What We Use: Adam Dachis’ Favourite Gear And Productivity Tips

What We Use: Adam Dachis’ Favourite Gear And Productivity Tips

All this week, Lifehacker’s editors will be sharing the hardware, software, and tips and tricks they use to do their jobs here. I’m bringing you way too computers, frustration-saving tips and some cool audio/video gear.


Desktops & Laptops

We’re not going to get into the ridiculous number of computers I have collected and instead take a look at the four I actively use every day. Yes, it’s kind of weird and seems excessive but it works very well for me. Rather than address each computer individually, I’ve broken this up into the three workspaces.

Couch Command Central


The Media Workstation

The Windows Testing Booth

installed XBMC on my second generation Apple TVXBMC nettop


Grid-Itmy favourite organisation tool500GB portable hard driveflash drivesZoom H1 portable recorderIncase Campus Backpack

Phones, Tablets, and Other Mobile Devices

wishing it was an Android 3.0 tabletthis headset

Media Equipment

you’ve seenCanon 5D MK IISony a NEX-5Zoom H4N


Dropbox organisation systemthese iconssimple wallpaper


Here are the apps I use every day on my Mac:

  • Dropbox, obviously
  • Transmit (although CyberDuck is an excellent free alternative)
  • Twitter (the official Mac client)
  • Apple Mail (yes, I still use a desktop mail client, leave me alone)
  • Adium, also known as the best damn chat client on Mac OS X.
  • Google Chrome, my main browser (more on this later)
  • Notational Velocity, a wonderfully simple notes app that syncs with Simplenote
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5, which still can’t be replaced by alternatives for a lot of what I do (though I can’t argue that PIxelmator isn’t a great alternative for most stuff)
  • TextExpander, though I’ll dump it the moment I find another text expansion application that doesn’t suffer from its numerous issues with replacing the clipboard
  • NetNewsWire for RSS feeds, though I’m hoping to replace it with Reeder once it’s working properly
  • VLC, since it never fails to play any video file
  • Textmate, for when I need to write code (which I don’t use every day but it’s worth mentioning anyhow)
  • ScreenSharingMenulet, for easy screen sharing from the menubar
  • Teleport, for controlling other computes with my laptop


While I’m not a heavy Windows user, there are a few apps I really like:

  • Skype, which I hate on the Mac but somehow love on Windows
  • ClipCube, for an endless clipboard history
  • Sublime Text, which is basically the best Textmate alternative for Windows
  • Digsby is my favourite Windows chat client, aside from all of those annoying ads you have to go through during installation
  • RealVNC, for, uh, VNC
  • ClipUpload for quick, easy uploading

Web Apps and Browser Add-ons

Chrome is my browser. I started off as a Safari user because it was fast and I liked the interface. Firefox appealed to me because of its extensibility, but it was always so slow so I never used it. Then Chrome came along and turned out to be the best of both worlds so there was really no decision to be made. I switched pretty much as soon as Chrome was officially released for the Mac. I keep Safari and Firefox around for testing and screencasting purposes, but I really never use them for real work. So here are my Chrome add-ons (many of which have Firefox equivalents):

  • Amazon Wishlist, because it takes up less space as an icon than a bookmarklet in my bookmarks bar
  • Dropbox, because I love Dropbox and not because I actually use this extension
  • Bit.ly URL Shortener, because it’s faster than going to bit.ly
  • LastPass, because you have no idea what you’re missing/insane if you’re not using it
  • TabCloud, because I’m a tab glutton
  • Create Link, for all its time saving benefits when creating links
  • Google Voice which I shouldn’t need to explain
  • SabConnect++, because…well, you’re all going to yell at me if I explain this one

Mobile Apps

I have a lot of these and use very few of them. Here’s the short list:

  • Instagram
  • The built-in Clock app, which I still say is the best app on the iPhone
  • Captio, because it makes it much easier to email screenshots to myself for app reviews
  • Simplenote, because it’s the best notes app for iOS and it’s free
  • Wunderlist for to-dos
  • Dropbox, for those times when I don’t get around to syncing something I want on my phone
  • TV Forecast, which reminds me what to download
  • myNZB, which facilitates downloading (of what, we may never know!)
  • Air Video, because Apple video format support sucks
  • Amazon, because I buy most of my stuff from Amazon
  • DSLR Remote, because it’s perhaps the most amazing iOS app ever made (when it works)
  • Weet, for the rare occasion when I check Twitter from my phone


Ditch the Granny Knot to Tie Your Shoes More Efficiently

Of all the tips on Lifehacker, the one I use all the time is the one that taught me how to tie my shoes properly. I’ve used this tip as an example when pitching ideas for various things and I love annoying people by telling them they don’t know how to tie their shoes correctly. It really does work much better than any other shoe-tying method I’ve used in the past.[imgclear]

How to Build a Car Mount for Your mobile phone from Office Supplies

When this was posted on Monday, Adam Pash instituted a slave labour workshop in which I was the sole employee and the sole product was DIY car mounts as described in this post. I’ve been using mine for the past few days now and it works great!

Remove Stubborn Batteries and Other Cool Magnet Tricks

I have some pretty stubborn devices that do not want to let go of their used up batteries. Now I always keep a spare magnet available on the refrigerator to help me out when that happens. Big, big help.

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