What I Use
People sometimes ask me what appliances, software, hardware and accessories I make use of on a daily basis. This is the page I link to those people!
Note: This is a lot of information - but I'm a homeware and cooking nerd as much as I am a computer nerd, so I talk a lot about all kinds of things. I've placed a table of contents in the left menu if you need one.
As both a nerd and a cook, there's quite a few things to detail here!
- Air treatment (main): Dyson Pure Cool fan, floor-standing
- Air treatment (secondary): Beldray 3-in-one fan with ring light, rechargeable
- Atmosphere monitoring: 2x SwitchBot Thermometer and Hygrometer Plus
- These are alright, but SwitchBot's hubs are terrible and these things use Bluetooth for some reason. Save yourself the hassle and get yourself a Z-Wave hub and monitor instead, which will work with the rest of your smart home as a bonus.
- Coffee maker: Nespresso Vertu Next Deluxe (Magimix), chrome
- Dishwasher: Neff N30 integrated dishwasher (discontinued)
- Honestly, I really don't like this one. It's cumbersome to use and doesn't fit wine glasses, and our stoneware really doesn't fit very well — but it works, so we're not replacing it until it dies.
- Dryer: Bosch vented tumble dryer, unknown model
- Food Processor: Kenwood Multipro XL Weigh+, black
- Freezer: AEG tall standing freezer, unknown model
- Fridge (drinks): Belling free-standing wine cooler (34 bottles)
- Fridge-freezer (main): Samsung side-by-side fridge-freezer with ice/water dispenser, unknown model
- Home heating: Mitsubishi Ecodan energy efficient heat pump with MELCloud
- Kettle: Ninja Perfect Temperature Kettle (1.7L), black
- KitchenAid: Mixers and small appliances
- Cordless Hand blender, black
- Tilt-Head Mixer, red
- Mixer attachment: Food processor
- Mixer attachment: Meat grinder and sausage stuffer
- Mixer attachment: Sifter and scale
- Mixer attachment: Spiralizer
- Mixer attachment: Vegetable slicer and shredder
- Microwave: Neff microwave (built-in), unknown model
- Milk frother: Krups XL2000 milk frother and hot chocolate maker, steel
- Ninja Foodi: Multi-cookers and air friers
- Foodi MAX multi-cooker
- Foodi MAX health grill
- Foodi MAX XL dual-zone air fryer
- Oven: Neff double oven (built-in), unknown model
- Rice cooker: Crock-Pot Sauté Rice Cooker
- Robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ (vacuum, mop, auto-empty)
- This is quite a good robot vacuum, with a very clever automatic mop storage system. However, it lacks a lot of the smarts that other competitors have perfected over the years, including being able to view the robot's current progress or where it is on the map. Disappointing given that this is an expensive, modern model!
- We previously had an ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI, which worked okay but frequently broke and needed to be sent in for repairs. It had mapping issues and the auto-empty base completely failed to work if the robot had been cleaning on carpet. However, the battery lasted significantly longer than the Roomba, which has to go back to recharge several times a day during a single cycle.
- Spice grinder: Lecone Electric Grinder (cheap Amazon find)
- Toaster: Sage Smart Toast 4-Slice
- Vacuum cleaner: Dyson v11 Animal cordless vacuum, purple
- Beats the previous models simply because it's far harder to accidentally break when you empty it, although it's very easy to end up with blisters on your hand if you're cleaning more than a small area. There are probably many comparable models from other manufacturers that cost far less and are more comfortable and durable, but this works.
- Washer: Neff washing machine, unknown model
I make own quite a few devices, including:
- Consoles (in use): Switch (1st gen), PS4 (white)
- Consoles (old, portable): New 3DS XL (black), DS Lite (black), 3DS (gen 1, grey), GBA (sp, blue), GBA (black), GBC (transparent purple), GBC (teal) PSP (1st gen, white)
- Consoles (old, standalone): WiiU (black), Wii (white), N64 (transparent red), PS3 (fat, black), PS2 (slim, black), PS1 (1st gen), Xbox (original, black), Sega Genesis (model 1) with Sega CD
- Desk charger: Zendure SuperPort 4
- Earbuds (PC calling): KZ ZS10 Pro X in-ear wired earbuds, black
- KZ only sells their earbuds via Aliexpress, so don't be too surprised if that's where you end up needing to go. They're quite good and yet surprisingly cheap, but do note that sometimes the cable you get might be a little janky — so be prepared to buy another. At least the cable is designed to be easily replaced, though!
- Earbuds (travel): Soundcore Liberty 4 true wireless earbuds, black
I treated myself to a this pair of earbuds when my previous ones (the Jabra set below) started to freak out, with extremely low resolution audio and heavily broken audio streaming. They don't fit my ears as well as pretty much any other pair of earbuds I've tried (even the largest earbuds are too small), and this means they end up sounding a little tinny as a result.
