The question comes around almost every single day. What computer do you use? What kind of phone do you have? Do you use a specific camera? These questions are common because folks love to find out what other people work with while making their own buying decisions.
Too often, we are burned by what appears to be a great product in theory, only to find out that there’s something better suited for our needs. Discovering that your friend, family member, or neighbor has already been through the process of finding the best solution for X, Y, and Z given similar circumstances after having dropped your cold hard cash on the counter for an inferior product never leaves you feeling particularly happy.
So I’ll pose the question to anyone reading this: What tech do you use on a daily basis? Is there a particular computer, phone, camera, or other electronic gadget or gizmo that you would absolutely recommend to your friends and family? In the comments area below, share your rig and find out what other members of the community use to get things done.
I’ve separated my particular rig into three key categories: things I use in the office, while traveling, and when out and about. While some of these items are part of my routine in all three circumstances, the general idea of getting the right gear for the right situation is a principle that I’ve believed in since I was a Cub Scout.
Things I Use in the Office
- HP Pavilion H8-1114
- Intel i5-2400 Processor
- 8 GB DDR RAM
- 1 TB/7200RPM-SATA HD
- GeForce GTX550-Ti Graphics Card (Bought Separately)
- CoolerMaster 700w PSU (Bought Separately)
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- ViewSonic 24″ 1080p Monitor
- Acer 21″ 1080p Monitor
- Lenovo ThinkVision 1421 USB Monitor (14″)
- Logitech G5 Weighted Gaming Mouse
- SteelSeries World of Warcraft Legendary Gaming Mouse
- Logitech K360 Wireless Keyboard
- Bose Companion 2 Series II Speakers
- Corsair Vengeance 1500 Headset
- Thermaltake Hard Drive Dock
- WD Elements and MyBook External Drives (3)
- Sony Tablet S
- AKG Perception 420 Condenser Microphone
- M-Audio MobilePre Audio Interface (USB 2.0)
- Logitech C910 1080p Webcam
I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the audio quality of both the AKG Perception 420 and the Corsair Vengeance 1500, a headset used by several members of the Gnomies community, as well. The Logitech C910 is a great camera, though the software needs a lot of work. My best advice would be to use the camera and avoid the companion software at any costs.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the HP Pavilion desktop at first. When I bought it, it was about $700 at Best Buy, though after upgrading the video card and PSU, performance far exceeded my expectations for a cost of under $900. It runs Skyrim at Ultra settings very well, with only a few patches of lag here and there brought on by heavy activity.
While I use a SteelSeries WoW mouse from time to time, I don’t recommend it at all. It’s not the best mouse out there, and the surface tends to build up with finger gunk after a few weeks and need a cleaning. I’d like to think I have clean hands, but that glossy plastic is a magnet for dust and grime. I much prefer the textured surface of the Logitech G5 laser mouse. The added weighted feature makes it perfect for me.
The Logitech K360 Wireless Keyboard is quite nice, though not everyone will appreciate the feel of the keys. It’s very unlike the Apple keyboard, and becomes very noisy after a few weeks.
Things I Use While Traveling
- 2011 MacBook Pro 13″
- Bose OE2 Headphones
- Olympus Pen Mini Camera
- Apple iPad 2 3G
- Apple Camera Connection Kit for iOS Devices
- Bag of Holding
Traveling for me is working on the road. In this case, I always have a good camera at my side, a tablet computer and the Apple Connection Kit at the ready for quick photo edits and uploads. The MacBook Pro is a dream machine for writers, and even at 13″, it packs plenty of punch for working from the road. I can’t do heavy video editing on it, but it does the job of making blogging possible.
The Apple iPad 2 is a perfect travel companion. It works when I need it to, and pulls more than its own weight. I don’t recommend the Sony Tablet S for travel, though it does make a great Netflix and music player in the home office.
The Bag of Holding is one of my favorite bags. While I do change them out depending on how much or how little I’m packing, this bag folds nicely, and holding a boatload of stuff. If I really put some thought into it, this bag might be capable of holding everything I need for a three-day trip.
Things I Use While out and About
- iPhone 4 16 GB
- Plantronics Bluetooth Earpiece
- T.H.E. Tactical Wallet
I’m a huge believer in kitting out for any adventure. Navigating through the concrete jungle that is Austin, it’s important to have the right kit for the job. The iPhone 4 is a great smartphone, and arguably the most capable on-phone camera I’ve used yet. For long conversations or talking on the road, I use a Plantronics Bluetooth earpiece that sounds fairly good. I use it while talking to Gnomies on TeamSpeak on the road.
By far the geekiest wallet I’ve ever used is the T.H.E. tactical wallet from Spec Ops. This wallet can hold a passport, change, plenty of cash, and a boatload of credit/business cards. It also features brackets for lanyard usage so you can place a photo ID in it and wear it in the field. Security and/or law enforcement professionals would probably appreciate this wallet more than anyone. This is a takeaway from Patrolling with Sean Kennedy, one of my favorite geeky Web series.
I hope this list is of any use to anyone looking for a decent computing setup for their own home office and/or while traveling. Most of the equipment listed here I would absolutely recommend to anyone, though best is always relative. What works for me may not work for anyone else, but there it is.
What do you use to get through the daily grind? Feel free to be as specific as you’d like below.