Kyle Reddoch: What I Use (April 2014)

Kyle Reddoch: What I Use (April 2014)

A look at the various technology I use.

I get asked all the time about the hardware and software that I use. Instead of answering the same questions day in and day out, I thought it would be better to just put the list out there. So, here it goes.

Note: I am a huge technology geek and play around with many devices on a daily basis.

Computers

While I use a variety of computers on a daily basis, here are the main ones I use day-to-day.

Primary PC

I have been using a HP Touchsmart IQ506 all-in-one Desktop PC for some time now. This all-in-one PC features a 2.17GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-T5850 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 7200 RPM Sata HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS video card with maximum screen resolution of 1920x1200 at 75 Hz, and a Supermulti Slimslot DVD drive. I use a Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000 and a HP Wireless Comfort Mouse with it. I also have attached a 1TB Seagate USB portable drive for extra storage (although I might wipe and use it as extra storage for my Xbox One).

I originally purchased this with Windows Vista on it but quickly wiped it out and replaced the OS with Windows 7. Now I am onto Windows 8.1 and it looks to be the end of the road for OS updates.

Although this computer has since been discontinued, it has served its purpose well. Currently on the market for a new one, any suggestions?

Primary Portable PC

I am currently using the Surface Pro 2 as my primary portable device. It a thin, light, portable, and very powerful tablet. It features a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of SSD storage and a 16:9 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display running at 1920 x 1080. I am using the Black Type Cover (Gen 2) and a Microsoft Touch Wedge Bluetooth mouse. I carry the device around in the FreedomCase Black Leather case. I am currently running the Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049 on it. This has been a wonderful device and has definitely paid for itself.

Standby Laptop

As my backup laptop, I use the HP Pavilion g7-1279dx. Although it has some years on it, it is reliable and very solid. It features a 2.10 GHz Intel Pentium B950 processor, 4GB RAM, 320GB 5400 RPM HDD and a 17-inch display running at 1600 x 900. This device is currently running the Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10041.

Media Center/Server

I currently have a 2TB HDD that is connected to my Wi-Fi router that is ReadyShare enabled (will get to that a little later). It houses all my movies, music, videos, documents, and etcetera. I have a HomeGroup setup with my Primary PC. This allows me to access that drive on any device that is on the network. This probably won’t even be needed in the near future do to the recently announced unlimited storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service, but we’ll see.

Cloud Backup

Currently I have everything syncing to my OneDrive cloud. This includes all my phones’ settings, tablets’ settings, PCs’ settings, documents, videos, music, and etcetera. Since I have unlimited storage, it makes since to have everything backup/stored in the cloud. Makes for easy recovery and access from anywhere.

Portable Devices

I use a ton of portable devices from day to day, more when I am actually traveling.

Smartphones

I have various devices which I use for testing purposes, etc.

Currently my daily driver is the Lumia 1520 (Red, 16GB, AT&T), which is currently running Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. I also have the Nokia Lumia 1020 (Yellow, 32GB, AT&T) running Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, a Nokia Lumia 925 (Black, 16GB, AT&T) currently running the new Windows 10 for phones build 10051, and last but not least, the HTC One M8 for Windows (Gunmetal, 32GB, AT&T) running Window Phone 8.1 Update 1. Okay this is my wife’s daily driver but I still take ownership.

Wearables

I currently wear the Microsoft Band and highly recommend it. It has all the things I need in a wearable, plus some!

MP3 Player

Are you kidding me? With apps like Xbox Music, Pandora, and Spotify, who needs a dedicated MP3 player these days! I just use those various apps, mainly on my Lumia 1520 as my source of music consumption.

Tablets

Besides my main Surface Pro 2 that I use. I also have a few other tablets I use for testing and around the house.

One of the devices is a HP Stream 8 (8-inch screen/32GB). It currently runs Windows 8.1 but sure I am going to update it to Windows 10 here pretty soon. Again, this is my wife’s tablet but I also take ownership. Another one is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite 7-inch (White, 8GB, Wi-Fi). All of these are wonderful in their own ways and are recommended depending on your needs.

