Monday, January 2, 2017

My gear

I thought I’d take a moment and share with you the main hardware items I use, and what role each plays.

Surface Pro 4 – My main desktop machine for all my day to day work. With 16 GB of RAM it allows me to run Hyper V machines to typically test the connection of on premises environments to Azure and Office 365.

Surface Pro 3 – My travelling machine for presentations and work on the road. It is also a backup machine to the Surface Pro 4, if for any reason my main machine has issues. Not quite as powerful as the Surface Pro 4 but a really great machine to travel with.

Surface Pro 1 – For many years my original main desktop machine. It is now being repurposed into a dedicated ‘Office 365/Windows 10 Azure AD joined’ machine that will live the full integrated experience. It will be the demo machine I used to test out the integrations between client and the Microsoft Cloud.

Mac Book Pro – Starting to show its age but still allows me to understand the emotional fuss people make about these machines (my experience is that they are no better or worse than PCs really). I typically use this machine on the weekend so I get to experience what being a ‘normal’ end user is like. I still don’t have much Mac experience and that makes it extremely annoying actually getting technical stuff done on this machine. However, at least I can test how these Apple desktops work with Office 365.

Ipad 2 – Getting a bit long in the tooth now and mainly used as my test device for connection of iOS to Office 365. All the Microsoft apps are on there and I use it to understand better how iOS works with Office 365. Also, a very handy travelling machine when you just need to check and reply to a few emails. Much more suited to my stubby fingers when it comes to email.

Nexus 5 – Another device that is beginning to seem slower than it actually is. In the world of Office 365 I need to understand how Android connects to Office 365 and what apps are available, hence this ‘pure’ Google device. It has all the Microsoft software installed, including the Next screen launcher. This is also my go to podcast device simply because it is the smallest portable device I have. This phone is also a backup in case my main Windows 10 phone has any issues. It also doubles as a secondary Wi-Fi hotpot in case of Internet connectivity issues.

Lumia 950 XL – My main day to day phone running Windows 10. Does everything I need and more. Love it. My only criticism is that it is perhaps too large for my stumpy fingers, the 950 probably would have been ergonomically a better bet upon reflection. I use this to make calls, send texts, read emails and function as a Wi-Fi hotspot when other Internet connection options are inadequate. It is my office when I can only use the one hand.

Microsoft display dock – Connects to the Lumia 950 XL to provide power as well as the continuum feature where the phone can act as a desktop. I really think this configuration is the way forward and am looking forward to the rumoured Surface phone.

Kensington USB 3.0 Docking Station sd3500v – This allows my main machine to connect to multiple monitors, standard LAN connectivity and a variety of USB connections as well as audio. Simply one connection to Surface Pro 4 and many connections out.

WD Sentinel DX4000 – My on premises NAS to hold all my local files. Also holds things such as videos, ISOs, etc that are too large for realistic storage in the Cloud. The server run Windows Storage Server and doesn’t do much else than act as a big file share for all my machines but it has a RAID configuration which is great protection for my data.

Rode NT-USB microphone – My ‘high quality’ audio device for doing podcasts as well as meetings.

Plantronics wired headsets – I have two of these, one for my desktop and one for the road. Great quality and sound.

Acer CB281HK 4K 28” monitor – All my machines, when they are on my desktop, connect to at least a second screen (my main Surface Pro 4 connects to dual monitors). The best of these is this Acer model. Clear, sharp and huge. Great for work but also leisure.

Amazon Kindle – Still to my mind the best dedicated device I own. I use it everyday and love the way it looks and feels as well as how well it does what it does. The charge lasts for ages, you can use it anywhere. It is clean, smart and functional. It is one of the devices that I can truly say has changed the way I function, and for the better.

Fitbit – When I’m not travelling I wear a Charge HR. My aim is to achieve 10,000 steps a day but my main reason for using this device is to monitor my sleep patterns. I’m trying to improve my sleep in order to boost my daily productivity and this device helps me do that along with so much else. This is the perfect device to help you keep your fitness commitments.

Xbox 360 – Apart from being slaughtered by foul mouthed nine year olds in Call of Duty constantly while providing some much needed frustration release and hand eye-coordination training, I spend most of my time on this device watching YouTube, especially Microsoft content.

Of course, I have various other gadgets spread around the place but the above list are the main items I use and recommend.

What’s your list?