2011: My Personal Tech Tools

After churning out a rather epic series of year-end blog posts over on Hack Education, I'm fairly burnt out on 2011 retrospectives. But it's the last week of the year, and as such I've been spending the time accomplishing various tasks long outstanding on my To Do list. And like it or not, as a tech writer, that does mean a good deal of cataloging what I wrote and where I went and what I spent and how I managed to pull it all off.

This post simply chronicles what technology I used this year. (I thought I wrote something similar last year, but I can't seem to find the post)

Hardware

Used:
  • iPhone 4
  • MacBook Pro
  • Chromebook (Meh. But I'm keeping it as our emergency-backup computer -- it's perfect for that as we store all our files in the cloud and it'll work for either Kin or I should a problem arise with our Macs)
  • Kindle
Ditched:

Software

My technology toolbox actually changed very little this year. Many of the "hot new apps" just failed to stick. I didn't love Spotify, despite all the hype. I tried both Amazon and Apple's new cloud storage platforms, but I wasn't dazzled by either. (I do still buy my digital content from Amazon and use it on my Apple devices.)

Other than music and e-books, I still rely almost entirely on Google products: Gmail, Google Reader (oh and damn you Google for screwing with one of my most important and loved tools this year), Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Talk, Google Maps, Google Voice,Google Analytics, Google Docs, Google, Chrome. Add to the list this year, Google Plus.

I actually found myself using Evernote a lot more this year in lieu of Google Docs when it came to my writing. That's in no small part because of Evernote's better offline capabilities. With all the flying I did this year, I definitely had a lot of time to sit and work on stories without having Internet access.

I continue to use Pinboard for bookmarking what I find online. (RIP Delicious.) I continue to use Foursquare to bookmark where I travel.

Twitter remains my favorite social/information network -- alongside Google Reader of course, this is where I get my news. I moved away from Tweetdeck this year, as I just couldn't take the Adobe Air app any longer. I use Yorufukurou now (thanks to the recommendation of Tim Carmody). It has a clean look, integrates with Growl. Yay. It is a native app, not a Web app. Boo.

I'm still on a quest for the perfect To Do app. (Note: do not pitch me To Do app stories. See: what I write about nowadays). I started using Things, and I do like it a lot. There's a lot of flexibility with how you set up your projects and tasks. There's an iPhone app and a Mac app. Syncing is sorta stupid between the two. And there's no Web app, alas.

One of my favorite new apps from the year is indeed a Web app: ifttt. If This, Then That. ifttt lets you hook up various Web 2.0 services and automate all sorts of tasks you can send your Tweets to Evernote, for example, or send starred items from your Google Reader to Instapaper. (I wrote about it here.)

Every time I visit Facebook, I often mutter that I need to automate my posts to that site. My usage of Facebook has waxed and waned this year. Well done, Facebook you tricky bastards, for introducing something like Subscriptions for luring me back to the site, if only to post links to my writing.

Far less important to me this year than last: Netflix and Instagram. What I predict will be less important to me in 2012: Skype and Flickr.


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