We Want To Know What Lifehacker Readers Use

Last week, we looked at the technology that Lifehacker’s editors and writers use to make the site happen, and that proved to be pretty popular (especially in terms of the Australian staff). One commenter suggested we should run a similar series of posts based on what readers use, which sounded like a fine idea. So we’re now looking for contributions for the new What Readers Use section.

We already cover clever office setups with our Featured Workspace posts and nifty desktop designs with our Featured Desktop series (and we always welcome getting new submissions for those areas). What Readers Use is broader — we want to know what your current selection of machine, accessories, mobile phone and crucial software is, and why you’ve made those choices. The why? question is vital; anyone can make an inventory of what they own, but explaining why it’s proven to be the best choice is useful information for others looking to make similar choices.

To ensure some vestige of structure and stop people writing 10,000-word descriptions, we ask you to cover off the following areas (though you can of course ignore any that don’t apply):

  • The computers you currently use. We don’t need a list of your deceased or in-the-garage machines — just the hardware you actually use regularly.
  • Any essential hardware accessories.
  • Which mobile phone you use and which apps are crucial for getting work done. The numbers suggest lots of you own it, but no, we don’t want to hear about Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja or Xbox Live.
  • The essential software you can’t live without. While we’re big fans of free software here at Lifehacker, it’s always informative to know about stuff that’s so essential it’s worth paying for.
  • Your preferred browser and any vital extensions.

If you’re keen to tell us about your setup and why it makes your life better, email it to us via tips at lifehacker.com.au, along with (preferably) a photo of your equipment and/or a screen grab of your crucial software. The best submissions will feature in future What Readers Use posts. I’m looking forward to reading them!


  • Hi guys,

    The computers you currently use:

    I have an Dell Stuido 15 (end 2010 model) which i sometimes use (usually when i’m at my gf’s house. It is an amazing machine that can run crysis! I got it because it was the best value for money at the time.

    My main PC is one which i built myself, with an i7 920, 12GB DDR3 RAM (kingston), 5x1TB HD, 2x2TB HD, ATI 4850, Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME motherboard and Samsung 22inch monitor.

    I built it because i knew what i wanted and it would be the best price, and i picked those parts because they were the best at the time (still are to a large extent). i have 9TB of storage because i am archiving as many movies / TV shows and Music as i can for my kids, before we get to a stage where we can no longer purchase physcial media.

    Which mobile phone you use:

    I have an HD2 because it is (still) one of the best phones avaliable. When i picked the phone i was under the assumption that it would be upgradable to WP7, but since it is not i have put android 2.3 ontop of it (Nexus S build). Once HTC release a 2.3 phone ill grab the sense and overlay it so i can get the calendar + weather app (which i believe is the best out there).

    I find that syncing my calendar with outlook (using gmail sync) to be essential, as well as news aggregators such as pulse and BigPond News. I also use foursquare, layar, google goggles and other AR programs. I use a app called ‘phoneusage’ to monitor my data usage, which i think is really good.

    Essential software i cant live without:

    Office 2007 – the best productivity suite around, outlook is fantastic in my enterprise enviroment.

    My prefered browser:

    I use 2, Firefox and IE.

    I find IE to be better for my banking (more secure and does not crash), which Firefox is much better at everything else, simply because of the extensions. The only problem with firefox is that it crashes a few times a day, and easily uses 300mb + of RAM!!! (although i usually have 20+ tabs open at any one time).

    The extensions i use all the time are:

    NoScript – essential for anywhere you go on the web:

    Tree Style tab – essential for multi tabbed browsing

    TinyEye reverse image search – a nifty tool for finding where images come from

    Maximum addblock – no adds for me 🙂

    Last pass – best password manager around

    FoxTab – for a fantastic visual experience (best used with larger monitors, or HDTVs

    Download helper – for getting anything that i want (with the exception of 100% flash sites) 🙁

    Adblock plus – helps with blocking adds as well.

    I would also like to say that i use Diigo for maintaining my bookmarks.

    * Lenovo T410 – powerful, reliable, sturdy, scalable
    * Windows 7 – User friendly, powerful and customisable.