Camera

Thanks to the superior cameras in devices like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Lumia Icon and others there is no longer a need for a digital camera. One trips and vacations, I take along my 1020 for that wonderful 41mp camera. For day to day pictures, the magnificent 13mp camera on my Lumia 1520 does the magic.

Internet and Phone

With all the devices we have as family, our internet usage goes through the roof! We are currently using Suddenlink as our provider. The plan we are on gives up 50Mbps down and 5Mbps up with a monthly data cap at 350GB. We pay an extra $20/month for additional 150GB data cap making it 500GB per month.

I am currently using the NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Smart Wireless Router as the backbone of my home network. It features a 1GHz Dual Core Processor, 256MB RAM & 128MB Flash, Beamforming+ to improve range and performance, the awesome ReadyShare USB access as previously mentioned, and many more features that make it one of the best personal Wi-Fi routers on the market.

We really don’t need a home phone since we use our mobile phones primarily but have it for the kids. Our home phone is through BasicTalk. The actual phone itself is just a basic VTech wireless phone, nothing over-the-top but serves its purpose.

Entertainment Devices

Our main entertainment device is the Xbox One. This is the one that gets used 98% of the time. It is plugged into our 42-inch Hisense HD Smart TV. We also have 2 Roku Streaming sticks, one plugged into that same TV and the other plugged into a second, 28-inch Insignia LCD TV with DVD combo.

Software/Services

Like many techie people, I have a stock collection of software I install every time I reinstall Windows or get a new PC.

Operating System

This one is easy. Of course Windows! Now I run various version of Windows on my devices. Current versions I am running are; Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 Technical Preview (various builds).

Productivity Suite

I use and highly recommend Office 365 Home, which includes subscription-based access to Office 2013 Professional Plus for 5 PCs and devices.

I use Microsoft's OneDrive (now built into Windows 8.1) to synchronize key files between my PCs and the cloud. I get a full 1 TB (currently migrating to unlimited storage) for free as part of my Office 365 subscription.

For email, contacts, and calendar management, I use Outlook.com. I also have other email accounts on numerous other services (Yahoo, iCloud, etc.) for testing purposes.

Internet and Communications

For browsing the web, I of course mainly use Internet Explorer but I do use others such as, Google Chrome and Firefox for testing. Ever since Project Spartan (the new browser for Windows 10) has been public, I am really liking it and starting to use it in tandem with IE.

I use Facebook to keep in touch with close friends and family only and Twitter to stay in touch with the world and communicate about tech news/topics. I use and highly recommend the wonderful Tweetium app (universal) for access to Twitter on my PC, Tablet, and Phone.

I use Skype for instant messaging and video chat with friends and family.

Security

I don’t use any third-party security software as Windows Defender in includes everything I need. In Windows 8.1 it now includes anti-virus functionality. I have used this, and its predecessor, Microsoft Security Essentials, and have yet to have any major issues. Best thing about it…it’s FREE.

Digital media

I use Xbox Music as my primary digital music player on the PC, Windows Phone and Xbox. I subscribe to and recommend Xbox Music Pass, a subscription music service that works with Windows 8/RT PCs (including the Xbox Music app), the web, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Windows Phone, iOS and Android. I also through in Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio from time to time to throw in some variety.

For video I use Xbox Video, which works on PC, Windows Phone and Xbox. I also store movies on my media server and currently in the process of moving my non-digital DVD collection there.

Since we have cut the cord, we use services like Netflix and recently Sling TV to watch TV and movies and has recently become the most valuable services we use.

I don’t read a lot but when I do I like to read eBooks. I use an app called Bookviser to import my eBooks for reading (it will also read them to you). Bookviser is a wonderful app and I recommend it.

That will pretty much answer the questions that I get, if not, feel free to reach out to me. I will also be keeping this up to date from time to time and I change devices.

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