What We Use: Alex Kidman’s Favourite Gear

What We Use: Alex Kidman’s Favourite Gear

Yes, Alex is the editor of Gizmodo — but he pops up around here a lot, so we figured it was only fair to let me join in our What We Use series. Especially because he can’t decide between iPhone and Android.


Editing Gizmodo’s a busy job that doesn’t often keep me at my desk for long; as such my main working machine is a 2011 Core i5 Macbook Air, because it’s eminently portable while still having enough grunt to manage more complex video and image editing tasks. I didn’t go anywhere near the Air line until Apple bothered to put Sandy Bridge processors within, as they were underpowered, and I’m very glad I waited.

Keeping things within an Apple ecosystem, my home office has a Core i7 iMac, while the desk at work also has an older inherited Macbook Pro, useful for those times when files come in on CD — which is slightly more often than you’d think, and a lot more often than I’d like!


Microsoft Natural Keyboard. This one’s the secret to my (desk-based) success, and it’s a tribute to how heavily I’ve used it that most of the key prints have worn clear off. When you type thousands of words per week it can quickly get uncomfortable, and once you get over the learning curve of the natural layout, it’s immensely more comfortable. Sadly, the Natural lines appear to be getting harder and harder to find in stores or online; I must replace my current model soon, because I’m worried that Microsoft might stop making them.

Phones, Tablets And Other Mobile Devices

I test and review a lot of phones, so this is a complex answer; it’s often “the phone I’m testing right now”. That having been said, I’m currently flip-flopping between my Samsung Galaxy S II and an iPhone 4S; both have strong points and I’m not entirely decided which handset I’ll carry on with fulltime into the rest of the year. There is no easy way to decide.

On the tablet front, it depends what I’m doing; I’ve got ready access to a Motorola Xoom and Blackberry Playbook, but tend to use the iPad simply because the tablet app market on iOS is so far ahead of its competitors for both creative and fun purposes.

PADACS Ultracharge: My ability to drain battery power from my gadgets is second to none, and the solution is one of the ugliest bits of technology I own: the huge brick-like PADACS Ultracharge. The thing is, it works and can charge multiple gadgets at once.

Livescribe Pulse: This one’s a little more niche; outside of journalists and students the need for an audio recording pen that matches up to pen strokes is perhaps limited, but the number of interviews I’ve held with just this pen to hand is countless, and the speaker pickup is superb. I should probably update to the Echo, though; the Pulse suffers from being so terribly round that it often rolls away from me.



Google Chrome: My browsing history can best be summed up as “whatever wasn’t Internet Explorer”, although that’s mostly a quirk of history rather than a position statement. I started out on Mosaic, made the natural jump to Navigator from there, and stuck with Navigator for a good long time into Firefox until Chrome came out. Nothing’s tempted me away from Chrome as yet; Firefox seems to eat my memory and Safari’s too plain for my tastes.

Desktop Apps

Dropbox: Everything I write goes into Dropbox. I have dabbled with using Evernote for the same kind of thing, but Dropbox allows me to use my own apps, and I can keep a word count running, something Evernote still lacks.

Bean: Writing for the Web is a task that needs fast and light rather than feature-heavy, and as such Bean suits my needs nicely; it’s lightweight and can save into Word docs for those rare times I need to send a document to somebody.

Pixelmator: Photoshop’s the industry standard, and for good reason; it’s very powerful. Power needs power, however, and for simple image tasks the cheaper and lighter Pixelmator does everything I need it to do.

Mobile Apps

Google Reader: A decent part of the Gizmodo job involves keeping up with what’s happening in the wider world of technology, and Google Reader still remains my go-to app across multiple devices for managing my RSS feeds.

TuneIn Radio: I work best when I’m in my own writing zone, and that means minimising distractions. TuneIn is great for this, as I can keep a rotating mix of radio stations (depending on my mood and needs) pumping tunes into my ears while I tap away.

Writings: When I do need to tap out a piece and I don’t have the Air to hand, Writings for iPad is indispensable; again it fits my needs as a lightweight but very solid writing client.


  • That’s really interesting that you use Beans for Writing.
    I ws wondering if you were using a dedicated offline solution to manage your posts on Gizmodo/Lifehacker, or do you use Beans to work on your posts and paste them into your Website Article Editor?
    Otherwise, you are the closest to my configuration so far and often (it not all the time) find your articles interesting.

  • I love the Livescribe products. Such a great niche idea. They can be a little expensive but the ability to jump to any point in a three hour long meeting is a very big bonus. My only gripe with them is they tend to be a little on the bulky side and my handwriting tends to suffer a little.

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