What’s on my desk

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I don’t ever remember to write reviews of things I buy. When I buy something, I mean to, but it takes so long for me to use it enough to feel like I know enough to write about it. By that time, I’ve forgotten I ever wanted to write a review in the first place. So I’m going to try and just list random things, usually with a theme, and share my current thoughts. Today, I’ll look at the gadgets on my desk related to my computer use.

Laptop: MacBook Pro 13″ (base model, early 2011)
After getting back from South Africa in March, my first stop after getting back to the states was the mall to get this laptop. My old one had died during finals the week before I had left. It turned out it was a hard drive failure. I was able to fix it, but I had been waiting for Sandy Bridge MacBooks for a while.

I bought the base model, it was all I really needed. I upgraded the RAM to 8gb on my own. I need that much to run Windows smoothly in Parallels. I need Windows to run a few things for school, mostly Excel add-ins that I need to grade assignments for the class I TA.

I love the laptop, and I think there was just a spec bump a few weeks ago. If I were recommending, I’d make sure you weigh this against the MacBook Air. I want an Air next, when I don’t need so much RAM (Air tops out at 4gb).

Pros for Air: higher res screen, smaller, lighter, SSD.
Pros for MBP: bigger hard drive options (non-SSD), DVD drive, better battery.

I use my laptop connected to a monitor and other devices when I’m home. I’d really like a dock for it. I had a Henge Dock for my old MacBook but the ports on my new one are different. I decided not to get a new one. I have the idea that I’ll use the laptop as a second screen, it rarely happens, but I still expect that I will. I’d really like a Thunderbolt dock to limit the number of things I have to plug and unplug everyday when I take my laptop with me.

Monitor: Dell P2310H
I bought this a few years ago when I decided to jump to 1080p and it was really cheap. I’m not a huge fan. I considered sending it back because the colors just felt flat. I eventually adjusted. I’ve been thinking about replacing it, but my next move is likely to an iMac. I’d rather mark a few hundred toward that purchase.

Webcam: Logitech C910
Why do I have a webcam when I have a MacBook? On my desk, my laptop is almost always closed, so no webcam. I had been using Skype more and Google+ Hangouts seem cool so I bought this a few months ago. Its best feature is that it works on Macs. The few times I’ve used it, it has been great.

Speakers: Altec Lansing 221
I bought these in 2004. I remember because I was on co-op in Minnesota. They’ve served me well. I’ve seen no reason to upgrade. I do think it’s time that wireless speakers should be common, but I haven’t come across any (not that I’ve looked very hard). Same with replacing my monitor, if I get an iMac next year, the purchase of new speakers now would be a waste.

Mouse: Logitech Performance MX
Finding a mouse is such a pain. I need a certain number of buttons and comfort, it would also be nice if it were Bluetooh. This one covers everything but the Bluetooth, I have a little plug in my USB hub for it. It’s getting a little old so pieces have fallen off and sometimes that leads to glue getting on my fingers. It also doesn’t do a good job alerting me that the battery is dying, and I don’t have an outlet in the right spot to easily charge it while still being able to use it.

I’ve debated the Apple Touchpad, but I’m not sure I’d like that on my desktop setup. I feel like the touchpad works better on a small screen. At this point, Lion supports enough gestures that a touchpad is a viable option.

Keyboard: Apple Keyboard
Having a wireless keyboard isn’t as a big a deal as a mouse. It would be if it were the only device I had to plug in. I have the wired version because the Apple Wireless Keyboard doesn’t have a number pad. That still makes no sense to me. The smaller version looks nice, but isn’t functional for me. I like the looks of the Logitech K750 for Mac. It isn’t Bluetooth, but uses the same Unifying Receiver that my mouse does. I haven’t seen the need to spend $60 to get one just yet.

I’ll try and update this after I make major changes. I’ll try and do more of these for what I have hooked up to my tv, apps on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and if I think of any other random things.

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