It’s time for my annual rundown of personal tech picks! Every year or so, I like to share my current personal preferences when it comes to technology. This all started several years ago after receiving emails from readers asking me what consoles I use when playing retro games. I also get a lot of questions about the various components in my PC build.
In terms of my day-to-day tech, not a lot has changed. I’m still using the same phone as last year and my PC set up is largely unchanged. But, there are few new additions elsewhere. With that being said, let’s dive right into it!
Computer Platform: Windows PC – I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. There’s no denying that I have a certain nostalgia when it comes to Macs and Mac OS. But, despite these fond memories, I cannot deny the versatility of Microsoft Windows. I know that Windows isn’t trendy anymore. But, to borrow a quote from Apple – it just works. And, contrary to what you often hear, it works quite well. Microsoft still makes a number of odd decisions from time to time, but overall, I’m extremely happy with their current offering.
OS: Windows 11 (64 bit Version 22H2) – Windows 11 had a pretty rough start in the court of public opinion. Steep hardware requirements and a redesigned UI made it a hard sell for the majority of consumers. Personally, I upgraded on day one and I never looked back. At the time of this writing, Windows 11 is now in its first major revision and the public is finally starting to come around. All of the promises from the initial Win11 announcement have now come to pass. If you have a capable machine and you were putting off the upgrade – now is the time to jump on board.
Hardware: Since my last post, very little has changed about my rig. I upgraded the PSU after the original bit the dust. That’s really all I’ve changed. However, I do foresee some monitor upgrades in the near future. There’s also a strong possibility that I’ll be upgrading my memory in the next twelve months or so.
CPU: Intel i7 10700k @ 3.6Ghz (5.1 turbo)
Mainboard: ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E
Physical RAM: 16gb – (G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200s)
Graphics: NIVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070 (8GB) (EVGA Geforce RTX 3070 XC3 Ultra)
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus
Storage: Main: 500GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD Secondary: 500GB Samsung EVO 970 SSD, and two Seagate 2TB Hybrids “Firecuda”
Networking: Integrated LAN, Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 6
Media: External DVD RW & USB Memory Card reader
Power: EVGA 850 watt PSU
Monitors: AOS G2460V 24″ (1ms FreeSync Gaming Monitor) & ASUS VG245H 24″ (1ms FreeSync Gaming Monitor)
Mobile: Android- Google Pixel 6 Pro (Android 13) – I’m an Android guy. Well, that’s not really true. I’m a Google guy. I’ve messed around with various Android devices over the years and they never really did it for me. That is, until Google released their own phones. I know that the Pixel 7 is out and I admit, those are some really good phones. But I’m still perfectly happy with my Pixel 6 Pro. My plan is to hold on to this device until the next major release. The refresh that Android 13 brought to the table gave me enough new features to keep me happy.
Tablet: Microsoft Surface – No change here. My personal needs for a tablet are very limited. I mainly only use a tablet for reading comic books and doing some light searching while in the living room. For my limited purposes, the original Windows RT Surface is perfect.
e-Reader: Kindle Paperwhite – No change. The Kindle Paperwhite is an elegant and universal option that serves my needs perfectly. Yes, there are newer Kindle options available. But the Paperwhite remains my go to device.
Virtual Digital Assistant: Google Assistant – I’ve tried nearly every virtual assistant available and I can tell you that Google Assistant is by far my favorite.
Web Browser: Chrome – Still my browser of choice. Edge started off as a strong contender when Windows 11 first rolled out. But Microsoft is being “very Microsoft” when it comes to the handling of Edge. Instead of getting better, Edge is slowly becoming more and more bloated. This is a shame because I was seriously close to switching my daily use over to Chrome at one time.
Search: Google – Google remains my go-to for searches.
Email and Calendar: Google/Gmail – I still use Gmail for my personal email and calendar. It works great and never lets me down. So far, no other free email option give the same experience.
Office Suite: Microsoft Office 365 – Nothing beats it. As far as a desktop application suite, Microsoft office is the best. Office 365 (or as it is now known, Microsoft 365) offers the most up-to-date version of office for a low price.
Cloud Storage: OneDrive and Google Drive – As a Windows and Office user, I’ve found OneDrive to be a very convenient online storage solution. It integrates well into both Windows and Office 365. OneDrive works great with iPhone and other platforms as well. These days, I use OneDrive mainly for PC Backups, and I use Google Drive for photos and general storage. But, both are within arm’s reach at any time.
PC Gaming Services: Steam – No change. For PC games, I’m pretty much a Steam-only guy. I do make a lot of purchases on GOG and I’ve even ventured into the Epic Store from time to time. But nine out of ten purchases are still done on Steam. I do have to admit though, The Epic Store is making some major advances (games now have achievements for example). If this continues, maybe we’ll see a bit of a shift in the future. Who knows!
Music Management: MusicBee – I’m one of those old guys that still has a large digital music library that’s tagged and sorted to my liking. To manage such a huge collection, I need the help of software. MusicBee is my music manager for the desktop. iTunes for Windows STILL just doesn’t cut it. It’s slow and clunky and just not a good experience. (For streaming, I use YouTube Music, Sirius XM and IHeartRadio.)
Wearables: None (Leaning to Pixel Watch) – I’m currently not using a wearable. My FitBit finally bit the dust and I’ve been waiting before purchasing a replacement. I know that I want to get back into the Smartwatch game. But I also still want to maintain the fitness tracking functionality. I’m leaning very heavily to the new Pixel Watch. I plan to make my decision after the first of the year.
Home Gaming Consoles: Currently at our house we own the following: Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PlayStation 3 (slim), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X. – This year I was finally able to get my hands on both a PS5 and an Xbox Series X. I appreciate the last-gen backwards compatibility that those consoles offer. I’m also slowly learning to embrace Cloud Gaming. However, I still have my PS3, so my physical library isn’t going anywhere. That statement is also true for my old PS2 games. I’m holding on to them even though I don’t keep a PS2 hooked up. For PS2 titles, I’ve resorted to emulation. The Switch does a great job at providing my with all the retro games I want (so far). My Wii U is hacked to enable GameCube functionality, if the need arises.
Mobile Gaming: Both my children and I have a Nintendo 3DS. I also have an old PSP.