Personal Tech Stack – Part 1

Last week, I presented to the Delaware Valley Chapter of the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. The intent of the talk was to demonstrate the lack of privacy when using Google products but many of the follow-up questions were about specific technologies that I personally use. I received several subsequent emails seeking additional clarification and technical advice. So, I thought I'd do a write-up detailing my personal Tech Stack. Here is a general list of the technology, both hardware and software, that I use every day (almost).

The writing will be published in two different pieces due to its length. The first piece will detail the physical hardware devices and the second will be the software and services.

I don't want this to be construed as some affiliate marketing effort so there are no links to the products. You'll have to do the hard part yourself.


1) Apple Macbook Air (Apple silicon M1 chip, 16GB of memory, 1TB drive). I've had quite a run of laptops over the years and have owned four different ones in the past 18 months. You can read a bit about this experiment HERE. But for the past six months, I've been using a Macbook Air with the Apple silicon ARM-based M1 chip and it's pretty awesome. In terms of design and construction, it's unrivaled. macOS Monterey is good and always being further refined. If I could run Pop_OS on this piece of hardware the sun, moon, and earth, would be in perfect alignment.

2) Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (5th generation)running the PopOS Linux distribution. I have a special affinity for Thinkpad machines (I currently own three different models) and will always have one ready to boot up. This machine runs the Linux distribution PopOS by System76. I want this to be my everyday computer but I need to use some applications that just don't play will well with Linux yet.

3) Apple iPhone 12. Meh. Works well and I have no complaints. I only switched back to an iPhone because of the continuity with the Macbook. And Google is evil so owning an Android-based phone is longer tenable.

4) Apple AirPods . Awesome. Some of the best technology I own. How they get a big sound out of such a little speaker is mind-boggling. And the fact they stay in the ear, even when running or jumping, is equally impressive.

5) Sennheiser PXC 550-II Headphones. Wireless, over-the-ear, noise-canceling. Headphones like these aren't something you need every day but when you do, you're so thankful to have them.

6) Crucial X6 1TB external SSD. Because back-ups!

7) Logictech C920 HD Pro webcam. I instruct a credit course at the local community college and it's been virtual for the past two years. A quality webcam is an absolute must. If people have to watch you on a computer screen for two hours – you better look good. (Well as good as you can. The camera can only help my ugly mug so much.)

8) Razer Seiren X microphone. The same reason as the webcam. High-quality sound is extremely important.

Low-Tech/No-tech Hardware:

Ebags Pro-Slim Laptop Backpack. This bag is so awesome that I should do an entire piece just on it. Eveything you need and absolutely bombproof. I've carried this everyday for the past three years and it looks as good as the day I got it.

Lemome classic A5 hardcover journal w/pen loop. I still enjoy writing notes the old fashioned way and keep a written journal.

PenTel Energel 0.5 Needle Tip pen. Buy one, or a pack. And then start writing in your Lemome journal.

Non-Tech Bonus:

Bombas Socks. Seriously – socks. They are expensive and you won't want to pay for them but do it! Ask for them as gifts. It's so worth it. I wear a suit to work and these socks make wearing dress shoes a little more tolerable. The merino wool casual socks are awesome too.

Check back next week for part two documenting the software and services I use.