Things I use

Desk

It seems that having an 'about' page isn't enough these days. Everyone wants to tell you what they use for 'x' and why they don't use 'y.' Having a completely over-inflated opinion of how much everyone cares about what I use, I thought I'd join in.

Here I'll run down the hardware and software I use on a daily, or at least very regular, basis. It will be riveting and, no doubt, highly educational.

You will love it.

Hardware

16GB iPhone 5 (Black because I'm not an animal)

I use my iPhone a lot, so it's killed me the last year not having a 5s. Still, I've got the iPhone 6 to look forward to at least.

In all honesty, I use the iPhone as a portable computer more than a phone in that I never make calls. Social networks, reading, media and the odd spot of writing all try their best to stop my iPhone from lasting longer than twelve hours, and I'm always looking for ways to use the iPhone instead of resorting to using a proper computer. What apps do I use?

Well, there's a whole section for that further down.

16GB iPad mini with Retina display

The first thing a lot of people will latch onto is that 16GB size. I don't keep any media on any of my devices thanks to streaming services, so apart from large games, I've got no need for anything bigger.

Coming from an iPad 2, the mini is just perfect. I always found myself not using the iPad because it was just big enough, just heavy enough for me to think twice. With the mini, that's not the case. I take it places I would never have taken the iPad 2, which was, oddly, what we said about the original iPad and notebooks back in the day.

16GB iPad 2

First I had an iPad, then I had an iPad 2. I didn't use it enough, so I skipped the rest until the lure of a Retina iPad mini got the better of me.

Now, the iPad 2 is mainly used by my boy, though I do resort to using it when the mini's too far away - like the coffee table.

MacBook (2008, Aluminium unibody)

Originally my only Mac, this machine now acts as a server running Mavericks Server. It handles DHCP, DNS, VPN duties as well as a few more things I can't remember right now. It just sits there, quietly doing stuff. It seems happy that way.

11-inch MacBook Air (2011)

This was originally bought as my wife's machine, but since the SSD died in the MacBook and I had to put the old spindle drive in, the Air has become my main machine. It's quicker, and it means the MacBook can take on mundane duties as a server. Everyone's happy.

Except my wife.

24-inch Dell monitor

It's a fair size. It has pixels and enough inputs to not be swapping cables all the time. It's max resolution is 1920x1080 and it works. That's as exciting as it gets.

Logitech K760 Bluetooth keyboard - Amazon UK / Amazon US

I've fancied one of these for a long time, and I finally managed to get one at a reasonable price. It's solar-powered so I don't have to keep buying batteries, and it supports being paired up to three different devices without having to mess around every time you switch them. It looks and feels like Apple's own wireless keyboard, and that's a good thing.

I like it.

Gigabyte mouse

It's nondescript and it's got a wire. And some buttons. I can't stand the Magic Mouse but quite fancy a trackpad.


Software

iOS

I use my iPhone and iPad a lot. In fact, apart from writing, I use them more than either of the Macs in the house, and by quite some margin. That wasn't always the case, but the iPad mini with Retina display gets a lot more use than the old iPad 2 it replaced. Well, sort of replaced. That's now what we use to keep the boy quiet while we try and do frivolous things like have a shower.

iPad

Skimming through the Home screens on my iPhone and iPads, the main apps that strike me as irreplaceable are:

  • 1Writer - My text editor of choice, though I do keep flicking between 1writer and Write. And Byword. And others....
  • Dispatch - For email. It does;t support push, but does support background sync. The delay is minimal, and if anything, it's probably for the best. Dispatch got the nod over everything else thanks to the way it lets me throw emails into other apps like Omnifocus easily.
  • Tweetbot - It's Tweetbot. Need I say more?
  • Pushpin - I use Pinboard as my 'read later' services as well as somewhere to save links that I think I might need later. Pushpin, after trying far too many others, ended up being my iOS app of choice.
  • OmniFocus - Again, need I say more? It's overkill for what I use it for really, but I like it and I never got on with Things.
  • Castro - Until Marco gets his own podcast app out the door, Castro is here to stay. It looks lovely, with the only downside being the lack of sync.
  • Launch Center Pro - iOS automation at its best. Hit one button and have apps fire off all over the place. Magic. Pure magic.
  • 1Password - For keeping all my super secure, 500-character passwords safe.

iPhone

Mac

In all honesty, the Mac apps are far less interesting than the iOS ones. You'll see what I mean.

  • Chrome - It's undoubtedly my favourite browser across all my devices, if only because Safari feels so damn slow.
  • OmniFocus - Because, you know.
  • Terminal - Yes it's barely an app, but I do use it a lot, especially when making this blog work via the wonderful Webfaction.
  • Write - A gorgeous text editor. The most iOS-like text editor I've found. You'll see what I mean when you try it. This was written in Write after it replaced iA Writer as my OS X text editor of choice.

I told you I used iOS more.