New Year + New Laptop = Better Productivity?


I’ve spent some time between Christmas and New Years resting up and enjoying being with my family – in the background I’ve been building up my new laptop.  I decided before Christmas to take the plunge and buy myself a new laptop.  I settled on the Toshiba Portege R500 with the 64GB Solid State Disk.  This little beauty claims to have a 12 hour battery life – something I plan to test out.  It also weighs in at around 800grams – that’s about the same as a dozen eggs!

In the past, I’ve been used to purchasing big / heavy / grunty laptops so that I can run virtual machines on them whenever I want.  Now with the availability of high speed broadband over 3G and HSDPA, I’ve changed things around.  I now have a nice big HP Proliant ML350G5 at the data centre that I use to do my virtual machine work.  Combine that with the new laptop and I can be doing virtual machine demos from the beach if I really want to.  Ok so I’m loading up the new laptop and I thought I’d give you an idea of the suite of software that I consider to be mandatory for me on a day to day basis.

Windows Vista Business – well – it came with the laptop and I’ll probably upgrade it to Vista Ultimate later so I can get Bitlocker on the drive.

Vista Gadgets – Digital World Clock, Multi meter, Server Ping

Office 2007 Ultimate – this does everything I need and more (yes I know – I didn’t like the ribbon at first but I got over it)

Outlook 2007 with BCM 2007 – I use BCM to manage all my contact tracking, time tracking, opportunities, mail outs and the like.  It’s very cool indeed and it’s integration with the Office suite is very tight.

Visio Professional 2007 – for network diagrams, flow charts and the like

Sharepoint Designer 2007 – for the work I do with Sharepoint v2.0 and V3.0

FrontPage 2003 – even with SPD 2007 above, I still find that there are things I can do faster in FrontPage with the FrontPage Server support that I’ve not been able to do in SPD 2007.

Trend CSM 3.6 Client – to protect me from the bad stuff out there.

Windows Home Server Connector – ensures my laptop is backed up each night when I’m at home

StorageCraft Shadow Protect – ensures my laptop is backed up to a portable USB hard drive when I’m travelling.

Adobe 8.0 Professional – I use this to PDF the writing work that I do, and to produce training manuals and the like.  Yes there are cheaper alternatives out there, but to be honest, this is one area where I would like to go with the flow and use the original product.

Skype 3.5 – my main Australian and USA phone numbers come to be via Skype – it allows me to redirect to my mobile when I’m offline and gives me huge flexibility when I travel.

Windows Live Writer – which I use to do these blog posts.  It’s nice and simple and I love its simplicity.  I used Word 2007 to do this before, but live writer is simpler and faster than word.

Windows Mobile Device Center – to connect my Windows Mobile Devices up.

Windows Mobile Office 6.1 Upgrade – for the ultimate in flexibility and gives me the chance to review Office 2007 documents on my HTC TyTnII phone when I’m really on the go.

Colligo Contributor 2.2 – this is a real gem for me.  I use WSS 3.0 to store all my info for and this gives me easy access to my content offline.  Without this I don’t think it would be as easy for me as it now is to take this on the road.

Feedghost – my RSS reader of choice, allows me to quickly skim through the various tech and business feeds that I watch.

RoyalTS – allows me to group my RDP connections together in various groups and makes it dead easy to see which servers I have active connections to when I’ve logged into a number of sites at a time.

Techsmith Snagit 8 – gives me all the screen captures I need for the writing and documentation I am working on – a very nice tool indeed.

Techsmith Camtasia – I’m playing with this now and am planning to produce a number of informational videos on SBS Cougar and more advanced things in SBS 2003 R2.

VMWare Server Console – yes – I know – VMWare – well what can I say – it’s the only thing right now that I can run a 64 bit guest operating system on and I need to do that so I can test out SBS Cougar and the various bits of Windows Server 2008.

Live Messenger – just to stay in touch with everyone when on the go.  I’ve found that IM reduces my email chatter as it allows answers to quick questions faster than email chains.

Windows 2003 Admin Tools – from this I use the Remote Consoles application for some remote work as well as a number of the other Admin tools.

SQL 2005 Express Management Studio – to manage a few SQL instances on my laptop.

Firefox – I’ve found this works much better with the HP iLo remote management systems on the HP ML and DL100 servers than IE7 does.  It also allows me to test out web development work I’ve done with Firefox (even though only 12.5% of the people visiting my sites use it) for my sites.

ISO Recorder – great lightweight tool that will turn a CD or DVD into an ISO very quickly.  I save these to an external USB hard drive to keep disk space under control on my laptop.

Slysoft VirtualCloneCD – mounts an ISO image as a virtual CD and allows me to install things on the laptop when I want.


That’s it for me.  I’m off to celebrate New Years with my family and a few close friends.  I hope that 2008 brings whatever you desire and that it’s not too hard to get those new Years Resolutions under control.

Drink responsibly and drive safe tonight.

Published: 31/12/2007 7:39 PM

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