What am I using? March 2014 Edition

From time to time, on previous blogs, I’ve taken snapshots of my tech usage.  These are interesting to reflect on in hindsight and allow me to see trends in how I work.  In the past they’ve also been useful for exposing to colleagues some new tools and features as well as acting as mini reviews of technology.  Here is my current setup:

Hardware/Software

Home – iMac (about 4 years old) mostly for FireFox, Steam and MS Office.  The big advantage is the screen and my habit of doing multiple things at once is very easy on here.

Home – ASUS Netbook (about 5 years old) I bought this originally for when away from the office to take conference notes, check email in hotels, etc.  However, this very rarely leaves the house these days.  A few months back I swapped out Windows XP (which was virtually grinding to a halt) with JoliCloud and it now makes the ‘book a quick and easy middle house between phone and iMac for email checking and browsing (although I installed FireFox rather than use the default Chrome-based browser for Joli).

Work – Lenovo Helix (new but currently downgraded from the default W8 to W7).  Current work is mainly based around the MS ecoystem of Office and SharePoint with a few web apps here and there.  I use two monitors with the laptop screen as the third, when at work, so multiple applications and copy/pasting into docs and websites is easy.  In my current job this has replaced the Netbook as my travelling companion.

Phone (mine) – HTC Windows Phone x8 (about a year old).  Really liked the phone and generally find Windows Phone more to my tastes than iOS or Android, especially the tile notifications approach.  However, the phone itself has developed various problems.  It has been back to HTC once already for battery problems and I currently have an issue where calls from the hearing piece are very quiet.

Phone (work) – iPhone 5.  I basically only use this for work calendar, email and the podcast app (synced to my home iTunes).  I would say I prefer having things on a separate device that you can ignore, at weekends and the like, rather than merging phone use to one device.

The above mix of devices and hardware does help me try different ways of doing things.  For example, I no longer use my netbook for conference notes as I do it straight to Word or OneNote on my phone.  You also end up with a variety of ways to do simple tasks, for example I’ve recently tried Snagit for Chrome (as TechSmith picked up on Twitter) which rolls screen capture and annotation into a nice tool.  This was the first time I had used the Chrome App Launcher on my Mac and it looks an interesting way of bringing in additional functionality to the OS (certainly when, by default, it is a hand braking job to do a print screen).  I’d actually presumed I would try Chrome Snagit on my ASUS but the version of Chrome used within JoliCloud is too old.  However, the experience has made me think again about Chromebooks and if a cheap one would be the natural successor to my ASUS when the time comes.  I do still have a Windows 7 (upgraded from Vista) Samsung laptop, that I have had for years, but it crashes constantly (years of overheating due to poor fan) so I do not even try and use it beyond occasional use as a DVD player.

Websites

My top sites are probably the below (nothing extraordinary here!):

  1. Facebook – mostly for social events and to back up photos
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Old Reader – I have recently signed up to the pay plan to show support for the work they have done in picking up where Google abandoned people
  4. BBC
  5. The Guardian
  6. Google Docs – I back up various personal files in Drive
  7. YouTube – I’ve become somewhat addicted to subscriptions and adding things to ‘watch later’.  However, the constant auto switching (and having to opt out) to my Google+ account from my YouTube account is increasingly annoying.

I still do not use Twitter all that much apart from event back channels via the mobile apps and TweetDeck (on the Mac).  Other sites I regularly visit tend to be related to specific uses – for example I will often visit JISCmail to read messages that I am alerted to by the daily digest emails (due to formatting not always being very clear in the emails).  Currently I am spending lots of time on Rightmove…but thats another, and more depressing, story.

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