What Once Was

I looked it up. 06-06-07 (Might have had a different trajectory if it was 06-06-06) I registered claycarson.net. The .com was taken by a photographer in Colorado. I later added the .com in 2011 when he didn’t renew. I was thrilled. But .net felt like home.

There is a Wordpress database backed up and on a hard drive in the garage that contains the archive of what this site once was. It probably contains posts up until around 2012. Most of it was tips for Mac OS X and how I setup my machines, and tech productivity hacks. I regrettably purged the site in 2012, although a few posts from before that remain. From then until 2018 I ran the site as just a linked list blog with intermittent commentary. In 2018, on the earlier side of the resurgence of Newsletters, the site became a publishing ground for my newsletter.

The newsletter became a forcing function to get me to read and follow up on all the links I bookmarked during the month and then share them with anyone who had an interest in what I was interested in.

I thought about digging up those hard drives as a part of this redesign. While those posts are certainly valueless to a modern society, the thought and care that went into them might be a nice reflection of what was once here, like some kind of ancestor, or a ghost of my teenager version of being on the Internet.

I don’t think I ever said anything that anyone else hasn’t already said in those posts. I think that is why they aren’t here.

Apart from a brief period, this site resolved to a Wordpress site that lived with many aesthetics, various content, and was inspired by many different versions of Clay who have come and gone over the last 15+ years.

In the last 5 years or so, static site generators became interesting to me. I love the idea of generating a site that is as stripped down and fast as it possibly can be. Served only by static HTML files, load in the lightest touch of CSS, and off you go.

At that time, I also began to learn git and learn to deploy static sites with Github Pages, Netlify, and Vercel. I familiarized myself with Ruby, Go, and React to build sites with Jekyll, Hugo, and using Next.js, respectively.

This site in its current encarnation is served with Hugo and Netlify. *subject to change at any time

All that to say, this site is a tool for me to learn. It changes, grows, and (likely) breaks at times. It serves as therapy and is something I am proud of.

Digital Tools



The wise man builds his house upon the rock.


Safari is so solid but Arc has some extra spice that has me coming back. Reach out if you need an invite code.


Podcasts are likely my most consumed media. Having a solid player is essential. Overcast’s Smart Speed and Speed Boosts are spectacular. The ability to custom clip intro’s and outtro’s only saves more time.


For now, 1Password handles our family’s passwords. Although Apple is coming on hard with new features to Keychain.


Notion handles all my personal databases. Things like my travel log, media diet, exercise log, and similar.


Used for years in beta before the 1.0 launch in Spring 2023. Native Mac email app with Gmail keyboard shortcuts. Lovely.



The keyboard command center for my personal computer. Alfred has replaced (in succession), Quicksilver, and Launchbar and now serves as my launcher, clipboard manager, and allows me to do some fancy voodoo magic. I have recently tried Raycast but it didn’t stick.


Indispensable tool for expanding and reusing text snippets.


Pure cleanliness. Keyboard shortcuts make this app best in class. Almost the perfect to do list app.


I’ll never use all the power in this app. I really just use it as a glorified Markdown editor.



More powerful than a calculator and more lightweight than a spreadsheet.


I’m somewhat obsessive about keeping my technology neat and tidy. Bartender is a must.


Have good backups.



Minute to learn, lifetime to master kind of thing.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Every photo I take gets run through Lightroom; many of those benefit from some of the many tools available in Photoshop.


VS Code

I waited to long to get setup in this world. Incredible power.


It doesn’t suck.


All my development needs are taken care of within Github. I need to be better at git.



RSS will save us all. NetNewsWire is the oldest and cleanest reader for the Mac and iOS.


Readwise is a fantastic tool to make the most out of your time spent reading. I review a handful of highlights that I save to it every day, and use the Markdown export to bring those passages into my notes.

Have any tools you think I should try out? Send me a recommendation!

Physical Tools


Airpods Pro 2

Even with repeated QC issues, I’d replace these immediately if I lost them.

M2 MacBook Air

As close to a perfect laptop as has every existed for most consumers. Battery lasts forever, thin, light. The M2 has never choked on anything I have given it.

Tudor Black Bay GMT

World ready. A totem of the places I have been but more importantly, the places that I want to go.

Leica Q

Checks every box for me, personally. I’ll look on, enviably, at the Q3.

Zebra F-701

I’ve been into pens and pencils since elementary school. If I could only pick one, this would be it.

Powerblock Elite

Adjustable dumbbells up to 90lbs.

HydroFlask 32oz Bottle

It’s this or a Nalgene for me.



Since having a kid, I do consider swapping for a GR2 34L. But this bag is spectacular.

GORUCK Packing Cube

Getting all my clothes into these cubes is the secret to only carrying one bag. That, and not needing 2 pairs of shoes.

GORUCK Field Pocket

There is a smaller, discontinued version of the Field Pocket that I use for toiletries. I use the larger version less frequently but it is nice to have.

F-Stop Micro Tiny Camera Cube

This fits the Leica Q and a couple of spare batteries.


Outlier Futureworks

In Texas, the Futureworks are the play. Although the Slim Dungarees are my preference in general.

Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs

At $7 these used to be the best value in underroos. At $14, I’d still consider them the best value. I have had 10 pairs in rotation since 2016 with no replacement.

Mack Weldon Pima V-Neck T-Shirt

V-neck or bust for me in regards to t-shirts.

Patagonia Nano Puff

A perfect all-around jacket that can work in almost any winter condition I face.

Red Wings Iron Ranger

Sneakers come and go. Buy boots that last. Copper please.

Swiftwick Performance Zero

My favorite athletic socks. For boots and such, go with DarnTough.



TaylorMade M6, HZRDUS Project X Black 70


TaylorMade M6, HZRDUS Project X Black 75


Ping i (4-UW) Dynamic Gold X100


Artisan 54 Dynamic Gold X100, Artisan 59 Dynamic Gold S100


Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5 (2004)


Squire Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster

I took on the guitar in fall of 2020. What was your pandemic coping mechanism? I still stink but I’m having so much fun.

Have any tools you think I should try out? Send me a recommendation!