It turns out that a bug in the Discord app was what was causing my Jabra earbuds to freak out, but I'd already started to use these earbuds and they have far better on-bud controls, so I decided I'd try to live with them.
I bet Discord wouldn't refund the cost, though.
- Earbuds (tablet): Jabra Elite Active 65t true wireless earbuds
I bought these a very long time ago from a local Argos store, and they're honestly quite fantastic. They're solidly-build, packed full of features and sound great, and I'm sure Jabra's newer models go above and beyond the standard this pair sets.
However, the on-device controls are pretty terrible, and it's generally easier to just pull out your phone. Additionally, they show their age in battery life, and don't support wireless charging. I'm sure Jabra has fixed all of these problems in their newer models, though.
- Headphones: Soundcore Space Q45, black
Anker did a great job with these headphones. I bought these to replace a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4s (catchy name, I know) that had started to bug out after only a year of use, exactly the day after the warranty expired. Please do not buy Sony headphones, they require a terrible app for adequate sound, the build quality sucks, the on-device controls suck, and they're a terrible company to work with if something breaks, given they charge extreme amounts of money for fixes, and even charge you a huge sum when they decide not to fix anything!
Conversely, the Soundcore headphones sound considerably better for a fraction of the price, are far more durable, and make use of an app that honestly works quite well. The only complaint I have about these is that the case they came with was the cheapest piece of moulded plastic I've ever seen — but they fit into the case that came with my Sony headphones, arguably the only thing Sony managed to get right!
- Home compute: 2x Raspberry Pi 3B+ with PiHut cluster case, fans and heat sinks
- Multimedia (audio): Sonos Play:Five, Sonos Play:1 (1st gen), Sonos One (2nd gen)
We bought these speakers a very long time ago, and they continue to sound excellent and work fairly well. I'm genuinely not sure how this company makes money, given how long their speakers last for. We've certainly never had to replace one, and we've been using them for ten years!
The only real complaint I have is that these are fully app-controlled, and while that app mostly works fine, it can have intermittent problems. For example, sometimes we'll go through a week or month where Spotify support barely works (if at all), and the app offers absolutely no hints on what's going on, or how to fix things. Issues are always out of your control, and these speakers fully rely on an internet connection and the Sonos cloud service to function.
- Multimedia (satellite TV): Sky Q (multi-room)
- Multimedia (shower): LENRUE wireless Bluetooth speaker (cheap Amazon find, surprisingly good)
- Multimedia (video): Apple TV 4K Wifi + Ethernet (128 GiB) with Siri remote, Chromecast with Google TV
- Network switch (main): MikroTik Cloud Smart Switch 326, 24 Ethernet ports, 2x SFP+
1U rack mount
- As a side note, this is caving inwards at the top, and it has nothing on top of it. Spooky.
- Network switch (PC and Raspberry Pis): TP-Link TL-SG1055, 5 Ethernet ports
- Phone: Pixel 6 Pro (128 GiB), white
- Phone (dedicated camera monitor): Galaxy Note 10+ (256 GiB), black
- This was one of my parents' old phones, we didn't just spend an extreme amount of money on a camera monitor!
- Phones (old, in storage): Huawei Mate 10 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro
- Power bank: Zendure SuperTank (27,000 mAh)
- Honestly, this is a fantastic power bank. It's a bit wasted on me though, since I rarely actually need one — we mostly only use it during power cuts.
- Shaver: Philips 11-in-1 all-in-one trimmer, series 5000
- Smart assistants: Echo Dots, Spots and Shows, Google Home (1st gen)
- Tablet: iPad Air (4th gen), 64 GiB, black, Apple refurbished
- Tablet (wall display): Nokia T20 (32 GiB), ocean blue
- We keep an Android tablet attached to a wall next to the kitchen entrance. It runs Smart Launcher with a bunch of widgets that we use to keep track of our family calendar, the news and the weather. We used to use DAKBoard for this, but it's difficult to justify an external service when you can easily get by with just a good launcher — and DAKBoard isn't even interactive!
- Tablet (extra PC monitor): Acer Iconia One 7 (16 GiB), white
- This was our previous wall display tablet, and before that it was our dedicated camera monitor. It's pretty much only useful as an extra display now, but it's very small so I don't use it very often.
- VR headset: Meta Quest 2 (256 GiB), with link cable and default controllers
- WiFi network: 3x Google WiFi (1st gen), mesh network
- Wireless charging: Apple MagSafe charger, 2x Anker PowerWave Pad
My PC is a custom build, which I put together in 2022. Here's what's in it:
- Case: Corsair 7000D AIRFLOW, black
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 64-bit, 16c/32t, 3.4GHz - 4.9GHz
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15, black
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, 12 GiB
- Motherboard: Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
- PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1200W
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX, 128 GiB (4x32), DDR4 @ 3200 MHz
- Storage: Samsung 980 Pro NVMe SSD, 2 TiB
- Storage: SanDisk Ultra 3D SATA SSD, 500 GiB
Everyone's setup is quite personal, right? Here's what I'm using — though note that some of the devices listed above are often used with my PC too.