    * IOMEGA Select 1TB Ext HDD – small, usb powered and doesn’t have preinstalled software crap like Western Digital.
    * LOGITECH M905 Anywhere Mouse – wireless, sleek, comfortable
    * Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi – fantastic sound, microphone, small package and tangle free

    * iphone – it’s a phone your grandma can use, but it’s great for business, too.
    * Apps – Dropbox, Skype, ReQall, xmarks, VLC, AccuWeather, RunKeeper

    * Outlook 2010 – need to use for work, but by far the best email application on the market.
    * Microsoft Office Communicator – seamless integration with Outlook, MeetingPlace, etc
    * Adobe Acrobat Professional – there’s a reason it costs a bundle!
    * TextPad – dozens of good text editors, but this free one comes with handy extensions
    * Crashplan – effective, unintrusive, great cost.
    * ASAP Utilities – as someone who spends their working week in a spreadsheet, I can’t recommend enough.
    * FastStone Capture – light weight and feature rich screen capture tool.
    * PureText – vital for quick copy/paste formatting
    Everything – fast(est), effective desktop search
    * Firefox – all the usual Add-ons but need to highlight FoxyProxy, Echofon, Greasemonkey, Xmark

  • The computers I currently use:

    My main PC is an old Dell Latitude D620 notebook that I picked up on the cheap. Not flashy by any means, but with 4GB of RAM pumped into it, it handles Win7 relatively easily, and anything I throw at it (which besides a bit of video transcoding isn’t anything too taxing). Main benefit of it is that its completely dockable via its docking station, so I get the benefit of a proper LCD screen, tradional keyboard and mouse all on my desktop.

    Secondary machines also used are a homebuilt (circa 2004 and tweaked since) media-server, which also serves as my torrent box. Still rocking an ald AMD AthlonXP 2600+, running W7 ultimate.

    Also have a recycled HP desk-top PC which is my media-centre, running the latest XBMC as a standalone OS.

    Any essential hardware accessories:

    Only thing which is still an absolute must for me, is my old Logitech MX500 mouse. Long been superceded, but this is incredibly comfy in my hand and ridiculously robust, having never missed a beat.

    Which mobile phone I use and which apps are crucial for getting work done.:

    I recently replaced my long aged Sony-Ericcson dumb-phone with a HTC Legend. It was one of the best budget Android phones on the market (picked it up free on a $26/month contract, unfortunately with Vodafone though), and still holds its own for a phone with just a 600mhz processor. Haven’t really found any apps that are an absolute MUST yet, however I’ve never looked back since rooting and loading Cyanogenmod.

    The essential software you can’t live without:

    RevoUninstaller and CCleaner + WonderShare Time Freeze. I tend to like experimenting with new software a bit. Between Revo and CCleaner, I can remove any bit of software I want gone as if it was never there. For the dud-install-once-and-never-use-again applications, Time Freeze is greate for creating a virtual environment then undoing changes once I’ve decided I’m not so fond of a program after all.

    RDP. Still rocking the standard Windows Remote Desktop Protocol for control of my server (which is only connected to LAN and power). Still yet to find anything better to do the job, which is as easy to use, minimal setup, and completely free.

    Your preferred browser and any vital extensions.

    I finally made the plunge and switched to Chrome 3 months ago. I brought a few extensions and scripts with me from FireFox:
    – AdBlock Plus (for websites that don’t know when enough’s enough)
    – F.B. Purity (cleans up your Facebook feed of all the annoying game posts [Farm-what])
    – LastPass (one password to rule them all)

  • Computers:
    – A Dell i7 on Win7 (Main PC)
    – A MacBook Pro on Snow Leopard.
    Not too much to explain besides the fact that I think I will always have both a PC and a mac for comfort sake, that I can do everything and anything on either system. Where the PC will always be the main PC, and laptop will always be from Apple.

    Mobile and Apps:
    iPhone. Hardware aside, the apps are most important and atm, I still believe the App Store wins over the Android Market.
    Crucial apps are
    – TripView: This is my top 4 (i.e. in my menu bar, don’t know what you call it). Self explanatory, it’s a timetable of trains, buses and ferries in awesome format.
    – iXpenselt: To track my expenses. I paid $5.99AU for this and it’s well worth it. Been using it since Sep 09 and… well it makes me cry from actually knowing what and where my money goes.
    – PingChat!: Use it primarily for group chat. Also the biggest spamming app of all time when all your friends have it.
    – Slide Reader: My Google Reader app – love the layout

    Internet browser/Chrome. Can’t do anything without the Internet. Can do everything with the Internet.

