RED FANG - “Dirt Wizard”
Nothing wrong with that.
RED FANG - “Dirt Wizard”
Nothing wrong with that.
You’re right. This does have absolutely nothing to do with Halloween.
Happy Halloween though. Seriously.
I promise I’ll get back to talking about the crap I use soon enough, because I know how much everyone cares about that, but this comes first. Actually, it’s kind of about that.
First, let me say that unlike a whole lot of people, I actually liked Windows 8. I never used the start button anyway, just like I never use Launchpad. I install Launchy, hit Ctrl+Space and start typing. So really, it didn’t bother me, and that’s the type of guy I am. I use the new things. You may now sit back and have a hearty laugh while you think about how happy you are running Windows 7 and Firefox 4. That’s fine. I like to use new stuff.
So even though my laptop came running Windows 7, when Windows 8 came out, I bought the upgrade because I was within that special window where I could get it for $15. Bought it, installed it. There we go. Now, much like I like new things, I also hate upgrading operating systems. I’m a clean install guy, every time. I ended up installing Windows 8 enough that I just left it on a USB thumbdrive I’d brought back with me from CES. It says Windows on it. It helps me remember what’s on it.
Needless to say, when Windows 8.1 came out as a free upgrade for Windows 8 owners, I figured “hey, that’s new–why don’t I install it?” So I downloaded the installer, fired it up and it asked me for me key. I put in my Windows 8 key. That didn’t work. I’m a resourceful guy, so I searched around and found a way to download the update and get it on the thumbdrive. It shows me my Windows 8 key and tells me I’ll need this during the installation. I write it down.
I start the installation and, sure enough, it asks me for my key. I enter it. Apparently it’s no good. Back to the internet. Apparently I can use a “dummy key” meant for enterprise installations to finish the install. I use this, and once I finally boot into Windows 8.1 for the first time, it tells me that, not surprisingly, Windows isn’t activated. I put in my key, and now, finally it works and every thing is up and running. That was upgrading something that I owned, ostensibly, yet it required two seperate workarounds.
That’s my laptop. My main computer is a Hackintosh. Or Customac. Whatever you want to call it. I built it myself, and it runs OS X. As you may have heard, Apple released a new version recently: OS X Mavericks. As I’ve already told you, I like new things, so I wanted to install it. I downloaded it, followed this awesome guide to create a bootable USB drive. In less than an hour, I was up and running on my new Mavericks install. This is a free upgrade, on hardware that Apple doesn’t support. This isn’t supposed to work, in a way, and it was still far easier than upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.
Look, I know that technically I could have used the Windows Store method and upgraded that way, but as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t like upgrading operating systems in place. No matter what anybody says, it’s never as good as a clean install.
My point is, that shouldn’t matter. Especially not when everything else is just so damned easy in comparison.
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my tech / work setup, and because those things have long been taken offline (I have a habit of doing that), I figured it would be fun to revisit the idea. In this installment, I’ll be talking about my phone. I use a Moto X and I love it about as much as it is possible for me to love a phone.
My Moto X is 100% stock, and I mean it: no custom launcher, no other fiddling. Changing the wallpaper was about as crazy as I got. As you can see, my layout is pretty basic, with just a few different folders based on what I’m doing at any given moment. I have a few widgets on the other screens, basically views into a few of the apps I’ll mention later. Honestly, they’re only there because I didn’t see the point of empty screens to either side and I didn’t want to install a custom launcher just to have only one home screen. The names of the folders should be pretty self explanatory.
Everything here is crammed into the “Talk” folder on my homescreen with one exception—Google Voice—which sits in whatever the hell you call that bar at the bottom. I really hope Google doesn’t get rid of Voice, because my Google Voice number is the only contact information most people have for me, a side effect of my days reviewing Android devices when it was handy to port my number from phone to phone. Everything else is pretty much what you’d expect: Gmail, Hangouts for chat, Google+ and Tumblr. I use Neatly as my Twitter client and, so far, I’d say it’s the best Twitter app I’ve used for Android.
This is the “Do” folder. Number one here is DigiCal. I only found this app recently, but I vastly prefer it to the Google Calendar app. I really like the month view on top with a breakdown of your day on the bottom. Lately a large part of my day is pretty tightly scheduled, and being able to see what’s next while keeping a view of the big picture is really handy.
Next up is Nirvana. I’m a big fan of GTD, and I’ve been keeping my eye on Nirvana for some time. The only thing holding me back was the lack of an Android app. Now that they’ve recently released one I jumped right on board. I really like that time and energy are built right into Nirvana. This is a big factor in what you can get done at any moment, and a lot of GTD apps lack it. You can recreate the functionality with tags, but that takes time you could be doing something else with.
Next down the line is Draft, a Dropbox-syncing notes / text editor app. I keep my notes in Markdown formatted plain text across all my platforms and while I’ve tried a few Android apps for this purpose, so far Draft remains my favorite. Then I have LastPass, which I wish was integrated into Chrome for Android, Dropbox and Snapseed for simple photo editing.
The “Read” folder is mainly there for what I think of as the holy trinity of my reading on Android: Feedly, Pocket and Comixology. Feedly is usually the first app I open every morning, and sometimes I have my morning reading done before I even get out of bed, mainly thanks to Pocket. Most things I find interesting I just save to Pocket for later reading and move on.
Comixology is obviously in a different class, though since I do review comics for 53 Saturdays, it kind of does count as somewhat work related. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I also have A Comic Viewer installed, and not for any shady reasons, but because I prefer to buy Image Comics DRM-free, straight from the source. Finally I have Goodreads installed, which I use to keep track of what I want to read and what I’ve already read.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this is the “Listen” folder. For music I use doubleTwist since my main desktop computer is a (spoilers!) Hackintosh. With Airsync, I can easily wirelessly sync playlists with iTunes. I used to use Pocket Casts for podcasts, and it’s still a great app, but since I can use doubleTwist for podcasts as well, I’ve switched over since it’s one less app I need installed.
The other big one here is Audible, because I absolutely love audiobooks. I don’t get to listen to them as much as I used to, because lately I spend less time traveling, but they’re still great for either mindless computer tasks and for listening to while folding laundry, etc.
There are a few apps I use that I don’t keep on my homescreen. One is Runtastic Pedometer Pro, which is, well, a pedometer. I use it two figure out how much I walk in a day, and it syncs with MyFitnessPal, which I use to keep track of what I eat and drink.
The other big one here is Sleep As Android. First, it monitors how well you sleep by paying attention to how much you move. Second, it wakes you up much more nicely than a normal alarm clock. Just let it know when you want to wake up by, set the range of time you’d like to wake up, and when the app notices that you’re not in a deep sleep, it wakes you up. This is a much nicer way to start the day, I’ve found.
And that’s pretty much it for my phone. I plan to follow up with the setup for my desktop and laptop computers, and maybe how they all tie together, but I’m notorious for promising blog things and then not following up, so we’ll see.
Coffin Hill #1 has its lighter moments.
Okay, it was everything I hoped it would be, I just got lazy and didn’t post anything about it. I have photos, but the computer they’re on is having problems right now. More later.