The "Tools I Use" is a new series designed to help our community discover and share new tools to build their businesses and enhance their personal lives. We welcome members of our community to participate in this column. If you would like to submit a post, just answer the three questions in bold (below) and email your article, we'd love to have your contribution.
Who are you and what do you do?
What hardware do you use?
I use a DELL laptop and it receives the majority of my computing time. I am much more productive on my DELL laptop than my other devices. But I love my iPad for reading and for meetings. And to ensure that I don’t get comfortable with any single vendor, my phone is a Droid Bionic. I love Droid phones, but I doubt I will ever purchase another Motorola Droid phone again. I use LG monitors both at home and the office.
For headphones, I love my ZAGGbuds. Awesome sound and they don’t tangle. I have an Xbox that I use not only for playing games on rare occasions but also to stream video from my PC. My televisions are all Vizio, and I love the Vizio apps built right into the TV. For speakers, I have a Monster Clarity for listening to music via Bluetooth, but I also just bought a SoundKick, which I really like (but is less portable) since it charges devices while playing and it supports Apple connections to play/charge without Bluetooth. I love my Logitech keyboards, mice, video camera and presentation remotes.
And what software?
I’m a Windows 7 geek, but I look forward to Windows 8. I’m a big fan of Microsoft Office, spending my days in Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word along with occasional use of PowerPoint and Access. But I’m starting to use Google Docs more and more for collaboration, especially on spreadsheets because it's much more convenient and easier than emailing back documents for feedback. I just recently switched from Firefox to Chrome for my browser--very good move.
Skype is my preferred video/IM/phone call of choice on both the desktop and my tablets. Skype is available on every device and has a deep user base. I also like the fact the software is so mature.
For online presentations, I’m a GoToMeeting guy. It is a great value and works incredibly well. I love PowerPoint for most presentations because it is powerful and easy to use. But when I want to “wow” an audience, I’ll take the time to make a PREZI.
For helping my family out when the computer is down, I use TeamViewer. My helpdesk team uses LogMeIn Rescue to support our 500+ sales partners whenever they have a problem. It allows them to fix 90+% of the problems remotely as if we are at the PC in person. For projects, we use a mix of Google docs (spreadsheets) and LiquidPlanner.
I’m a fan of Hootsuite to help me keep up with social media, but I use the native websites most. I also like ManageFlitter to help me keep my Twitter user accounts from getting too unwieldy. I use SugarSync for my file storing and sharing across my devices.
Music? Pandora is the hands down winner. I pay the $36 a year and get commercial free music. I love it and use it all the time. Sirius who? Spotify is installed but rarely used. Kindle is my reader app of choice, and I read books on all my devices. And I can’t live without my audible subscription, best way to “read” most books and it's a great value.
But my best reading is done daily with my zite app on my iPad. All I can say is Wow.
I LOVE Google Picasa for managing my photos. Easy, powerful and free. I take the time to update the face tags so I can easily find photos of people. But since I have 4 kids and they all look similar, it is more challenging for me than most parents.
Passwords? What passwords? I use Lastpass, and it does ALL the hard work for me. Exercise? I use the cardio trainer on my Droid to keep track and encourage me to work out. Google is my GPS and map app. Games? I’m addicted to Words With Friends, Scramble and Enjoy Sudoku+.
And my most used app, after Outlook, is probably Evernote. It handles my notes and all sorts of things and is available on all my devices.