The Geeky Gear I Use To Run My Online Business

There is one thing that all internet entrepreneurs have in common: we ALL use a computer to do what we do. Not only that, but our computer and the gear that goes along with it ends up being a central part of our lives. Over the years, I've gone through a lot of equipment. There may be people that think I buy things which are too expensive (i.e. buying a Mac when a cheaper Windows machine would do), but the way I look at it is like this...

There is one thing that all internet entrepreneurs have in common: we ALL use a computer to do what we do.

Not only that, but our computer and the gear that goes along with it ends up being a central part of our lives.

Over the years, I’ve gone through a lot of equipment. There may be people that think I buy things which are too expensive (i.e. buying a Mac when a cheaper Windows machine would do), but the way I look at it is like this…

When you make your entire living on a computer, you might as well invest into what you really want and need.

So, anyway, just for shits and giggles, I thought I’d give a quick tour of the gear I use to run my business. I’ll concentrate here mainly on the electronics.

Apple 27″ iMac

This is a recent purchase and is now my main machine in my office. The 27″ screen is gorgeous. Under the hood, I have 12GB of RAM, the i7 3.4 GHz processor, a 1TB hard drive along with a 256GB SSD drive. This thing is a screamer.

I picked up this machine as an upgrade to my first generation Mac Pro. Primary reason = VIDEO. While my Mac Pro is an awesome machine, the fact remains that it is about 5 years old and isn’t the speed demon it once seemed. So, being that I tend to do a fair amount of video, I wanted to be able to speed up the process. And the iMac does that in spades.

I still use the Mac Pro for some things. It is still a real workhorse, and solid as a brick shithouse. Plus, it is very expandable in ways an iMac isn’t.

Learn More About the 27″ iMac

Apple 15″ Macbook Pro

Obviously, this is my laptop. I use this when I want to head out to a coffee shop or somewhere else outside the house, yet need to get real work done which an iPad isn’t suitable for.

I know some people use Macbook Pro’s as their primary computer. They simply attach a monitor to it. I had that option (obviously), but an iMac is faster by quite a bit. Not only that, but I didn’t want my primary computer also being the one that I stuff in laptop bags, run through airport security, and bump around. I’m a believer in redundancy…. if one computer breaks, I’ve got another which is fully ready to take up the slack.

Learn More About the 15″ Macbook Pro

Sennheiser PC-166 USB Headset Mic

These things rock. See, I do a lot of screencasting videos… and one thing that is SUPER important about any video you produce is audio quality. I started out with a cheap headset mic from Logitech, but it picked up a lot more environmental noise as well as gave me “hot” audio if I ever spoke too loud for it. It is a case of “you get what you pay for”.

Sennheiser makes awesome equipment. This headset mic produces professional audio quality and it works over USB. So, whenever I do screencast videos, Skype calls or webinars, I’m wearing the Sennheiser.

Unfortunately, this exact model has been discontinued. The PC 161 looks like it might be their closest active model.

Blue SnowballBlue Snowball

The Blue Snowball is a truly funky looking microphone, but a good one. I don’t use this microphone as much as I do the Sennheiser, however it is useful when I want to record a video directly into the iMac’s webcam, but not be seen wearing the headset. This mic can sit right next to the computer and pick up everything with great quality.

Western Digital External Hard Drives

I’m a big believer in redundancy when it comes to storing my files. Whether it be raw video footage, Screenflow files, information products – pretty much anything big – I like to keep it backed up outside of my main computer. All my smaller working files are backed up automatically in Dropbox, but I don’t put the big files (like videos) up there because it’ll eat up my account too fast.

I use a Western Digital Elements 2TB as a redundancy drive and a Western Digital 1TB My Book as my Time Machine backup drive.

Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet

A lot of people use tablets mainly for drawing things in Photoshop. As a blogger, I only use the Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet for that purpose a little bit. Mainly, I picked this up so that I could draw on my screen or do digital whiteboard videos. I can actually draw on screen and record it, kind of like I did in this video.

I do this using a cheap program called Flysketch (Mac only). This is a great program that makes it easy to draw on a plain-white background, or even make it transparent so I can draw over anything else on screen. This is great for blog evaluations where I can literally draw on the person’s blog to show them what I’m talking about. I’m not aware of a Windows equivalent for what Flysketch does, however I also know a lot of people use Photoshop to do whiteboard-style videos.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300

This small little scanner is able to scan things directly to searchable PDF. I use it specifically to scan things directly into Evernote. I have gone almost exclusively paperless with my filing system. Bills, contracts, bank statements… it all goes into Evernote. And, when I get it in the mail, I use this scanner to put it into Evernote.

If you want to go paperless and make your entire filing cabinet truly searchable, this scanner is a great way to go (in conjunction with Evernote).

Learn More About the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300

Video Cameras

I use several different video cameras off and on. Obviously, the most convenient one is the one built into the iMac. But, in addition to this, I also use:

  • Kodak zi8 – A great little portable camera with an external mic input. Yay.
  • Panasonic PV–GS80. This is an older camcorder. Not even HD. And it records to MiniDV tapes. Tapes! But, not to worry… I have never ONCE used that functionality. I have this camera for one purpose – webcam. With built-in Firewire, this camera has the ability to stream live over Firewire, turning in into a webcam which has a heck of a lens on it compared to most. 32X zoom, too.
  • Apple iPhone 4S. Yeah, it is a smartphone. But, it happens to have a pretty awesome camera on it. And it is pretty convenient for quick live action videos. And there are accessories available for it which help with things like stabilization and even external microphones.

Bose Companion 3

OK, I can’t end off this article with out this vital piece of equipment for any blogger – kick ass speakers! And I’m using the Bose Companion 3 Series 2.

I consider these things a productivity tool. After all, music is a big part of how I keep my game on while I’m working. They sound absolutely AWESOME. The sub sits under the desk and the satellites are small and take barely any room on the desk.

Whether I’m listening to CDs (which I’ve digitized into iTunes), Pandora or iTunes Radio, these speakers see a lot of action. 🙂

 

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Responses

  1. Hi David! I read before that Steve Jobs hates the Hackintosh. He is just forced to switch from the PPC platform to the X86 because the PC components are really getting fast in the developments of its chips. Today 2012 the Mac appears on both the X86 and the one that powers the ipad. I think Apple is just waiting for the chips that runs the ipad to be really fast and then it will again ditch the x86 platform so that all Hackintosh computers will die..

  2. I think Macs are great, you have all the power Unix at your fingertips, but only when you want it, it’s never necessary.I like your blog..!!

  3. I love the Mac OSX Lion so I bought it online.I installed it on my cheap Dell Inspiron and now I have a fully functioning Hackintosh. I also read that Hollywood studios that needs the fastest Intel processors and video cards are buiding Hackintosh machines, the reason behind this is the latest  parts are only available for PC in its 1st months and those parts are not present in Mac Workstations at that time.After 6 months they will buy the real Mac Machines that carries the specs.  

  4. I love the Mac OSX Lion so I bought it online.I installed it on my cheap Dell Inspiron and now I have a fully functioning Hackintosh. I also read that Hollywood studios that needs the fastest Intel processors and video cards are buiding Hackintosh machines, the reason behind this is the latest  parts are only available for PC in its 1st months and those parts are not present in Mac Workstations at that time.After 6 months they will buy the real Mac Machines that carries the specs.  

  5. What a wonderful article? You have described very well. It should be clear that there are aspects of this device which we love, and others which we clearly do not. Thank you for the information you provide.

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