It has been a year and a bisected aback my aftermost ‘What We Use’ post, area I explained what technology and articles I acclimated on a approved basis. About every aspect of that column is now out of date — in my amaranthine adventure to acquisition what devices, services, and applications are best for me, my armory of technology has absolutely changed.
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I’ve upgraded my desktop, switched phones, bought and awash two laptops, and purchased a car. Like all ‘What We Use’ posts from the AP staff, this is mostly an befalling for me to constitutional about technology I like. However, I do achievement some of this advice ends up advantageous — maybe I’ll end up advertence a apparatus or accessory you’ve been attractive for.
Without added ado, here’s all the technology I use on a approved basis.
Until about two months ago, my carrier was Google Fi, which meant I could alone use a scattering of phones if I capital abounding annual (Fi now supports best GSM devices, but that wasn’t accurate at the time). Now that a few US carriers action absolute abstracts for almost the aforementioned amount I was advantageous Fi for 2-3GB of abstracts acceptance anniversary month, I absitively to about-face to AT&T’s MVNO, Cricket.
With my new-found buzz freedom, I’m now appliance the OnePlus 5T I got aftermost year as my capital device. My 2016 Pixel still works perfectly, abnormally aback I replaced the array a year ago, but the 5T is acutely faster. My alone complaint is that the 5T’s photo affection is still hot debris — all my pictures attending like Van Gogh paintings.
I’m not in a blitz to advancement phones, but I brainstorm I’ll apparently buy a Pixel 3 at some point. I ability additionally try a Samsung device, aback the aftermost one I endemic was a Galaxy Player 5.
I accept absolutely one use for tablets — watching movies/TV shows in bed. My 2014 Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 can handle that workload aloof fine, and its Super AMOLED awning still looks great.
The aftermost official amend for the Tab S 8.4 was Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so I accept LineageOS 14.1 installed. Stock Android 7.1 is a massive advancement over Marshmallow-era TouchWiz, and it works aloof accomplished for media consumption. Originally, Lineage couldn’t comedy Netflix and a few added apps in HD, but that bug was bound a few months afterwards I aboriginal installed the ROM.
After my Moto 360 chock-full working, I bought a refurbished Huawei Watch in aboriginal 2017. It was absolutely one of the best Android Abrasion watches about that time, and it still works well, abnormally afterwards aftermost month’s update. The Fossil Sport alone beneath $200 aftermost month, so I absitively to assuredly upgrade.
My analysis of the Fossil Sport was appear beforehand this month, so you should apprehend that if you appetite my abounding opinion. Continued adventure short, it’s a acceptable watch and a solid advancement from beforehand Android Wear/Wear OS devices.
My accepted desktop is a custom-built mini-ITX PC, nicknamed ‘Defiant’ — all my computers are called afterwards ships from Star Trek. It currently has a Ryzen 5 1600 processor, 16GB RAM, a 500GB Samsung 960 SSD as the arrangement drive, a 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SSD for added storage, a Zotac GTX 1080 Mini cartoon card, and a Thermaltake Core V1 case.
I’m appliance a simple Dell USB chicklet keyboard while I delay for my Hexgears X-1 to arrive, and my abrasion is a Logitech MX Master. My affectation is a Dell UltraSharp U2913WM, which I bought on approval aftermost year. It’s alone 60Hz, but it was a massive advancement from my antecedent dual-monitor setup.
The microphone I use for the AP Podcast is a Blue Yeti (just like every distinct added podcaster uses), but aback I’m arena games, I use my accurate $11 iMicro USB headset. I’ll apparently buy a bigger angle at some point, but I accept absolutely got my money’s annual out of that iMicro archetypal — and it alike works with Android.
Since my aftermost What We Use post, I accept afflicted laptops twice. The Dell Latitude 3340 I was appliance in 2016 was beneath than ideal for abiding autograph work, abnormally with the low-res 1366×768 screen. Also, it was awfully abundant at 1.8kg (4.0 pounds).
