Over the nearly 16 years the FCPA Blog has been published, we’ve learned a lot (and made many mistakes) about how to publish online. Here are the exact tools we use every day to run the FCPA Blog, and how you can use them in your workflow.
Our three top priorities for each tool (and the system as a whole) are, in order: Security, efficiency, and usability. We aren’t sponsored by any of them.
WordPress. The FCPA Blog has run on the WordPress framework for the past four years. WordPress is great and powers most of the internet. It’s user friendly and easy to manage. For hosting, we use WPEngine. We’re big fans of the folks at WPEngine and they’ve helped us a few times when we’ve had serious issues. If you’re familiar with WordPress, the tool suite at WPEngine will blow you away. We don’t use WordPress for FCPA Blog 1-2-1, we built that platform in-house.
Alfred. It’s a little hard to describe what Alfred does, because it does so much. It turns your keyboard into a toolkit to decimate your to-do list. We run on Apple, and Alfred replaces Spotlight when it comes to search. It takes a little getting used to, but once you master it, it’ll save you hours. Our most used Alfred feature is its clipboard and snippet history with format-free pasting. With this feature, you can copy, for example, 20 different things, pull up your clipboard history, and paste them wherever you want. This is a research power tool for collecting URLs, sources, excerpts, and citations.
Dashlane. Password management may be the best thing you can do for operational security. With Dashlane, we set a unique, super-secure password for every login. It also handles 2FA codes. For example, one of my passwords is OIKdu&rOW0a0yt!Yn?FLBsZDdm, but I won’t tell you which site it’s for.
Slack. We’ve been using Slack since 2014. It’s not perfect, but it’s fast. For a team of our size, it’s easy to send files and GIFs back and forth to keep us up to date with the latest work issues. . . and maybe a little TMZ news.
Dropbox. We use Dropbox like our company cloud servers. We store next to nothing on our local devices. With this setup, we always know we’re backed up, synced, and accessible from anywhere. If a phone or computer goes kaput on a trip, we can access everything we need from any of our devices.
remove.bg. This is a handy tool to remove the background from any image. We use remove.bg on almost all author photos, including this one. You can see the before and after above.
Grammarly. Grammarly will catch the typos even the most eagle-eyed editor might miss. It also has a style guide feature that will check text against a predefined set of rules (like US vs. U.S.). It’s now the central repository for the FCPA Blog style guide.
Cloudflare. On top of the excellent security of WPEngine, we supplement our cloud delivery and security with Cloudflare. We run all of our sites through Cloudflare and love the minutia it provides for site optimization. It helps us shave off precious milliseconds of load time while offering best-in-class security. During the past seven days, Cloudflare has stopped 574 security compromising events for us. Of course, we’ll keep the exact details of our full security setup secret.
FCPA Tracker. This is one of our products. We use FCPA Tracker every day for FCPA research and to generally keep a pulse on all the ongoing FCPA investigations and possible upcoming settlements. If you’ve ever wondered how we get background information on FCPA settlements for FCPA Blog posts so quickly, it’s FCPA Tracker (combined with the FCPA enforcement index on FCPA Blog+).
iMazing. Since my personal brush with Pegasus last year, we’ve been more diligent on regular spyware checks. We use iMazing. It’s easy to use, though it takes a while to run, so don’t start a spyware scan on your phone if you’re going somewhere in the next hour.
Transmit. In my opinion, Transmit is the best FTP client for Macs. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client is a piece of software that lets you manage files on servers. Transmit has a clean interface that helps you stay organized when in the file trees. As of today, we’re using Transmit for FTP on 16 servers.
Some of the small stuff we use to fill out our setup (again, we use Apple):
Email: Spark (Best features)
Calendar: Fantastical (Great integration with Zoom and MS Teams)
Music: Spotify (Daily personalized playlists)
VPN: Nord VPN (Easy to use)
I’m currently running iOS 17 Public Beta. As registered Apple developers, we can access the Developer Beta, but as I only have one phone, I don’t want to brick my daily driver. We’ve never run any MacOS Betas.
We’ve spent a lot of time over the years tinkering with our tools to keep things running efficiently. We’re always trying new things to see how they might work in compliance, like monday.com, which we wrote about.
For us, the tools above have stood the test of time and we’ve used them everyday for years.