End of Year Update 1 of 2: What I use for technology

Dear Clients and Friends:

I thought I would finish the year with 2 updates for you and keep it on the lighter side.
This first update will cover the devices and software I normally use in my daily computing, technology routine. By no means am I saying that you should use all or even any of the same devices and programs, but I thought it would give you an interesting point of reference. I have included explanations where appropriate

1. Primary computer: MacBook Air Mid-2012 13 inch, 128 GB SSD hard drive, 4 GB RAM
*Yes, this is the same laptop that Apple gave me for free in October of last year after my 2010 MacBook turned into a lemon.
-Overall it has been a pretty decent experience. I was disappointed with the solid-state hard drive (SSD) failed in March of this year. Since Apple has shifted to using proprietary parts in most of its computers, they even had a hard time replacing their own part for me under warranty. It took 7 days to get my laptop back from the local Apple Store. While Apple does take good care of their customers, I guess we should keep in mind that it doesn’t hurt to have a second computer — whether that second device is a large tablet or a Windows computer. If you are the type that is uncomfortable dropping your computer off somewhere for warranty service — then its important to choose a brand like Dell / Lenovo where the technician will come to you.

2. Cell phone: iPhone 5c, Verizon. I got my phone in the early fall when the 5s / 5c first came out. The 5s model was hard to obtain. The 5c is a new phone also, but keep in mind that it is really no different inside than last year’s iPhone 5, perhaps with some better quality parts. 5c comes in colors. If you really want the iPhone, get the 5s now that there are no supply constraints.

3. Tablet: NONE
– I can pretty much get by with my very light laptop and iPhone. I would honestly say that for most people an iPad would be the best tablet, however I want my tablet to be more like a computer with files and folders that I can easily access. Therefore, if I were to get at tablet it would be an Android device. I would seriously consider the Google Nexus 7 and Lenovo Yoga 10 if I were to go the tablet route

4. Office Software: Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac
– Back when Microsoft started selling its Office 365 subscription to consumers in February ($99 a year or 9.95 a month), I jumped on it. This allows you to get the desktop version of Office on up 5 computers under your control (in your family). Windows and Mac computers can be mixed an matched. You are also allowed to have Office on up to 2 Android phones or iPhones.

5. Note Taking Software: Evernote. Since approximately 2009, I have used the the free version of Evernote. There is a paid version if someone has notes with a lot attachments. I like Evernote because I can access the program on Mac, Windows on the web at Evernote.com, and on mobile devices. Its easy to sort and group your notes. You can even create multiple notebooks. Users can clip parts of websites directly to Evernote

6. Second monitor: In late October or early November, I picked up an AOC (generic brand) 22 inch monitor at Best Buy. It is one of the best decisions I ever made. Using an adapter, $25, I connect it to my MacBook Air. Using two screens helps me be more productive and organized. I love it. I got the monitor for $119 on sale. I think the regular price is $159. Whether you are a desktop or laptop users – 2 monitors can really help you if you like having a lot of work open at one time.

7. Backup solutions: you know I am a big believer in this. I use 4 actually
– Dropbox for backup of current files I am working on and recent photos. Free and paid options
– SkyDrive — Microsoft’s backup service. You get 7 GB for free I believe + an extra 20 if you are an Office 365 subscriber. This storage can be used for just about anything. Personally, I use it to share photo albums with family and friends. I also use it to share web versions of Microsoft Office documents with others. FYI, SkyDrive.com offers anyone a FREE web based version of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Great for basic documents
– iDrive — is a service similar to Carbonite and CrashPlan. This is a solution that you can use to backup everything. It costs about $50 per year for a paid account. You can get a free account that will give you 5 GB of space. I use this to backup all of my documents — my archive essentially. iDrive can be accessed from Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android ** Local backup
– I use an external hard drive with two partitions: 1 is used for Apple’s Time Machine backup program. #2 is used as a clone backup. A clone means its an exact copy of my Mac’s hard drive. A clone can be booted from in case my Mac’s hard drive were to go bad again.

Next week — My favorite technology items!!!