Louis Birla

What things do you use?

THIS IS ALL OUT OF DATE! (9 April 2024)

At a high level, I use a :rollerball pen, :Moleskine notebooks, a :Zettelkasten, a :MacBook and an :iPhone.


In September of 2023, I started using :paper and :pens for most of my affairs. I write on notebooks, 3x5 index cards, and a whiteboard.


I use a charcoal-colored Lamy Safari with a fine nib for most of my writing. I am not an ink connoisseur and will use a black ink that works (after the default blue a Lammy pen comes with).

I usually write with only one color, but occasionally I will use three TUL Gel Pens for special markings on index cards.

red, blue, and green tul gel pens resting on an index card

I use a whiteboard for working problems out or mapping concepts that would require much iteration rather, working things out that would require a lot of erasing and dry-erase index cards for writing ideas I want to remember and integrate into my ecosystem of thought.

I have ultra-fine dry erase markers in black, blue, red, and green. Their writing size is great, especially for the small cards I write on. I also have fine wet-erase markers of the same colors which I am experimenting with.


I use a 3x5 index card box I found at Office Depot to hold my many 3x5 index cards.

I will write more about my system in a future Q&A or essay. a long cardboard box filled with index cards and tabs to divide sections between them

I use any white 3x5 index cards for my main notes, but prefer blank ones. I tend to like blank paper. The index note cards are blue. In here you will see dry-erase index cards, which I use for fleeting ideas before integrating them into the system proper.

a bird’s eye view of my zettelkasten. a note inbox, space for a flashcard system, blank note cards, note index, and main section is illustrated from left to right


I use a Large 18 month Classic Planner from Moleskine.

the large black classic planner, closed. the cover says 2023-24


My principal notebook at the moment is a medium-sized classic Moleskine notebook, and I will try a classic medium-sized Leuchtturm1917 notebook next.

the moleskine notebook, open to a blank spread of lined paper. there is ghosting from the previous page, unintelligible writing in black ink

I use Moleskine’s pocket-sized Cahier Journals as my “carry everywhere” notebook.

a kraft brown cahier journal with my old rollerball pen on top. they are both the same length. the journal is closed, and on top it reads PN-T1

Relluctantly, I use spiral notebooks as well, because I have so many of them. I mainly use these for “stream of conciousness” expressed thinking.

Think of it how you wish, I tend to think of my :voice recorder as a notebook as well.


I mostly use two devices: a :Macbook and an :iPhone, although I have two other laptops, one for work and one to run programs for my classes.


I use a 2020 M1 MacbookPro.

a space-gray macbook, closed shut. the metallic apple logo has a few scratches


I use an iPhone Xs Max.

Voice Recorder

I use a Sony IC Recorder as my primary tool for expressed thinking. I will write more about my process, but this device has catalyzed my realization of many of my real passions.


MacBook Software

My web browser of choice is LibreWolf, although I do not use many of its privacy features. My browsing experience significantly improved by Sidebery, which replaces my tab organization. In fact, I have removed the horizontal tabs from display.

For my programming I use VS Code through VSCodium. My theme of choice shifts between GitHub and Gruvbox.


I use a thinking framework for active thinking, which I have yet to write about.

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