It’s been a while since I sat down and worked out what tools I use on a day-to-day basis. It’s useful to take stock once in a while. So here goes…

Devices:

Samsung Galaxy S7

The second-most expensive device I have ever purchased and the one with which I’ve probably been least satisfied. Yesterday morning I awoke to a notification that it had run out of space again. And the issue undoubtedly is that Android has become the new Windows in that the manufacturers stuff them full of bloatware which can’t be removed. In the case of the Galaxy, Microsoft Office (which I rarely if ever use on the phone) takes up a huge amount of space and is unremovable. Grr.

Apple iPad Pro + Keyboard + Apple Pencil

I was wrong.

There you go. I said it.

I’ve been living an Apple-free life for many, many years, scarred by the experience of supporting the bloody things back in the beige-box, inter-Jobs dark days of the 1990s when nothing seemed to work right. The iPad, though, along with crucially the Apple Pencil has been a revelation, and the final step for my life to go completely paperless. I still use a PC (I’m writing this on one), but the iPad has replaced my notebook in ways I wasn’t expecting. The touch-sensitive Pencil & screen writing combination has been a revelation (more on that in the Apps).

Asus ZenBook 305

Bought at a discount as end of line stock in John Lewis, the ZenBook has replaced Chromebooks for the first time in three years. The reason for making the shift? Purely down to two apps required for things outside of work: Audacity for audio editing and Reason for musical tinkering.

I use Windows grudgingly. It feels bloated and old fashioned in comparison to the sleekness of ChromeOS. As I write this I have a Spotify installer stuck in a loop of stupid. I rarely (other than for the App reasons above) stray far from the Chrome browser. But it does mean that I’m running devices from all three of the major OS players, so can know with daily experience, what it’s like to be using all of the major platforms (Androids, iOS, Windows).

I won’t be getting a MacOS device any time soon. Those scars from the 1990s are still too recent.

Apps:

For writing:

On a day-to-day basis, GoodNotes on the iPad is my main tool for note taking, jotting, doodling and drawing. I tried to maintain a properly cross-platform approach by using Evernote or OneNote but both were too generalist and not really geared for day-to-day notetaking on a touchscreen. Whilst not editable on my other devices, GoodNotes backs up PDFs to Google Drive so all of the content is available whenever from where ever.

I’ve also found that I’m increasingly using handwritten notes both in presentations and as a quick way to follow-up after meetings. Being able to edit, zoom in and out, and have unlimited colour options really changes the way you take notes (and almost everything I do these days is in mindmap form.

General collaboration:

The core of my working is still in GSuite. I have a few clients who use O365, and so I will use it grudgingly. Simply put, the stuff in O365 that is supposed to make it like GSuite simply doesn’t work properly, and all the stuff in O365 that you can’t live without and isn’t in GSuite I get along without quite happily. Different strokes, and all that, but everything in the browser is where things should be in this space.

Alongside the behemoths, Slack and Trello are both in general use. Like many others I’ve also taken to using Zoom for conferencing – although we are still using Hangouts for recording WB40 each week.

Social:

WordPress provides all my blogging needs, across web and Android/iOS clients (both of which are increasingly fully-featured).

I’d struggle without Twitter in my life. In the eight years I’ve been using it, it’s become a place for conversation, news, working gossip, humour… I don’t experience the darkside of it particularly because I have a simple policy – don’t follow arseholes.

I’m much less reliant on LinkedIn than I was. And so I no longer pay for it.

Facebook is there. Instagram is a place for “arty” shots. WhatsApp occasionally in use with some friends.

Business management:

Everything these days is in the wonderful Freeagent.

Podcasting:

WordPress underpins the WB40 website. We have absolutely no idea on listenership as a result, but that’s fine for me in my ongoing quest against metrics.

Chris and I record each Monday evening from our respective home offices; I use an old ElectroVoice mic, a Yamaha MG10/2 mixing desk and a Behringer USB soundcard recording into Audacity (where I also do the editing). For the occasional field recording I have a TASCAM DR05 recorder. I also have a completely unnecessary but lovely pair of KRK Rokit 5 monitors in the office.

 

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