Techy

Some Tools and Services I Use

I’ve read a couple of posts by people recommending tools, services or setups they use to manage data/security, so thought a post about how I do it might come in useful for someone. Hopefully it will give you some ideas to consider, and maybe you’ll have some for me.

Files

We have a 100GB Dropbox account to manage all work related files, all of which are shared with all my employees (including accounts, invoices etc). It’s got a 25GB free layer on top, and it’s about 39% full.

I then use Google Drive for all my personal files, and select work files like employee records etc which I don’t want to share with employees for confidentiality reasons etc. I don’t keep any media here, other than photo backups from my phone which sync automatically via FolderSync.

Lastly, I use SkyDrive to backup/sync all my music and photos. I chose SkyDrive because it’s the cheapest to backup 100GB. I don’t sync any of these files on my laptop, but the SkyDrive website is quite good for viewing my photos etc. The Android app is OK, but is very slow to load and doesn’t seem to cache anything.

Dropbox is definitely the most reliable, and would be my number 1 choice for everything, save for the fact that you can’t run more than 1 account on a machine. I could go the sharing option, and have a personal and a work account, where my entire work folder is shared with a second Dropbox account – in fact, that’s something I should really consider! I think when I set up SkyDrive, Dropbox only had 50GB/100GB plans so it wouldn’t have fitted in a single account. I might consider that when my renewal date comes round for SkyDrive.

UPDATE: I’ve now done that.

Backup

I always store all my files inside one of the above directories. I occasionally use my Desktop for temporary files, and don’t bother to save/store any media that I download to watch.

Therefore, my almost entirely independent from hardware. I could sit down at any computer and have full access to all my files. My own hardware gives me pre-installed programs like MS Office and easier access to things like Firefox bookmarks and application settings. If any or all of my computers were stolen/wiped/destroyed now, I would lose nothing other than any unsaved changes and settings.

Music

For music, I know exclusively use Google Play Music and love it. All my songs are available anywhere – web browser, phone, tablet. Works very well, allows you to have a single place to store playlists etc. I still keep local copies of all my music in SkyDrive, but may well ditch that at some point.

Email/Calendar/Contacts

I use Google Apps for personal and work email and associated tools. Both accounts use 2 factor authentication via the Authenticator app. I was worried 2 factor auth would be a pain to use, but it’s really not. The extra security is definitely worth the minor inconvenience of entering a code every week or two.

The only downside I experienced is that you need to use special throw-away passwords for things like Chrome sync, and I had issues getting it to work reliably. I know use Firefox as my main browser, so it’s not an issue.

Passwords

All my 700 or so passwords are in Passpack. Fantastic password tool – I’m yet to see/use something better. 1 click login works well on most sites which makes logging into things easy.

Productivity/Work

Trello is my project and task manager. We use it to manage what we’re working on and what needs done. It fits very well with the Getting Things Done model and is a hugely important part of my work toolset. I use the web interface and an Android app.

I’ve increasingly started using Evernote more and like it a lot. We have a work account where we automatically input all invoices, so use it as a searching/indexing tool. On my personal account I use it to keep track of books I want to read, films i want to see, notes from meetings, a reference archive of useful tools/apps and more. I use the Windows application and the Android app.

We use Yammer for internal company communication. We don’t email each other very often, unless we’re saying something to only 1 person and it’s entirely irrelevant to everyone else.

We use Codebase/Deploy for managing our repository and deployments.

I use MS Office – mainly Excel and Word quite a lot for work.

Hardware

I currently have a 13″ Samsung Series 9, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and custom spec Chillblast Whisper 2 desktop with 1 x Dell U2713HM and 2 x Dell SP2309W screens. For productivity, pixels are everything. Every time I think about getting more pixels I wonder if I really need them. Every time I get more, I can’t imagine going back.

I’d like to add a mechanical keyboard as my current Logitech Wave is not quite as smooth as it used to be and I miss quite a lot of key presses when typing. I’m thinking about a Filco Ninja Majestouch-2 Tactile keyboard.

Conclusion

Hopefully this will be useful to give you some ideas on tools. Would love to hear how you work and what tools/services you use.

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