- Controllers: 8BitDo Pro 2, 8BitDo SN30 pro+, 8BitDo ultimate with dock (for the Switch), DUALSHOCK 4, Xbox One wireless controller (2016, black), Steam Controller
- Keyboard: Dygma Raise (UK layout), black, with tenting kit
- Microphone: Audio-Technica ATR2100x dynamic USB microphone
- Previously I used a Blue Snowball (white), but that microphone is a condenser and doesn't even come close to sounding as good as this AT microphone. Remember to do your research, though — no microphone is suitable for every situation, and you'll need to pick one that meets your needs. In this case, I mostly use this mic for voice chats and the occasional voice recording, so it's perfect for me.
- Microphone arm: InnoGear adjustable microphone stand, clamped to desk
- Microphone pop filter: Shure A58WS foam windscreen, black
- Monitor arms: 3x VonHaus monitor mount for 13-32 inch screens, clamped to desk
- Monitors: 3x Dell UltraSharp U2417H 23.8-inch LCD/LED display, 1080p
- Mouse: Logitech G600
- Speakers: Dell AE415 (2.1 speaker system)
- Webcam: Logitech Brio
- Save your money. It works, but it's overpriced (still, even though I bought this in 2018) and the mounts you get with it are incredibly fragile. I used to use a generic goose-neck arm for this webcam, but the Logitech-included mount broke within a month, so it just sits on top of my monitor now.
- Volume control: Turn Up Mixer
This one's pretty weird, featuring five programmable knobs and buttons on a plastic fingerprint-magnet of a box. It mostly works fine, but seems to have been abandoned by the company that made it — the software and drivers have obvious problems that have been there since release and haven't been addressed, and their social media accounts are unmonitored and are rarely posted to. The thing often breaks when you use Discord screen-sharing. It's absurd!
There are many external volume control knobs on the market, and most of them are considerably cheaper than the cool $100 the Turn Up sells for. Heck, with a little time and some light programming skills, you could probably build your own setup using an Arduino or similar!
No, you won't get me to switch to Linux.
- Browser: Vivaldi
A Chrome-based browser that suits my power-user browsing habits. It allows me to use Chrome extensions, and provides me with a "Window" sidebar that gives me a tree-style view of my tabs. It's the only Windows-supporting browser that meets my needs, so I guess I'm lucky that it exists.
However, this browser has a couple of serious problems.
- When typing into the address bar, it likes to auto-complete the longest possible URL, instead of what I wanted.
- If you open the Inspector at any point, your browser is now in an unstable state and may crash at any point - even if you close the Inspector. There's no avoiding this without restarting the browser.
- Sometimes, if I open my browser via clicking on a link, it doesn't properly start up. This means that it won't open the link I've clicked on, and the browser's state will be lost once I close it.
Otherwise, this thing is fantastic!
- Chat: Discord, WhatsApp
- Code/text editing: IDEA Ultimate, VS Code (text editing only), Writerside
- Containers: Podman, via Podman Desktop
- Diagramming: draw.io
- Gaming: BSManager (for Beat Saber), Borderless Gaming, Epic Launcher, Oculus, Steam, r2modman
- Image/document editing: The Affinity suite
- Mail: Outlook
(the new Windows Store one)
This thing is annoying, but the only viable app for my email. It has an ad at the top of the inbox that's styled to look like an email, and you get a popup every few days when you clear it, trying to convince you to subscribe to remove the ads. It has weird keybindings that frequently mess me up, such as `ctrl + enter` to send the email you're writing with no confirmation prompt.
Unfortunately, no third-party email clients meet my needs. They're either based on Thunderbird (and thus have extreme performance issues with my volume of mail), based on Electron with your mail (and login details) processed on someone else's cloud, or from Microsoft.
What an odd situation to be in, honestly.
- Music: Spotify
- Operating system: Windows 11 Pro
- Organisation/task management: Cron (by Notion, not the Linux task scheduler), Google Calendar, Obsidian with make.md (fantastic), TickTick
- Screenshot tool: ShareX
- Streaming: Discord, OBS
- Terminal: Windows Terminal with Powershell
- Utilities: AquaSnap Pro, Auto Dark Mode, JetBrains Toolbox, Nearby Share, Parsec, Phone Link, Microsoft PowerToys, spacedesk, SyncTrayzor (for SyncThing), VoiceMeeter Potato (audio management engine), ZeroTier