In aboriginal 2017, I awash the Dell Latitude and bought an Asus Chromebook C302 (the Core M3 model). That was a above upgrade, to say the least. I wrote my abounding thoughts about it in a abiding review, but I anticipate it’s still one of the best Chromebooks you can buy today — alike admitting it’s now over two years old.
Earlier this year, I started demography on added assignment that appropriate the connected use of Photoshop and added accoutrement that aren’t accessible on Chrome OS. I additionally absent actuality able to do development assignment on the go, which aloof wasn’t accessible on my C302 (Linux app abutment still hasn’t arrived). I awash the Chromebook and bought a discounted Lenovo Yoga 730.
The Yoga 730 is far from the best able-bodied laptop I’ve anytime used, but it’s acutely ablaze and performs well. It additionally has Thunderbolt 3 and a fingerprint sensor — appearance that are attenuate finds on a ~$750 laptop. I hardly anytime use the 2-in-1 mode, partially because the edges dig into my easily aback captivation it like a tablet, and partially because Windows 10 is still abominable on blow screens.
Before I started alive for Android Police, I had never acclimated a camera that amount added than $50 — let alone endemic one. Smartphones don’t absolutely cut it for analysis photos, so I bought a Sony Alpha a5000 aboriginal aftermost year while it was on sale.
I still accept a lot to apprentice about able photography, but I’ve absolutely become bigger at it over the accomplished year, mostly acknowledgment to advice from others at Android Police. Buying a Sony E 30mm f/3.5 macro lens, as able-bodied as appliance Adobe Lightroom for post-processing, has decidedly bigger the affection of my photos.
That’s not to say I alone use the a5000 for buzz reviews — I accept taken it out on a few trips, too. Beneath are some non-review photos from the accomplished year, and I accept a few added images on my 500px account.
I’m abiding all of you apperceive what a Nintendo About-face is and how it works. It’s a abundant console, and apparently the one I’ve had the best fun with aback my Nintendo DS Lite. I’m currently arena through Skyrim, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Super Mario Party.
I covered it in Dbrand’s white skin, so it could bout my desktop PC. I aloof allegation to get Smash Bros Ultimate…
The aboriginal car I collection was my dad’s antecedent abettor — a 2002 Nissan Murano. Put simply, it was a lemon. The car bankrupt bottomward consistently for affidavit alien to me or my dad. Aback I assuredly adored up abundant money to buy my own car (keep in mind, I’m 20 years old), the abstraction of an electric car was appealing, mostly because beneath things can go amiss mechanically in an EV — there’s no engine, brakes abrasion out slower acknowledgment to adorning braking, and so on.
There are alone a scattering of electric cars awash in the United States, and best of them were priced out of my budget. Luckily for me, Nissan Leaf cars from a few years ago are abounding for beneath $15K. Acclimated BMW i3s are agnate in price, but fast-charging stations for Leaf cars are added accepted — about area I live, anyway.
I bought a 2015 Nissan Leaf S in ‘Brilliant Silver,’ and overall, I’ve been actual blessed with it. The car is acutely bland to drive, and it stays about bashful at all times. I ambition it had Android Auto, but Nissan didn’t add that until the 2018 Leaf, and replacing the arch assemblage on beforehand models isn’t for the aside of heart.
Of course, the above bolt with any electric car is the range. Alike admitting my Leaf letters a best ambit of ~80 miles, it’s afterpiece to 65-70 aback traveling at artery speeds. The alone continued cruise I’ve attempted is active from my abode (I alive arctic of Atlanta, Georgia) to Jasper, Tennessee — a cruise of about 130 afar one-way. I had to stop at two charging stations on the way there, and three on the way back. I additionally had to analysis the ambit amid those stations, to accomplish abiding I could absolutely accomplish it to anniversary one afore active out of juice.
Charging for the aboriginal time on my Tennessee trip. This is in the parking lot of an aperture mall.
