These are a few of the things I use the most. They represent the current optimum, each one sitting (perhaps uneasily) on top of a metaphorical stack of tools much like it, having bested the previous iteration through some feat of function, form, feel, or all three. Here goes: #1 - Topre Realforce keyboard This 'board feels so, so, damn nice to type on. Each key's press-force is graded to fit the relative strength of the finger that will hit it, so touch typing on it is like typing on a nicely tactile cloud. It's super-solid, stays put on the table, and is missing the vexing numeric keypad, so you can move your pointing device, and the central alphanumeric area of the keyboard, closer to the center of your workspace. This pays surprising dividends in comfort, especially if you type all day, like I do. The satisfying clack-clack-clack of its keys makes me look for excuses (like writing) to type. *Notice* This thing is stupidly expensive, so I bought mine used and cheap. There are others like it, such as the Filco Tenkeyless, that are far less egregiously priced.
#2 - Logitech Marble Mouse trackball I've written about this puppy before, but I've got to give it further props. All other mousing devices feel so clunky and horrible to me now, that I've been forced to buy one for home, work, and studio. At $15-17, you might find you can afford to do so, too. Smooth mousing, ergo hand placement, little maintenance. Lovely.
#3 - Belkin Flip KVM switch (this is just the remote, of course) The Flip is one of the cheapest and most basic KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switchers around. It, like all KVMs, allows you to use one keyboard, mouse, and monitor to control more than one machine, switchable on the fly. Particularly nice is its ability to auto-route audio from each computer to your speakers or headphones as you switch. Also, it's got a natty little remote button, freeing you from having to assign a keystroke to switch machines- nice when using software that grabs most of the keyboard. The remote is also rather satisfying to smash with a frustrated fist when a box crashes.
#4 - Laken Classic Bottle Simply put, it's a really, really solid aluminum water bottle with a BPA-free, thick coating inside and an opening large enough for ice. It never adds a taste to water, it takes a beating, and I love the textured finish of this model. It's like a Sigg on juice.
#5 - Composition Book I've touched on these before, too, but they still rule. Like a poor man's (very poor man's) Moleskine, only larger, a good Composition Book is a fine place to jot ideas, keep your tasks on task, and, especially, take notes at meetings. Screw a laptop. Relish in the eye contact. Each one I fill becomes a nice, encapsulated document of a bracketed period of my work- and they'll certainly burn longer than a Moleskine if you fall on hard times.
#6 - Adolfo Dominguez sling bag It's doubtful you'll find this particular bag. It was a lucky find in a Barcelona boutique last year. It goes virtually everywhere with me. It sits on my back while I bike to work, carrying lunch, a book, and everything else- work badge, pens, a comp book, a snack, phone charger, pepper spray (my neighborhood can get a little hectic), earbuds, the Laken bottle, BART tickets, keys to my studio, and so on. It also fits a MacBook just so. Say what you will about man-purses, messenger bags, and such. I don't know how the hell I'd get along without one. Modern life demands too much crap not to employ a little help.
Not called out:
Sanford Onyx pen - Great ink, smooth writing, and a solid, sure line. For some reason, I appreciate that they're made in Japan. Textured Clear Glass Marble (fished out of a Ramune drink bottle) - Something nice to roll around the desk.