Software, devices, releases, games, apps. It’s what you eat, live and breathe when you work for a company like Softonic. So what do our editors do when they escape the office? Put their phones on airplane mode, draw the curtains and wind up the gramophone? Or plug in the Xbox, turn on the laptop and bathe in the digital glow?
In this series, we’ll find out how our editors use technology outside Softonic. Today, we’re going to tell you what we use at home, when we’re not consigned by company hardware regulations, shared testing resources, or even worse, other people’s operating systems. Here we go.
Suzie Blaszkiewicz, junior editor: At home, I use a Sony Vaio with Windows 7. I’ve always used Windows and have yet to take the plunge and switch to Mac, although basically everyone I know seems to have gone that way. I’ve used Macs before, but because I don’t use my PC that much, I’m a little lazy when it comes to having to organize a new OS when all I really do is watch Netflix or Skype with my family. On the other hand, I use my iPhone to do everything else, and iOS has me convinced that if and when I do make my next purchase, it’ll probably be for another iOS device.
Tom Clarke, editor in chief: Our household has lots of computers in it. “Too many”, according to some people (like my wife). My main computer is a MacBook Air but we also use a Mac Mini as a media server. Both always run the latest version of OS X Mavericks, but the Air dual boots into Ubuntu as well. The Mini mostly runs Plex as our media server and Chrome for streaming TV services. I have a machine running Windows 7 for games and apps I can’t run on Mac. My latest is a Raspberry Pi and I’ve got some decisions to make before I get it up and running. Once I decide what I’m going to use it for, I’ll pick a distro.
Lewis Leong, editor: I like using operating systems of all kinds, so I have a custom-built PC running Windows 8.1, a MacBook Pro running Mavericks, a third generation iPad, and a Nexus 5. Each operating system has its pluses and minuses but having them all at my disposal makes sure I can use whatever apps I want. I’m primarily a Windows user since I’m a PC gamer, but Chrome really makes it easy to jump between OS. 90% of what I do is on the web, which can be taken care of by Chrome. Synced bookmarks, histories, and extensions makes jumping between computers a breeze.
Niamh Lynch, editor: I use an iPad 4 for most things at home, and I’ve also got a MacBook Pro running Mavericks for things that I don’t really like doing on the iPad – mainly writing. The MacBook dual boots to Windows 7 at the moment – we’re trying to find a good machine to use as a media server – but neither it nor a gigantic, ancient Windows laptop are doing a good job. I’ve got an iPhone, but hate it. The wifi’s broken and the back is cracked, so I’m just waiting for it to stop working completely, and I can get a Android phone instead!
Nick Mead, editor: I use Mac running Mavericks OS X 10.9. I love OS X – it runs incredibly smoothly and has never let me down or caused unnecessary stress. You can’t call me an Apple fanboy, though, because I also use an Android phone running Gingerbread (yes, I will upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich one day!) just so I keep in touch with other types of software. Although I like Google software in general, Android’s glitchy and I would happily swap to iOS but I don’t trust myself with an iPhone. At least when I drop my Android, I don’t really care if it eventually breaks.
Matt Mullarkey-Toner, editor: At home, I have a Macbook Air running OSX Mavericks which I use during my commute to work. On weekends, I whip it out so I can Skype my family. Well, I say “Skype” but I actually use Hangouts – it’s a much better app. I also have two phones, an iPhone 4S running iOS 7 and a Moto G running KitKat, which I mostly use for testing apps at work. Sometimes I feel a bit teched out when I get home, and I’ve definitely been known to switch all those devices off once I get though the door.
Chris Park, editor: My PC at home is actually a collection of laptops depending on what I need to do. The main setup is running Windows 7 with two monitors. Most of what I need to do is performed through Chrome, but I also use an old version of Photoshop, Paint.net, and play games with Steam. The other laptop I use the most is also running Windows 7 with OpenOffice and Paint.net for quick writing when traveling.
Jon Riggall, news reporter: I use Apple at home. My iPad has taken over many of the simple things I used my Mac for, like listening to BBC IPlayer, checking Twitter and browsing for cooking recipes. As more and more sites work fine on mobile browsers, I find myself using Chrome on iOS more often. On OS X, I use iTunes as my main music library. I’ve never found another app that keeps music so well organized, although the sync with iOS devices feature has gotten worse recently. I use my Mac to DJ, with Traktor Pro 2. It’s a good example of why I still need a proper computer – it’s very powerful software and the simplified version for iPads is just not as flexible, or easy to use.
James Thornton, senior editor: About 3 years ago, I stopped using a computer at home, and to be honest, I don’t miss it. Of course, that’s not to say I live in a bunker without any access to technology. Au contraire: I spend vast chunks of my free time going between my iPhone and PS4. My phone is my chief tool for web browsing and chatting with my buddies. I use the PS4 for watching movies and TV shows through apps like Netflix and iPlayer, and obviously I play games on it. Actually just one: FIFA 14. That’s my life. Who needs a computer these days anyway? For me, a mobile and a console are more than enough.
Suzie accuses us of all being Mac fanboys, but as you can see, it’s totally not true! Most of us use a mixture of operating systems depending on our needs, except for James, who barely uses one at all. In fact, even though he doesn’t say it outright, Chris would rather chew his own hand off than use a Mac at home.
Next week, we ask the editors the burning question: what apps do you use to stay organized?
Tune in, you might learn something…