creative tools: hardware

February 2, 2009 | 2 Comments

In the early days of this site, I ran a small series of posts called Workflow Tools. Over a year has passed, and enough has changed that an updated series is in order. I’ll begin with hardware again, but the software post will be spread over two different posts related to software usage.

If I were to allow you to rummage through my backpack or pockets (not likely unless you are my wife!), here’s what you might find on any given day:

Apple MacBook Pro: I have the revision that was introduced last spring…the last upgrade prior to the new design. The new ones are appealing, but I’m content with this one, especially after an upgrade to 4gb last fall. The smaller form factor of the 13″ MacBook was nice, but the 15″ screen is useful, especially when doing design work. Besides, if you want small, there is always the…

MSI Wind Netbook: Oh my, I love this little bugger. I picked one up used and it has replaced our beloved 12″ PowerBook (aka the poor man’s macbook air). It serves as a play computer for the kids, but I also have a user account on it for meetings, travel, or when I want to lighten my load. And I’m finding plenty of excuses to lighten my load. (Rumor has it that you can install OS X on these, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.)

iPhone: A year ago, I was still prone to giggle everytime I “slid to unlock”. But, the addition of the app store and MobileMe sync make my iPhone of a year ago feel like that calculator watch I had as a kid. (I mean, the calculator watch that my friend had…)

Amazon Kindle: It looks like Kindle 2.0 is going to be introduced next week. Yet, for all those who have held out because of complaints about the Kindle, I’ve had a year of happy usage. The number of available books has doubled in the last year, and I’ve found it to be the best way to read old public domain texts.

Wireless Mighty Mouse: I’m always glad when I remember to toss this in my bag, and the slider on the bottom to turn it off saves the battery when it’s in my backpack.

Moleskine: Sometimes the laptop or iphone is too cumbersome or distracting to quickly capture raw ideas or sketch out a concept. I have Moleskines in several shapes and sizes, but I carry a little cahier journal in my back pocket everyday. It’s not the best choice if you like to keep your journals long term, but you can’t beat the form factor.

Pens: I always have two pens in my pocket. (I can rarely walk past the pen aisle at the office supply store…it’s troubling.) One is a black ink pen (current choice is the Pilot VBall Grip). The other is a colored gel pen for underlining while I read — in paper books…not the Kindle. (Not so picky here…I’m merciless about tossing these if they don’t work, and I haven’t found any that seem to be consistently good. I’ve probably been most content with the packs I’ve found at the $1 Spot at Target.)

What hardware do you use daily? Post a comment below, or post an image on your blog and share a link.

  • John,

    Nice picture of your gear. I usually have my iPhone, MacBook Air, and a pocket moleskine (used exclusively for capture) on my travels. Following Macworld, I’ve added a Livescribe pen and Livescribe moleskine which I find excellent for meetings and organizing thoughts.

    David Sparkss last blog post..OmniFocus Reviewed

  • Leandro McGuire

    After using a PowerBook G4, small great machine and an iPhone…I went back to the 10 year old Palm handheld.

    ALL of my GTD-ing occurs in that wonderful little PDA. Simple, straight forward, focused on my agenda’s and tasks, no frills. Keeps me focus and has been TREMENDOUS for me in terms of getting things done on a daily basis.

    A Moleskine is a trendy thing, status and supposed-hip object. You can get a similar booklet for a fraction of the cost – the Piccadilly notebooks which are just as good and so affordable that I dont care about ripping pages out of it…to get something down or done, or getting it damaged.

    The less gadgetry and obsessiveness over very involving computer tools like laptops and “poor-mans” “hipster pda” nonsense, the more you will get things done.

    And as a former PowerBook 12 user, its not a POOR mans MacBook Air, its a smart uncaring-of-what-society thinks-man’s computer. But on the other hand, I cannot spend time twiddling with apps, menu’s to GET THINGS DONE.