What I use

I just got back from a long weekend trip by the coast. The lodge that we stayed in was very nice, but the WiFi was so slow that I think a carrier pigeon would have been a more effective way of communicating to the outside world. 

It was so bad in fact that I left my laptop in my bag and decided to use my iPhone and the Verizon 3G network. This was OK, but certain social networking apps were still really slow and the native mail client was pretty dismal. 

What I ended up doing was installing Google’s native apps for Search, Gmail, Chrome and Drive. I already had Google Maps installed, which as of late has completely replaced my Magellan car GPS device. 

For some reason the Google apps over 3G were far more responsive than the native iOS mail app, SkyDrive, and the Firefox Home browser sync app, which I used in conjunction with the Safari browser.

Perhaps Google has some special QoS deal with Verizon or maybe Google’s technology and services is just far more superior than anything else out there? Who knows… Whatever the case, using Google’s services provided a much more optimal experience in these diabolical low bandwidth situations. 

Fortunately, I still had my notes file on my Google Drive folder, which contained a number of things we did the last time we were in the area over a year ago. Searching with the Google app and browsing with Chrome made looking up reviews of restaurants and places to go so much easier. My bookmarks were somewhat outdated, as I have been using Firefox for some time now, but for the most part all of my most important bookmarked items were still synced via my Gmail account. 

As you can imagine, this was a turning point. A full 180 degrees, and without having to repeat myself again I will refer you to a previous blog post of mine on April 24th called Google the Great!

The only differences now are:

Desktop OS = Mac OS X 10.8.3 Moutain Lion
Mobile OS = iOS 6.1.3
Mail, Contacts, and Calendars = Google
Tasks / To-do’s = Google
Online Storage = Google Drive
Browser = Google Chrome
Bookmark Sync = Google Chrome



What Paul uses

Every once in a while one of my favourite tech bloggers, Paul Thurrot, publishes a blog post title called “What I use”. I know his tech is primarily Windows-based, but I always enjoy reading it because I am interested in seeing the variation of devices he uses and how he makes them work together suit his needs.

For me, at least on the hardware side, I am primarily an Apple guy. I have been using other software and online services, but all of this is pretty much houses within Apple branded casing, especially for my home tech.

Anyway, here’s Paul’s latest edition of “What I use”: http://winsupersite.com/hardware/what-i-use-july-2013

I’ve been bitten by the PAT bug again!

So much for NFP syndrome! I guess it’s in my nature to never stick to just one thing, as in one device, one set of software, or a single platform.

I have continued to use Windows 8 on a daily basis at work on a dedicated PC with a quad-core i7, 8GB’s or RAM, and a 21″ monitor. This is the setup that I use all day and rarely ever touch my MacBook Pro.

When I am home I use the MacBook Pro with OS X, as the symbiotic relationship between the hardware and software results in uber battery life. It is unbelievably superior compared to running Windows 8 in power saver mode on both the same MacBook Pro or on an HP Pavilion laptop.

The fact that I am now switching between Mac@Home and PC@Work has rekindled my desire to continue the pursuit for PAT bliss!

This time I am taking a different approach with an emphasis on separating work and play. How do I plan to do this? Read on…

Whether I am on Windows 8 or Mac OS X I have specifically chosen a set of applications that can be used for both work or personal use on the same machine, so if I don’t happen to have my MacBook Pro at hand I can still look up any relevant personal information on my work PC. Here is the breakdown:

Work = Google Chrome
Home = Firefox
Mobile = Firefox Home
Both Chrome & Firefox support decent bookmark syncing that works cross platform. As for Firefox Home on iPhone, this is being used purely to sync open tabs and history etc. However, as it is not a fully fledged browser I have configured it to launch Safari when I do select a bookmark that I want to open.

File sharing:
Work = Box
Home = SkyDrive

Mail, Contacts, and Calendars:
Work = Outlook 2010, Mail.app, and Gmail.com
Home = Outlook.com
The reason I have chosen Outlook.com for home use is because it ties in so beautifully with SkyDrive, which is something I can simply not give up!

Work = Pen and Paper (literally!)
Home = Reminders
Yes, I kid you not! For work I have gone back to the traditional use of a biro and piece of tree shaving. As for using Reminders, which is strictly an iOS app, the reason I can get away with using this for now is that my iPhone is always within arms reach and doubles up as a really friggin’ awesome PDA! Because it syncs with my Outlook.com calendar I can view my reminders via the Outlook.com website if I really needed to, but for the most part that will not be necessary.