2021

Alli Grant Est. 9 minutes (1786 words)
Stuff I use to do stuff, as of May 2021.

I posted one of these a few years back and started to update it back in 2020, right before the pandemic lockdowns truly kicked off in earnest. As someone fully remote to start, most of my tools and practices haven’t really changed – despite this not being a year of typical remote work at all. While this might have been more helpful at the start, well, all I can say is “oops” and there have been some higher priority things in my life, and at least now these are all much more heavily tested in a stressful time.

Browsers and Extensions

This one hasn’t really changed much for years. I keep Chrome around for work and Chromecast, but otherwise Firefox Nightly is my daily driver on both Windows and Android. Fortunately, I’m not having to do Internet Explorer testing any longer.

Ad and Tracking Blocking

I can’t imagine browsing the web without an adblocker anymore – most pages load much slower, and you can’t trust random ads to not attempt to mine cryptocoins on your machine. Firefox containers are magical for further setting back tracking without doing everything in Private Browsing, and Trash Panda lets you generate throwaway containers for things such as viewing news articles. Containers are also nice for testing multiple logins at the same time, on the same browser.

General Experience

On top of account containers, Firefox supports tab groups. That means virtual windows that can be replaced with real windows as I choose, or just kept in the background inactive, to sort out commonly used tabs together. It’s a simple feature, but it helps my brain not keep a million tabs open at one time (visibly).


This wasn’t originally part of my plans for this, as it’s not entirely part of “how I work” – though I suppose I do end up with a lot of things to keep myself happily entertained. Anyway, this became a complicated topic with the shutdown of Google Play Music – meaning I’ve migrated back to buying albums via Bandcamp/Patreon/etc and local playback.


It’s hard to have too much to say here. These are listed in rough preference of use, but really, it’s all kind of the same mess. Slack has threads but not individual replies. Discord has individual replies but not threads. Signal and Telegram are interchangeable except for when they aren’t, which is always at the weirdest moments.

Editors and Dayjob Tools

I’m a simple person with simple needs. I mostly write code in Visual Studio Code or Eclipse, based on how much IDE I’m needing. Dayjob is in Java, and I don’t particularly like the defaults of IntelliJ if I can avoid it.

VS Code Extensions

The language pack tools in particular are useful, but I don’t feel they’re worth bringing up. I try to not use too many extensions on most of my editors, just so that I don’t get too tied up in things that might stop working or (in the case of vim) might not be everywhere when I open up the editor.

Eclipse Extensions

Same story as above, though these are a little too helpful to live without for day to day work.


Productivity feels like an odd category name here, but it’s the things that I use for managing my life in general. I’ve mostly stopped using Trello and Google Keep, as much as I can help it.

Security and Backups

This is a bit of a catch-all, I suppose.


This is maybe a bit silly to include, but I’m generally fairly happy with most of my peripheral and device choices.