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Wonder Tools 🌟 Guest Experts Edition
Recommendations from an editor, a founder, a comedian, and a freelancer
I invited Wonder Tools readers to share tools that make a big difference in their workflow. Below are a few notable readers’ picks, in their own words. If you’d like to be featured in a future post, submit your own pick(s).
How a top editor gets things done
Tatiana Ivanova is Editor-in-Chief of Paperpaper.ru, a local independent media outlet from St. Petersburg, Russia, with a digital audience of 1M+ monthly readers.
After the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Paperpaper.ru was blocked by Russian officials in response to uncensored coverage of the consequences of the Russian military aggression. “We also were designated as so-called ‘foreign agents,’ Ivanova writes.
For audio transcription: we use Whisper — so far it's the best quality among the services we've tried.
For automating the selection of non-documentary illustrations, we use a basic subscription to Midjourney.
We often turn to ChatGPT for summary generation.
Our analytics dashboards temporarily run on Dashthis.
Discover a startup founder’s hidden gemsis a startup founder based in New Orleans who enjoys painting, brewing beer, and scouring the Internet for interesting stories and oddities. Each week he writes about the best things he’s found online, like the selections below, which were previously featured in his newsletter,.
Falling Fruit is a tool available for the contemporary forager. It’s an interactive map showing you food and edible plants growing in public spaces and neighborhoods around the world. Consider it a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty on our city streets.
HomeByte is an AI-powered resource to help you find the perfect home. The reimagine feature allows you to visualize individual rooms furnished and decorated as you see fit.
Whisper Memos is an app that allows you to record voice notes on your phone that are transcribed and sent to you as an email. I use it most frequently when I’m driving and I have an idea. Whisper is the best (and safest) way to remember it without stopping and writing it down. I also use it when I have ideas or thoughts before falling asleep.
Inside a comedian’s toolkitis a writer, comedian, and actor in Los Angeles. He blends absurd comedy with vulnerable truth in weekly personal essays on . Here’s how he describes some of his favorites:
Cron I use Cron as my calendar — honestly a big time saver, given that I can share availabilities directly thru the app. I love how the reminder it gives me for meetings includes a button to take me right to the Google Meet or Zoom. It saves a step for me that for some reason makes a huge difference.
Typora I’ve been using this to draft all my stuff. Simple, Markdownsorta deal. Super easy and cross platform. You can install lots of themes on the app, which helps my ADHD brain ‘cuz I can switch between them at a fast clip, once every few days. Something about that keeps the writing less boring for me, so I don't go look for distractions lol.
Mymind is a new brain dump sorta app with an extension that lets you just grab any website and send it to Mymind to save and find later. It’s visually super sweet.
Kinopio I use this to brainstorm/mind map stuff out, including my essays, and to unpack ideas. I LOVE this app, the ethos of it, the people making it, and the lofi indie web vibes.
Are.na This is the one that I'm most excited about. It's like a social network for hipsters, but without the awful feedback loops that make Twitter et al a living nightmare. I love creating image collages here for essays and ideas, and following other cool artists. And it’s a lot more than images: people put together “boards” with quotes, website recs, etc. I feel like most of the internet is just sleeping on Are.na.
Explore a freelancer’s favorites
Alternate text. Whenever sharing an image, especially on social media, remember to include a text alternative for those who can't see the image. It’s essential to make sure everyone gets the information, joke, or feeling you're sharing. How to write alt text well.
Alfred is useful for Mac users. It gives a great prompt for programmable requests, and allows easy hotkeys. I use it to do everything from controlling Spotify, to making quick calculations, saving text snippets, and opening a window to quickly save information to notes files or databases.
Emacs is the program I've used longest. It’s a cult text editor, infinitely extendable and programmable from within itself. At one point I used it to check my emails but now I "only" use it for journalling hundreds of thousands of words, drafting, and keeping notes on absolutely everything —for well over a decade. Incredibly steep learning curve, but when you're in you'll never leave. Emacs is open source: it will last longer than most tools and your data is in plain text so you'll never get locked out of it.
Share your favorite tools! Leave a comment below or submit picks to be considered for a future post.👇
Further context from Ivanova: Founded in 2012, Paperpaper.ru generates revenue with native advertising, paid memberships and VPN services provided to readers. Part of the team went into exile and founded a local media outlet, Paper Kartuli, in Tbilisi, Georgia, based on the model of Paperpaper.ru, along with a coworking space for journalists and media makers called Papers.