Amy’s Mobile Makeup – How She Does it

Makeup PaletteAs someone who has been in the IT community for 15+ years, I get asked ALL the time the following questions:

  • What notebook/netbook/PC should I buy?
  • I need a new phone, what should I go for?
  • What kind of equipment do you use?
  • Hey, what is that you are holding?  Can I try it?
  • I have problem X, what <insert hardware/software> should I use?

So, in response to all of these questions and more, here is a quick tour behind Amy’s mobile makeup—

For cellphones:

Right now, my latest cell phone is a Blackberry Curve 8900, complements of T-Mobile.  I have been with T-Mobile since they were Voicestream and they still have the best customer service in town.  As for Blackberries?  I have been using one since they first came out and were email only.  I think I had the 850 model.  Why do I stick with them?  Because I need a phone for communication, whether it’s a phone call, email, instant messaging, or the other social media applications.  And, because I have long fingernails, I need something with a physical keyboard.    I have a Nokia 6301 that I use as a backup phone.  I STRONGLY believe in backups, for phones as well as PCs.  Why?  Because what happens when your primary phone’s OS crashes and you still need a cell phone.  If you need a phone for strong communication needs, get a Blackberry from whatever carrier you are with.  If you want one that is more “playful”, go for the iPhone.

For notebooks:

I have been through enough Windows based notebooks to last me for the rest of my life.  I use one at work all the time.  At home, I want something easy to use.  People are always saying to me, “You must have a lab at home and do all those ‘geeky’ things?”  Answer: not really.  I am like most people in that when I get home, I really don’t want to use a computer unless I have to, and even then it’s to check email or go online.  So, last year I got myself a 13″ Macbook from the Apple outlet.  I love it.  Its easy to use, has all the programs I use on a daily basis, and powers on in 45 seconds or so.  What more could I ask for?  It does have one “geeky” bit though.  I use VMWare Fusion to do virtual machines.  I have a Windows 7, Windows XP, and Fedora Core 11 image that I use for testing and training.  I wholeheartedly recommend a Mac to anyone and everyone.  But, if the cost is a bit much, try an HP.  I have had HP laptops on and off for the last 5 years that they are really reliable.  I had one last 6 years before I needed to start replacing parts.

For netbooks:

I just got myself an Eee PC 900A.  I augmented the RAM to bring it up to 1.5GB and am considering a hard drive upgrade.  It was running Xandros Linux, but I didn’t like it much.  So, I upgraded it to the Easy Peasy Ubuntu Linux, made specifically to run on Eee PCs.  It works for me.  I love this little netbook.  It fits in my totebag.  It has Wi-fi.  It’s great for using the web.   Would I recommend one of these for just anyone?  No.  It’s more of a “geek’s” netbook.  For everyone else, I would get the Acer Aspire One netbook.  Several people I know have one and they love it.  It runs Windows without any problems and it’s great for using MS Office and the Internet.

For tools to make life easier:

I am a Google person.  What does that mean?  It means I tend to use almost all of Google’s services to run my life.  In no particular order:

  • Gmail- Great email program.
  • Google Gears- I have this on my Macbook so I can store my Gmail offline on my hard drive and back it up
  • Google Docs- great to use in a pinch when I can’t use MS Office
  • Google Reader- I love to read RSS feeds and it’s just easy here.  It’s now more fun since they added the new icons.
  • Google Wave- I am still learning this one, but it’s an interesting way to collaborate with my fellow authors and editors.
  • Google Open DNS- I gave this information to my web hosters to make hosting my web sites easier.
  • Google Dictionary- Just because I have a degree in English does not mean I can spell sometimes.
  • Google Checkout- Just as handy to use as PayPal for online transactions.
  • Google News- I read this as my news site of the day when I want to know what is going on in the real world.
  • Google Groups- I use this to talk to some of my writing cohorts.
  • Google Blogger- Yes, I still have a blog somewhere.
  • Google Voice- I am still working on getting this working.

Other non Google tools:

  • Chrome: It’s a clean browser without slowing down my machines.  The version for Mac isn’t out yet but I am waiting.  I use it at work and on my Windows images.
  • Pidgin: This is my all in one instant messaging client for AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and GTalk.  It’s free and just works.
  • LogMeIn:  I use this to help my family with computer issues.  It allows me to remotely access their machines over the Internet and fix things.  I also use it to connect to machines for work related incidents.

Staying Mobile:

How to I manage to stay mobile when I use all of this?  Consolidation and really using all the functionality of the tools.  Most of what I used is web based, so as long as I have an Internet connected device I am good to go.  I always have my Blackberry so I have access to all my communications.  It’s also great to use as a cell modem when needed.  I also have my netbook in my totebag.  So, as long as I have Wi-Fi access, I can do my work.  If I don’t have that, I have a 1st generation iPod Touch.  You would be surprised on how much you can get done with this little device.

What is next for this mobile diva?  I really want is the Verizon MiFi, then I can have my Internet connection wherever I go.

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