What I Use

Here’s a quick list of the software, computers and other technology that I use along with some explanations:

  1. iPhone – great phone, so-so service from AT&T; see separate list of iPhone Applications below.
  2. MacBook – I use my more like a desktop than a laptop because I like having my printer, stapler and other other things close by.  I’ve thought about getting a desktop machine, but I like the occasional mobility of the laptop; I don’t like keeping two computers synced.  I also like looking at a big display.  If I was better at managing my WiFi connections to printers, networks, displays, etc., I might use my laptop in more locations around the house and elsewhere.
  3. Apple Cinema Dispaly – visual quality and product design rock
  4. Gmail – I LOVE the archive feature.  It’s great to be able to pull up old mail from anywhere whenever I want.  I only delete the junk and stuff that’s a security risk, like passwords.  When I’m mobile, I use GMail via the mail application on the iPhone.  I’m hoping the Google Mobile App for Mail gets better, then I’ll use it.
  5. Google Calendar – We use a dozen different calendars inside Google Calendar.  We have one for each family member.  One for Baby Sitters.  The name of the sitter goes in the event slot.  One for each big activity and school.  I wish every organization would publish a Google Calendar that I could automatically suck into my Calendar.  I hate re-typing year long calendars.  For example, I published a calendar for Ted’s soccer team when I was the coach this fall.  I shared the link with all the other parents.
  6. Google Reader – I’ve bounced around on RSS feed readers.  Right now, Google Reader is my default and Bloglines Beta is the one I’m testing.  The key feature for me is being able to read it on both my laptop and iPhone.
  7. Remember the Milk – for to do lists, I go through phases with how much I use RTM.  Sometimes I use it daily.  Sometimes it just seems like too much.  If you’re going to start using RTM it’s critical to read their How to Use RTM blog posting.  You also need to set up the feature for emailing To Dos to RTM, then program the email address into your email program and mobile phone.  It’s great to be able to email yourself a to do without clogging your email inbox.  I also use MyTaList for somethings, like list of birthday present ideas for other people.
  8. Facebook – if you’re not on Facebook, you need to be.  Even my mom likes it.  Sign up today and reach out to two or three old friends.  Before you know it, you’ll be in touch with a whole network of friends.  Using it is a little like reading People magazine about people you actually know and care about.  Key tip: be sure to put up a picture of yourself.  Unless you’re the only person in the world with your name, having a picture up of yourself is critical to enabling your friends to find you.
  9. WordPress – WordPress is the leader in blogging software.  Blogger, owned by Google, has fallen off the pace.  With WordPress you get built in stats about what people are reading on your blog.  I have a bunch of blogs up about a bunch of subjects.  See the blogroll on this blog for a list.
  10. Blockbuster – we subscribe to Blockbuster.com, although I wonder if I should switch back to Netflix.  I quit Netflix several years ago when they raised their prices.  Maybe it’s time for another look.  Blockbuster seems just a little slow to ship out new movies.
  11. Weather Underground – it’s the best weather site.  I particularly like the hourly forecast.  It includes wind speed and direction.  Sailors in the Charleston area, see my blog post on M24Charleston.WordPress.com for detailed local wind and tide information.
  12. Amazon – become a Premiere member to get free shipping and go to town.  The credit card is also pretty sweet.  It’s very easy to see the rewards you’re earning.
  13. Costco – it’s the best warehouse store.  It crushes Sams on per square foot sales figures, demonstrating that it’s customers are finding lots of value.
  14. Lynda – this is a great online software training website.  The small cost is totally worth it.
  15. Craigslist – find and sell everything from appliances to cars to jobs.  It’s easier to use than Ebay, especially for heavy, hard to mail items.
  16. Firefox – It’s the best browser right now
  17. Microsoft Office – I can’t wait until someone else comes out with an office suite that is more widely accepted so I can stop paying these ridiculously high licensing fees.  For now, Office is THE standard.
  18. Google Documents – Whenever you’re going to share or collaborate on documents, Google Documents are a great way to go.  I’ve used them this year for punchlists with a contractor, recording credits and debits to my kids money in the bank of Dad, and ideas on new businesses.  It’s much easier than swapping Word and Excel files.
  19. iPhoto – if I was on a PC, I’d use Picassa.
  20. iTunes – it’s much more than a music player.  You can listen to audio books, download iPhone Apps
  21. Paparazzi – great for taking screenshots of websites.  The program captures everyone on the page, not just what’s on the screen.  See Skitch below.
  22. Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 – professional website building software, only get it if WordPress can’t meet all your needs.
  23. Adobe Illustrator CS4 – professional drawing and illustrating software; amazing powerful, but complicated
  24. Adobe Photoshop CS4 – professional photo editing softare; stick with iPhoto or Picassa as long as you can
  25. Skype – great for talking to family and friends anywhere in the world; 300 million people use Skype, especially overseas where phone calls are more expensive; excellent videoconferencing
  26. Default Folder X – a very nice extension to the Apple operating system
  27. HP Photosmart C7250 All-in-One Printer Fax Copier Scanner – It works, it’s pretty cheap, it’s wireless; the software is a little bloated
  28. Skitch – my friend Travis Good recommended Skitch.  It’s a great little program for capturing and sharing stuff.  If it adds the ability to capture a full webpage, including the stuff below the fold, I’ll be dumping Paparazzi.  I wish PhotoShop or Illustrator made things this easy.