I’m not abiding I would acclaim a 2015 Leaf to anyone else, mostly because of the abbreviate range, but it apparel my needs (running errands, activity to the esplanade to work, etc.) actual well. It additionally aloof looks cool.
If you accept added than a scattering of USB-powered devices, you allegation to get a charging dock. I bought iKits’ 10-port charging base a year ago, and it has absolutely fabricated my activity easier. I don’t accept to admiration if a assertive accessory is absolutely charged, and I don’t accept to blend with assorted ability adapters (some of which may allegation slower than others).
The one disadvantage to this berth is that there is no fast charging of any affectionate — 5V/2.4A is the best speed. I don’t absolutely mind, aback whatever I bung into the berth is usually activity to break there until I allegation it the abutting day, but it’s annual noting.
I accept two capital pairs of headphones that I use appropriate now, Sony Noise-cancelling headphones (MDR-ZX770BN) and Apple AirPods. I don’t accept abundant to say about either of them — they both assignment like Bluetooth headphones should.
I do ambition the AirPods answerable via USB Type-C instead of Lightning, but aback Apple is boring switching all of their accessories to that connector, I’m abiding adapted AirPods aren’t too far off.
Here are some assorted cables, adapters, and dongles that I use on a approved basis:
Generic 3DS USB Cable: All of Nintendo’s contempo handheld consoles (DSi/2DS/3DS) allegation over USB, but with a custom adapter appearance — so Nintendo can advertise you big-ticket first-party bank adapters. There are dozens of aftermarket USB Type-A cables you can use instead, which assignment aloof accomplished with your absolute USB bank adapters/portable batteries/car chargers.
AmazonBasics Type-C to Type-A Adapter: There are a ton of these adapters that all assignment the same, but I bought a scattering of these a year ago and I haven’t had any problems.
Anker Multi-Card Adapter: This is a USB 3.0 adapter for SD and microSD cards. It’s bargain and works.
ION Bluetooth Cassette Adapter: Until I bought my Leaf beforehand this year, I acclimated this adapter to comedy music while active (and to auto-launch Android Auto aback my car started). The alone bolt is that you accept to booty it out and allegation it afterwards about 4-5 hours of use, and it can’t allegation while central the band deck.
MPOW Bluetooth Receiver: My new Leaf has congenital Bluetooth… but alone for calls. This Bluetooth-to-AUX receiver is the alone one I’ve begin that turns on aback my car starts and shuts off aback my car shuts off.
Firefox: I’ve gone aback and alternating with Firefox over the years, but at this point, it’s aloof as fast as Chrome and has all the extensions I need. Also, I absolutely like Mozilla as a company.
Adobe Creative Cloud: I’m currently subscribed to the Adobe’s Photography Plan, which gets you Photoshop, Lightroom, and 20GB of billow storage. Alike admitting I’m not the better fan of Adobe (where’s my Linux support?), $9.99/month isn’t a bad amount for aggregate you get.
Visual Studio Code: I was a Sublime Text user for years, but now I use Microsoft’s Visual Studio Cipher for all my development work. It’s fast, free, and multi-platform — additional it gets adapted every ages or so.
Visual Studio Code
Handbrake: If you anytime allegation to bound catechumen video to addition book type, or accomplish a media book smaller, Handbrake is appealing great.
YouTube-DL: This command-line affairs can download videos from YouTube, DailyMotion, Twitch, Twitter, and hundreds of added sites. I use it consistently to save Android Police’s Twitch broadcasts as MP3 files.
LibreOffice: I use Google Docs for best of my certificate editing, but on the few occasions I allegation to accessible Microsoft Office files, LibreOffice is fantastic.
VLC Media Player: I’m abiding aloof about anybody account this has acclimated VLC in the past, but it’s fantastic. I install it on all my computers, and every computer I set up for addition else.
Plex Media Server: Google Comedy Music is mostly abandoned, so I use Plex to abundance all my music (plus some rips of my own Blu-ray discs). No added accessory allotment limits.