    Browser and exts:
    Chrome. IE sucks and Firefox is slow. Chrome is fast, secure and plain awesome. I like to keep it to a bare minimal so I don’t have many extensions, afraid it will slow things down. But otherwise
    – Adblock
    – Chrome Notepad (synced too, which makes it a great tool)

  • PC: ASUS M4A89GTD-PRO-USB 3 motherboard with AMD Phenom II x6 1090T processor running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit . Very fast, reliable & futureproof.

    Avast! Antivirus + Comodo Firewall & Malwarebytes Anti Malware all free and have proved to be excellent.

    Browser: Firefox with Adblock Plus, Flashblock, Ghostery, Downloadthemall & LastPass are all essential.

    Mobile: iPhone 4 with too many apps to name, I want to jailbreak soon through as I want to be able to do alot of things that are restricted.

  • Computer
    * Custom built
    * E8400
    * 4GB Ram
    * 3 Tera HD

    Laptops (for occassional browsing)
    * Old HP
    * Older Apple

    * Nokia

    * MS Office 2010
    * Adobe Master CS5
    * Canon EOS Utilities

    For Lifehacker
    * Firefox 4.0.10 – Ad block, script block etc
    * IE 9 Beta
    * Google Reader

    For everything else
    * Utorrent
    * JDownloader

  • Main PC Built to order – now on 2 years old running Vista with Duel screens

    Cheapo Compaq Lappy which doubles more as a portable dvd player and wordprocessor

    Hardware: 1 tb portable drive, gaming mouse.

    Iphone 3gs 32g – essential apps – mainly used for gaming, but have found some of the Song Writing/music apps more creative distractions

    Important Software – Audacity, Gimp, Spybot, Kaspersky ( on main pc – think an antivirus is important enough to pay for, but yeah I know the free ones are just as affective ) Word 2007 ( came with pc) I Pay for a gaming tunnel to combat our aussie lag. Mumble/ventrilo/skype depending on who I’m talking to
    Lappy: Openoffice on my Lappy, and AVG – wasn’t paying for more money for more software/antivirus then the pc was worth

    Google RSS Reader

    Browser- Firefox

    1. My Dell Studio 15 laptop, pinkeven, which I agree with wsDK_II is an amazing machine and was great value for money. My only bitch is that it came with Vista which drove me nuts until I (very grudgingly) gave Microsoft more money and installed Windows 7.
    2. My desktop PC, now 5 years old and still going strong, home built, mainly so I could overcome the mystique and understand what was inside the box. The only thing notable about it is an extra fan which is the main reason I think it is still going. Wasn’t economical for the machine, but more than made up for by the learning experience.

    * External hard drive, made by putting the hard drive from my old computer into a caddy, used for back-ups and lives between back-ups at work.
    * Optus wireless dongle, because I live 20 km out of a small town, and thus don’t have access to ADSL broadband, and I can’t stand the lag on satellite. Roll on NBN.

    * Don’t use one. I’d have to use Telstra to get decent coverage in my area, and I can’t bring myself to get involved with Telstra again.

    * Chrome. I agree with Muddy.
    * Lastpass
    * Dropbox for synchronising between computers, and for easy frequent backing up of stuff I’m working on.
    * Remember the Milk for my To-Do list and reminders
    * Skype – I work in a dispersed team – one of us in Bowraville, one in Mudgee, one in Narromine, and me in Kyogle. We work with Skype – mostly text but occasionally group calls – and it’s better than being in the same office.
    * Kompozer with Texter for a newsletter I write every week. I love Texter because the newsletter has to have in-line styling and Texter makes it easy. Notepad++ sometimes too.
    * WordPress for my blog.
    * Picasa for image editing on the fly, and Gimp for more serious editing.
    * Microsoft Security Essentials (guiltily, because I have a lot of loyal feelings for AVG after loving it for so long).

  • Computers:
    1. Late 2009 basic Macbook for general computing/work/study
    2. Old Pentium4, augmented with large HDD for media storage, mythtv backend, personal web server, backups etc running Ubuntu 10.04
    3. Acer Revo nettop for media streaming, running Boxee and Ubuntu 10.04

    – iPhone, ’cause I’ve got that cool yet relaxed Apple kinda vibe….or something.