iPhone Apps

  1. Built in phone and address book – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  2. Built in Mail – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  3. Built in SMS (text) – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  4. Link to Google Calendar Online – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen; I’ve stopped using the built in Calendar because the interaction with Google Calendar is clumsy
  5. Remember the Milk
  6. Built in Stocks
  7. NY Times – I wish it loaded faster; I may switch to Google Reader for news
  8. Built in Camera
  9. Built in Photos
  10. Built in Clock – nice little alarm; I use the stopwatch feature to time Ted (“How fast can you get ready to go on a bike ride?”)
  11. Custom welcome screen photo – makes it easy to know I have my phone and not someone elses
  12. Facebook
  13. WordPress
  14. Built in Calculator
  15. Built in Weather
  16. Built in Google Maps – I wish this worked more like a TomTom or Garmin GPS with turn-by-turn voice instructions.  Still it’s great if you get lost or need any idea of where you’re heading.
  17. Google Mobile Apps – I really hope this keeps getting better and loads faster
  18. Built in iPod – I find it surprisingly hard to use the iPod on the iPhone, especially to listen to audio books; ever activity disrupts the flow
  19. links to Tide information in and around Charleston
  20. Bloomberg – this may fall off the list now that I’m using Google Reader more
  21. Shopper – grocery application; when someone combines Shopper and RTM like features I’ll switch; Shopper is the easiest to use for now, but hasn’t earned my loyalty.  I want my spouse to be able to email a list and have it show up in Shopper
  22. Monkey Ball – the original cool game; I’ve stopped using it lately
  23. Brain Challenge – a great game, even my kids like it
  24. Now Playing – movie listings
  25. Hanoi – a terrific version of the classic logic game; Kate loves this and is VERY fast
  26. Trace – a cute free game
  27. Wurdle – very cool and addictive word game, well worth the small cost
  28. Dots Free – good way to keep a kid entertained before the food arrives at a restaurant
  29. Tap Tap – Ted likes this guitar hero like game
  30. FSS Hockey – a fun and free air hockey game
  31. Slate – was a great poll tracker from Pollster.com during the election; it’s too bad they’ve stopped updating it
  32. Say Who – is supposed to be the best voice dialer, but don’t use it much

4 responses to “What I Use

  1. Pingback: Skype is a great way to talk to your grandkids and friends around the world « Dewees Island, SC

  2. Pingback: What I Use – Newly Updated and Revised « IQI — Interesting Questions and Ideas

  3. Pingback: What I Use - Newly Updated and Revised | Reggie FairchildReggie Fairchild

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