Windows Mail: There’s still allowance for improvement, but the congenital mail appliance on Windows 10 is appealing appropriate these canicule — alike aback appliance Gmail accounts.
7-Zip: This is addition affairs I install on every computer. It can accessible every aeroembolism book blazon out there.
Firefox: It took a actual continued time, but Firefox for Android is assuredly commensurable to Chrome in agreement of achievement and usability. It can alike accessible Custom Tabs, and best extensions from desktop Firefox are supported.
Google Authenticator: Yes, I’m appliance Google Authenticator instead of Authy. I don’t like autumn two-factor tokens in the cloud.
Sony PlayMemories: This lets me alteration photos from my Sony Alpha camera to my buzz by borer them together.
PlugShare: It’s basically absurd to acquisition electric car charging stations afterwards some affectionate of online map; they’re generally hidden abaft barrio or in parking lots of restaurants and stores. PlugShare lists charging stations from both above networks and EV owners. Seriously, some bodies add their own houses as charging stations and let others bung in if bare — not all heroes abrasion capes.
Pocket Casts: This is the alone acceptable podcast app for Android.
Google Tasks: Google’s own assignment administration app is acutely basic, but it works able-bodied abundant for me.
Tusky: This is one of several third-party audience for Mastodon, a amalgamated open-source addition to Twitter. If you’re on Mastodon (or addition arrangement that interacts with Masto), feel chargeless to chase me!
Feedly: It’s about absurd to accumulate up with account on amusing media, and I abhorrence appliance Google News/Feed, so I started appliance Feedly beforehand this year. I was ahead appliance third-party audience on Android (like gReader and Newsfold), but I switched aback to the official app afterwards the contempo redesign.
Skype Lite: The aboriginal Skype app isn’t as bloaty these days, but it still has a ton of appearance I never use. Skype Lite is noticably faster.
Toolbox for Google Comedy Store: This is an official browser addendum from Android Police. It adds buttons for APKMirror and AP to Comedy Abundance webpages, links to a beta affairs (if one is available), and more. It’s accessible for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. The Firefox adaptation alike works on the Android browser!
Keepa: I cannot accurate how amazing the Keepa browser addendum is — it shows a amount history blueprint beneath every Amazon listing. Part of my assignment involves free if sales are absolutely acceptable or not, and this addendum has adored me endless hours. It’s accessible for all above browsers.
Mini Google Tasks: I like the Google Tasks app, but as we all know, Google is allergic to authoritative desktop applications. I fabricated an addendum that brings Tasks (specifically the old Gmail tasks accoutrement with some added CSS) to your browser. It adds a Tasks aftereffect to Firefox, and on Chrome you can admission it from a button. You can download it for Chrome or Firefox, and the cipher is on GitHub.
Mini Google Tasks on Firefox
Peek: This is addition addendum I made. Aback you hover over a articulation to a file, it shows a examination of the contents. It works with PDFs, Office documents, videos, audio files, Google Docs links, and more. It’s accessible for Chrome and Opera, and the cipher is on GitHub.
Google Chase Fixer: Google Chase doesn’t accommodate the aforementioned chase acquaintance for Firefox on Android as it does for Chrome, alike admitting Firefox is added than able of examination the aforementioned pages. Advice cards, AMP links, and added appearance are absolutely absent. This addendum sends a Chrome user abettor to Google Search, so you get the aforementioned results. It’s accessible for Firefox on Android.
Redirect AMP to HTML: I still accept no abstraction why Google doesn’t automatically alter AMP pages on desktop computers to the accustomed pages, but this fixes that. It’s accessible actuality for Firefox, and actuality is a agnate addendum for Chrome.
That covers aloof about all technology I use on a approved basis. If you accept any questions, I’ll be added than blessed to acknowledgment them in the comments. I’m attractive advanced to how altered my bureaucracy will be abutting year — I accept my eyes on a new monitor, at least.
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