    Essential software:
    – Boxee: because it just worked with zero configuration. Didn’t have the same luck with Mythtv frontend or XBMC.
    – SABNZBD+ and Sickbeard for content
    – NetUsageItem Firefox extention to track ISP data usage
    – Skype (stick with 2.8) for family and friend communication
    – MetroView for iPhone – a fantastic value GPS

    Beyond that, most things I use are default apps and, increasingly, web-based stuff.

  • The computers you currently use.
    1) Homebuilt Core2Duo 8400 running Win7 in an awesome old SGI Octane case.

    2) Homebuilt Athlon X2 4400+ powered xbmc HTPC in the Lounge

    3) Homebuilt Celeron D box with inbuilt TV tuner in the Laundry running Win7 to serve up media (Pictures, Music, Video) to any device on my network. xbox360 can act as a media extender for the few times I need to watch LiveTV (I don’t own a standalone TV).

    Any essential hardware accessories.
    1)Cat6 throughout the house.

    2)LCD Projector which is my sole video display source in the Lounge.

    3)Network Printer

    Which mobile phone you use and which apps are crucial for getting work done.
    1)Samsung Galaxy S with a ROM Kitchen 2.2.1

    2) Apps – Gmail, Dropbox and xbmc remote (not work related, but pretty cool)

    The essential software you can’t live without.
    1) I’m not a Cyborg… I can survive without software!

    Your preferred browser and any vital extensions.
    1) Firefox
    2) Adblock, Imagezoom, Firefox Sync
    (although it gets slow sometimes especially with loads of tabs, I’ve not seen the stability issues that are talked about here)

  • Perhaps this would work better in a forum type environment? and rather than just having ‘white noise’ the way it currently is (just the comments on a post titled white noise) perhaps gizmodo could install a forums?? i think that would be a great idea and i would regularly take part in the forum.

  • —Early 2009 Macbook Core 2 duo. Old but impossible to kill and so damn reliable. I don’t really use any extra hardware bar my iPhone to act as a track pad.

    —iPhone 3GS 32GB. DropBox, Calvetica, Evernote, Wolfram, Calcbotm Convertbot, Wikipanion, CommBank, PlainText, DragonDiction and HippoRemote. I cannot work without these.

    —Adobe CS3, InDesign, Illustrator. DropBox. Totally gay for Papers,ts amazing for scientific reports. I use iWork for all my writing, spreadsheets and presentations because they make documents look so good. For hard work engineering work I use Matlab 2008 for simulations and statistics.

    — I normally stay in Safari. Its fast, works well, standards compliant and doesn’t send my info to google as I use Bing as default search. I use LastPass and AdBlock. When safari decides it wants to use 500mb of RAM to view facebook and 2 tabs i switch to either chrome of firefox, chromes complete and utter disrespect for the Human Interface Guide leaves it sticking out like dogs balls and firefox has so many damn addons that it lumbers around.

  • PC’s Used at Home:

    * Main PC – Core 2 Duo e6600 (2.4GHZ), 4GB Ram, 2x 1TB HDD 2x 500GB HDD, 512MB X1950 Radeon, 22inch Samsung Monitor, Windows 7 Ultimate.

    * HTPC – ASROCK – ION 330, 2GB Ram, 256GB HDD, XBMC. (Used Everyday for Watching Movies)

    * Laptop – Dell Studio 15 (Not used much due to purchase of IPAD)

    Mobile Phone: iPhone 4G (APPS – Facebook, Books, Angry Birds, Camera, Zombie Smash, Mobile Maps)

    Essential Software:

    I Try to use as much free / open software as I can but some things simply cannot be replaced.

