Our Tech

I make no apology for this being a bit technical. I will try and write a preamble to this that explains things more simply for people who are interested in the tools I use.

The world is electronic whether we like it or not. And as someone who has spent his working life in the information technology world all his working life I have a slightly different approach to computers, tablets and phones than I think the majority of people have. Now I will say up front that I do not play computer games. Even if I had time I don’t think I would use my time to play computer games. To be totally open I used to play games on computers and consoles but it was a limited amount and mostly a social situation.

So what do I use computers for? Well in the sleep deprived world that me and Tam exist in a lot of time is in making to-do lists and prioritising those lists. Another is making sure I have important things written down. I suppose in short a computer to me is a tool much like a pen.


The tools we use

Hackintosh

For a long time I have used Apple computers, and I actually worked for Apple for a while. I used them because they just worked. The software and the hardware worked. That was the beauty of them. I don’t know if its the fact that I worked for Apple for over 5 years or that they just are way too expensive for what they are or even the not so small fact that the hardware is not very good any more but I am not spending my money on Apple products any more. My hackintosh is a stop gap measure until I have extracted myself from the Apple ecosystem and have got all of my data copied away.

For now though my £1200 hackintosh outperforms anything that Apple currently sells and is just as stable.

I use a desktop because it gives me a place to work and concentrate on the things I need to do. Right now that is really important to me. Also using a desktop gives me access to much better monitors than a laptop provides. So for now my desk where my hackintosh sits is my workhorse. Once I am away from the Apple ecosystem it will become a Linux workstation that I will use in much the same way.

Software I use on this ranges from Apples office programs, Pages, Numbers and Keynote to specialist programs like AutoCAD Fusion 360.

Dell XPS 13

This beautiful little machine is without doubt the best laptop I have ever owned. I got in very cheap in a sale and it performs beautifully. It has all of the ports I need to connect to storage drives, printers, cameras etc.. Plus it has plenty of speed and storage. The 4k screen is brilliant, the keyboard is top notch and the battery life is basically all day.

It is running Debian Linux and has been super stable. I cannot praise my little computer enough. I am typing this on it.

Logitech Trackball

On my hackintosh I use a Logitech Trackball version MX Ergo. It is brilliant and paired with the ultra-wide screen allows me to zip around the screen without using up loads of desk space. The battery is lasting multiple months on a charge and I have never needed to clean it.

One of the things I love is that you can program the multiple buttons to do different things. I have a couple of buttons programmed to scroll back and forth across the five workspaces that I use.

Mechanical Keyboard

I tend to type a lot and cannot express how much nicer a mechanical keyboard is to type on. I am not going to say the make as the feel of a mechanical keyboard is a personal preference.

LG Ultrawide (LG 34UM88C)

If you want to be more productive then buy an ultra-wide monitor. They are sanity and time savers. On each of the workspaces I use I can split up the programs to either use the full screen or split the screen into 2 or 3 parts to run more programs. For instance I have a workspace that has the calendar on the left third, email on the right third and my to-do tracker in the middle. It is the only way to work, believe me, once you try an ultra-wide monitor you will not go back.

Epson ET-4750 Printer

I hate printers, but I have found a printer that I can live with and that does not cost a fortune to run. I bought it about a year ago and I have probably printed about 1000 plus pages. I am still on the first lot of ink and I have spare bottles of ink waiting. I reckon the ink will possibly run out in a couple of years time. Yes, you did hear all of that right. For 3 whole years I will not have had to buy ridiculous costing ink cartridges.

The Epson uses a thing called Ecotank. You fill the tanks up with bottles of ink. It is really simple. Other big pluses with this printer are duplex printing (both sides) and a really good document scanner. Again a product I would hate to do without now.

Fuji X-E3 Camera

When Bev died I sold all of my cameras. I did not see the point in having a camera. Well one day I was killing time waiting for Tam coming out of school and ended up playing with the Fuji X-E3. I was hooked. Great little camera with a bit of a nostalgic feel that takes beautiful pictures. Got a couple of nice lenses with it as well.

Elgato StreamDeck

Another time saver but this one is difficult to explain. Best way to think about it is a little keyboard that you can program to do multiple tasks with the touch of one button. Plus you can display what you want on the buttons as each button has a little LCD display.

3D Mouse and Streamdeck
3D Mouse and Streamdeck

I have about 200 actions programmed on mine all sorted into folders depending on what I am doing. A little taste of what it can do is that I have a button programmed to move to my third workspace and open 4 programs and arrange them on the screen so that they are in the places I want them. Another key is programmed to lock the house door, turn off the lights, run a program to dim the hall light down slowly and turn the TV off, and finally shut the computer down.

It takes a little bit of setting up but once done it is a great tool.

3DConnexion Spacemouse

Another one that is hard to explain. Its a mouse that does not move much! You pull, push and twist it! And the main reason I have it is so that I can do 3D design work. Not many people need on, but it makes designing so much more intuitive.

NAS drives

All the documents and photos and videos are stored and backed up on a couple of devices called network attached storage devices. It means that I can access them from anywhere and everything is automatically backed up.