Stuff I Use

Based on Paul Thurrott’s “What I Use” page at his SuperSite for Windows, I decided to create something a little different, but more or less, fundamentally the same. I won’t be as intricate as he is, however (i.e. I won’t include my coffee maker, chair, desk and workout machine I use). I originally wrote this as a blog post a little earlier this year, but decided to make it as a static page that I update as I feel necessary.

I use a lot of technology on a day-to-day basis, which includes school, work, play and this blog. Here’s a list of several pieces of technology that I use on a recurring basis from the type of computer I use to the type of Twitter application I have. You can check it out below, and also follow along what I use via Wakoopa.

Primary Machines – UPDATED

Dell XPS 400

A late 2005 model, my Dell XPS 400 includes an Intel Pentium D Processor @ 2.80GHz, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, nVidia Graphics Card, and a few other bells and whistles that I’ve added throughout the years. It’s an older machine, but it gets the job done.

HP Pavillion 2945SE – UPDATED

I recently picked up an HP Pavillion fro my day-to-day laptop needs. It came with 4GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, dedicated nVidia graphics, and an AMD processor. It does well for most of my VM and development needs, which is what I really needed. This is my main mobile machine.

Secondary Machines
Dell Dimension 8200

This old beast is used primarily to do tedious tasks that I don’t want done on my other two computers, such as disassembling code, performing network routine tasks, etc. It houses a Pentium 4 Processor @ 2.4GHz, 512MB of RAM, and two 80GB hard drives. It does what it needs to and I couldn’t ask for more.

Lenovo ThinkPad T61

An early 2008 model, my ThinkPad T61 is my primary mobile workhorse. It comes with me almost wherever I go and as such, it’s been put through quite a bit of abuse, but still looks and works as if it was brand new. It houses an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 Processor @ 2.10GHz, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, and integrated Intel Graphics Chipset.

Software – UPDATED

Operating System – UPDATED

I currently maintain Windows 7 with SP1 on my two primary machines. I also, from time to time, test the latest Ubuntu version and have Windows XP and Vista running in a virtual machine on both laptop and desktop. I use VMWare Player for most of my OS virtualization needs and Windows XP Mode for those other rarer occassions.

Productivity Software

I use Microsoft Office 2010 quite a bit and more specifically, Word and OneNote for a lot of my projects. I’ve started using Microsoft Visio 2010 for coding projects, but find that it works better if I just have an idea in my head versus trying to lay it all out (instead of how it’s supposed to be done).

I also use and recommend the free online version of Microsoft Office, dubbed Office Web Apps. I don’t use it primarily, instead from time to time as I need to access or edit Office documents on the fly. I also use SkyDrive to host my Office documents that I need to sync or have access to anywhere.


I use Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (via my MSDNAA account) for most of my personal coding projects. I usually code in Visual C#, Basic, or C++ (though C++ is fairly rare these days). However, for school, I use Eclipse to write the required Java programs for school projects. I’m a big fan of both Visual Studio and Eclipse and would highly recommend both. I also use HexRay’s IDA Pro (free version) for my disassembling needs.


I use a slew of multimedia programs and web clients, so I’ll probably miss a couple in this category. I use Zune for all of my music needs and have a Zune Pass which allows for unlimited music downloads. I use Windows Media Player 12 for videos. I also have a Netflix subscription which allows access to a host of movies and TV shows that I watch on a somewhat regular basis. For other TV shows that can’t be found on Netflix, I use and recommend the free TV service, Hulu (no, I don’t have the $9.99 Hulu Plus account and don’t have enough information about it to make a firm recommendation).

Internet and E-mail – UPDATED!

For general Internet purposes I use Internet Explorer 9. I also use InDev version of Google Chrome (link is for normal version of Chrome). I use Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari in a virtualized environment for the time being.

For online syncing purposes I primarily use Windows Live Mesh 2011 (formerly, Windows Live Sync) which is free. This allows me to synchronize freely to all of my PCs and 5GB worth of storage on SkyDrive.

I use Twitter to keep up with fellow Microsoft enthusiasts and bloggers; however, I try to keep away from the online service and instead use a variety of Twitter clients. I haven’t found one that I’ve been able to completely enjoy; although, it seems like TweetDeck and MetroTwit are the top two contenders.

I now have a Facebook and am currently looking at some alternatives to the actual web interface. I’m currently liking Windows Live Messenger as a somewhat decent alternative and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be taking a look at using TweetDeck as well for these purposes. I’m also using Outlook Social Connector, an add-on for Outlook that acts more as a reader of social updates than an updater or writer. I’ll write a bit more about this in a future article.

I use Microsoft Outlook almost exclusively for all of my e-mail interactions. I’ve tried to use the online version of Windows Live Hotmail service, but keep coming back to Outlook. However, I’ve been very pleased with the new Hotmail. I’m not a big fan of Gmail for several reasons, but I do have to use Gmail for my school e-mail account. I have considered forwarding this mail to a separate Live account, as I cannot stand the Gmail service. It is slow, bothersome, and just plain annoying. (Of course, I’ll probably get a lot of whiplash for that statement, keep in mind, these are my opinions).

That’s all folks…

Sort of. I’ve missed a lot here and will continue to update this section as I see fit. Check back from time to time to see if anything has changed!

I’m currently working on a major overhaul of my software and computers, which will probably lead to an almost entirely virtualized environment. Look for more information on this in an upcoming post, and an entire section in Stuff I Use dedicated towards virtualization.

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