    * uTorrent
    * Virtual Clone Drive
    * FBackup
    * AVG 2011
    * Libre Office – Now with DOCX! Dont need Microsoft Office anymore.
    * 7 ZIP
    * VLC – Still getting used to this as I was a KMPlayer User
    * doPDF – Print to PDF
    * iTunes
    * MediaCompanion – Creates NFO’s for my Movie Collection and Downloads the Covers & Fanart
    * Picasa
    * Photoshop – I do some graphics work for personal and work this is the best
    * Chrome – AdBlock+, Download Helper, DOCs PDF Viewer, Facebook Photo Zoom, FlashBlock, LastPass, Xmarks

    Essential Hardware:

    Sony a55 Camera – Very Fast Photo Capture, Great with the Kids
    iPAD – Reading, Adventure Games & Browsing from the Bed
    Logitech Harmony One – Couldnt Use the AV System without it.

  • For me, an old Dell Vostro 1500 laptop running W7. Both Mrs & I use Mailwasher, yes I paid for it.

    For a file server, print server, webcam server & BitTorrent downloader, sitting on the floor on the kitchen, an old desktop running XP.

    Can’t do without Hamachi & TightVNC.

    Firefox all the way, with too many extensions to list.

  • Computers I currently use – I have two computers I use on a daily basis. When I need a bit of grunt, want to do photo editing, play computer games, do some coding, develop sites and uni assignments I use my desktop windows PC. It has 2 24″ LCD monitors and enough power to run all my resource heavy programs.

    My second computer is a 2006 Macbook 13″. I love it because I revived it from death. It was given to me by a friend who thought it was broken because it wasnt starting. I got it all replaced for free. I use it for everyday web browsing, emailing, small amounts of coding and when I travel. Its the perfect companion on trips.

    Accessories include, multi-card reader for transfers of photos to and from my cameras.
    Logitech MX510 mouse, MS Sidewinder X6 keyboard. multi USB hub.

    Mobile Phone: I use a HTC Desire HD. Its a fantastic phone. It must have the following apps – Evernote, power control, LauncherPro (its much better that HTC Sense), tweetdeck, batterymeter solo, Google Maps, GPS Test, Kayak, ESPN Scorecentre, Soundhound, WifiAnalyzer, uTorrent Remote, JuiceDefender.

    Web browser: I always use Chrome. I used to be a firefox guy, but It was slow and clunky and the chrome experience was a no brainer. Some of the best extensions include: Clip to Evernote (its so easy to get information notes straight from browser to mobile..awesome!), Docs PDF/powerpoint viewer, iReader, mini google maps (awesome at quickly finding locations!!), another maps thing… select to get maps, speeddial, stop autoplay for youtube, turn off the lights.

  • Work computer: quad core mac pro 🙁

    main: trusty 15″ Toshiba satellite C2D Centrino – freebie i acquired from a mate after my desktop decided to stop working, fave apps evernote and dropbox

    portable: Acer Aspire One 10″ netbook, upgraded to 2GB ram and 60GB SSD, perfect for weekends away or day trips, fave apps evernote and dropbox

    Mobile: iPhone 3GS, fave apps evernote and dropbox

    Fave apps… evernote and dropbox 🙂

    Fave hardware: Nook Colour, rooted of course (very fun as a mini tablet, havnt read a book on it yet), Canon 5d, custom haas utility knife and my notebook (paper).

  • * The computers you currently use. We don’t need a list of your deceased or in-the-garage machines — just the hardware you actually use regularly.
    * Any essential hardware accessories.
    * Which mobile phone you use and which apps are crucial for getting work done. The numbers suggest lots of you own it, but no, we don’t want to hear about Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja or Xbox Live.
    * The essential software you can’t live without. While we’re big fans of free software here at Lifehacker, it’s always informative to know about stuff that’s so essential it’s worth paying for.
    * Your preferred browser and any vital extensions.

    Computer: 2010 Mac Mini, 8gb RAM, 2TB external, Windows 7.

    Hardware accessories: Logitech Z-500 speakers, Bamboo tablet.

    Phone: Nexus One w/Cyanogen Mod
    Apps: ADW Launcher, Shazam, Gmail, Music, etc also Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Xbox Live.

    Software: uTorrent, Winamp, VLC, XBMC, MSN, Paint.NET and to a lesser extent, LOIC.

    Browser: Firefox (works great for me, been using Mozilla since 2004)
    Extensions: AdBlock+ (sorry!), FoxClocks, Greasemonkey, DownThemAll, FxIF, FlagFox)

  • i love the people that say the reason they are using a particular product is “because it was/is still the best” with no further explanation.

    top stuff.

    my comment is the best.

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