My Setup 2013 Edition: Hardware and Software I Use
In this article I want to share with you what hardware, software and web services I use in my daily life. It is not a review, so I will just share with you what I use for what purpose. In coming weeks I will review every product or service that I think is worth of a closer attention.
Hardware I use
In order to use any software or web service, the most essential thing is a good hardware. I live in Samsung’s homeland South Korea and I have an experience using a lot of different products from Samsung and LG, but I strongly believe that Apple makes the best hardware on the market.
Computer: MacBook Air
MacBook Air 11-inch is the best computer I have ever used in my life. It's perfect machine for my needs. I am always on the go, so mobility is the most important thing for me. But at the same time, I don't want to sacrifice my productivity. I don't have to, because this machine have full-sized keyboard, great performance and it is ultrafast thanks to SSD.
I think that this MacBook is perfect for people who don't do a lot of video editing and gaming on their computers. This summer, Apple updated its MacBook Air lineup with great battery life, and, in my opinion, made it the best portable computer.
Phone: iPhone 5 (16GB, iOS 7)
Although iPhone 5 isn't the newest iPhone on the market, I still think that it is one of the best smartphones ever. It's solid, stylish, easy to use, reliable and just gets the things done as well as any other newer phone out there. And since iPhone 5c, that was released this year, is a basically iPhone 5 in plastic, my iPhone will be well supported for at least 2 more years. I decided that I am not going to upgrade to iPhone 5s and wait for next generation instead.
Tablet: iPad mini (16GB, iOS 7)
The size of iPad 4 is too similar to size of my 11-inch MacBook Air, so I went with an iPad mini and it didn't disappoint me. I absolutely love the design and form-factor. I am looking forward to the iPad 5 in iPad mini-inspired design.
Software and web services
First of all, I love the ultimate solutions, smooth integration and ease of use of one service with another. I wish there was a company that provide all the functionality I want, but there isn’t one and will never be. I am trying to stick to one ecosystem, but it is impossible, because all products and all services have advantages and disadvantages. I am trying to use the best possible solution for each of my needs.
I am one of the people who loves the idea about 'living in the cloud’, so there are not so many of ‘software’ in my list, because 90% of time I use web services. I am always open to trying out the new products and services, and if you think that there is a better solution for something, please let me know.
I understand that there will always be discussions about privacy and security issues. For me, if there is something I don't want other people (or government) to know about me, I will never put it in a computer in a first place.
So, let's go.
Email, Contacts, Calendars: iCloud + Gmail
I use Gmail as my primary email service. I think there is no doubt that Gmail is the best email service right now with the highest number of users. I also like iCloud Mail for its simple user interface and smoothness integration with Apple’s hardware.
As for Contacts and Calendars, both iCloud and Google are good solutions. Both are working good with Apple hardware and ecosystem. If you also own an Android device, I recommend you to use Google’s solution, because it is more cross-platform.
Audio and Video Communication: FaceTime + Skype
I love FaceTime Audio feature in iOS 7, so I use FaceTime with people who have iOS devices. For others, I use Skype.
Photo and Video Editing: Photoshop + iLife + Fotor
When I need to do some basic video editing, iMovie is more than enough for all my needs. Same goes for photos - I use iPhoto or photo editors like Fotor. When I need to do some serious photo editing - Photoshop.
I constantly use iPhoto, but because I want to have a simple backup to the cloud functionality, I opted for using Dropbox for storing my photos. I know this is not perfect solution for me right now, but this is the closest to what I want. I also liked Picasa before, but I stopped using it when Google started to move everything to Google Plus.
Music: iTunes + Google Music
When I am offline, I use iTunes for listening to my music library. I have a copy of my music library in Google Music, because I like to have all my collection in the cloud perfectly organised, so when I use the different computer (I often do) I can easily enjoy my music collection.
Videos: Vimeo and Youtube
All my family and personal videos stored on Vimeo (in addition to my external HD, of course). For all other videos I use YouTube.
Notes : iCloud Notes
I think Evernote is a very good service for note-taking, but it is just more than I need. I like simplicity, so iCloud Notes are perfect for me. I like the seamless synchronisation between my MacBook, iPhone, iPad and iCloud web interface. I also like Simplenote, but it doesn’t have as deep integration with my devices as iCloud Notes does.
Documents : iWork + Google Drive
For complex word processing I use iWork. If I need to share a document with Windows user, I export it as a word document, or just save it as PDF. When I am not around my computer I use my iPad mini and sometimes iPhone for simple editing. Few month ago, Apple released a beta version of iWork for iCloud. So far I like it, but until it is completely polished and has all required functionality I will use Google Drive as a backup solution.
Files : Dropbox
Dropbox is simply one of my favorite services on all platforms. I use it for many things, but the main purpose is organizing documents and files. With Dropbox, I never worry about loosing my device, because I know I have everything stored in the cloud.
That's all for now. As you can see, there are thee main companies there: Apple, Google and Dropbox. They all have their Pros and Cons, so I am trying to get the best out of every of them.
What hardware and services do you use? If you have any suggestions for me, you are more than welcome to leave it in the comments below.