When I tell people I do web/social media marketing work, that basically I’m a full-on web nerd, they look at me funny. Like, “Oh, how long have you been unemployed?” funny. After we get past that initial awkwardness, they invariably ask two things: (1) Can social media help my business? And (2) What is your computer hardware/software setup like?
For this Friday post, I will tackle both questions.
For (1): yes.
For (2), I will answer in the format of The Setup’s interviews, because I can read that stuff all day and have found some excellent software from them. Here goes.
What hardware are you using?
In the office, I use a super-gonzo Dell Precision laptop running Windows 7 Professional connected to three 24″ monitors. Multiple monitors are the single best thing you can add to your setup next to a jetpack to improve productivity, and I would be far, far slower without them. If you don’t have multiple monitors but can afford them/are allowed to by your IT team, you’re cheating yourself.
At home, I use a pretty banged-up early 2008 MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM that’s connected to a 2002 HP 2335 LCD monitor. I use Apple’s wired keyboard because I have to have a number pad for data crunching, and I have a filthy — disgusting, really — Logitech wireless mouse whose model number I can’t remember because it was made before the dawn of language.
I have a first-gen iPad that I use for everything except longform content creation. It’s awesome, if a bit heavy and sharp-edged. Still, it has replaced a laptop for 90% of my tasks when my son isn’t stealing it to play Dungeon Raid.
Right next to my iPad you’ll almost always find my iPhone 4, which I take with me everywhere. Literally, everywhere. Well, except the shower and the gym, but aside from those caveats, everywhere. I’m not sure if I own it or it owns me. I suspect the latter.
And what software?
Being a web dork means having a romantic relationship with your browser, and I am an unrepentant Chrome devotee. It runs on both my work and home laptops.
For longform writing, I get all weird: I will use Ommwriter, WriteRoom, BBEdit, Sublime Text or even the WordPress editor. It depends on my current propensity to get distracted. For a pure, clean blogging on the Mac, I couldn’t live without MarsEdit. On Windows, Windows Live Writer 2011 is pretty solid, if a bit slow (thanks .NET!).
For mail, I am a gigantic Gmail nerd. Gmail might be the best implementation of email in the world. And by might I mean is. At work, I have to tolerate Outlook, which is really starting to feel like something wet, angry and smelly that crawled onto my computer from the late 1990s. Because it is.
For keeping the soul-crushing silence at bay and the voices in my head arguing amongst themselves instead of with me, I fire up iTunes or Rdio. Lately, a lot has been Rdio.
For keeping track of stuff, I use Notational Velocity on my Mac and SimpleNote on the web and iPhone/iPad. I would probably keel over dead within a half hour without Dropbox. Whenever I have a thought that doesn’t fall apart like a soggy box after a few seconds of critique, it goes into one of these apps for later curation.
For photography, I use a Nikon D90, Canon S90, or my iPhone 4 (don’t laugh — it’s the most popular camera on Flickr). For post work, I use iPhoto, Photoshop CS5 and occasionally Acorn, which is a terrific OSX application that does, for me, 90% of what I use Photoshop for. On my iPhone, I am a huge Instagram evangelist, along with Camera+ and Photogene.
For social media stuff, I use Tweetdeck on Windows (still wish it was a web app though) and the official Twitter client on my Mac. I have an entire monitor devoted to Facebook, blogs and Google+ sessions running in Chrome.
What would be your dream setup?
My MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth, and the screen does a weird flicker thing against certain gray backgrounds, so I’ve been thinking about a replacement. I’m torn between two masters: portability and power. The idea of a new 27″ quad-core iMac is very appealing because of the screen real estate and power, but it’s a desktop and who buys those anymore? On the other hand, I’m waiting for Apple to stop being so jerky and release the new MacBook Airs with the Sandy Bridge architecture so maybe that will be enough power and I can nerd out in lightweight, sealed, portable style. (That option might actually steal time from the iPad.)
Oh, and I’d like software that does what I think, no questions asked. That’d be cool. Also, Google search box for my brain because, yeah, it’s come to that.
Shut up about your dumb nerd stuff. Do you have any links?
Yes, yes I do.
This man won $3.4 million — and then went back to work as a janitor. The world needs more people like this.
Here’s a site that provides the best introductory books for myriad topics. Tons of browsing pleasure here, folks.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
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