You don’t always need obscure tricks or super expensive products to upgrade your overall computing experience. Heck, you don’t even have to own the fastest or sleekest laptop. Sometimes even simple tips can make your life a whole lot easier, and you can have a much better time banging out that report if you junk that rubber dome keyboard and get a mechanical one. It's all about using the right tools.
Modern life is confusing. It's full of clutter. But a good note-taking app can help you get organized by giving you a space to take stock of what you need to do or just pen your thoughts down. Google Keep is one of the best apps for this and it also happens to be completely free.
It's available on both iOS and Android, and you can also easily access it from your web browser. You can create lists, write short notes, or even upload a sketch or picture. There's the ability to pin stuff to the top as well, and you can change the colors of individual notes, creating the effect of a virtual board with Post-its stuck to it. In addition, there are collaborative features that let you share notes with other people.
However, the best part is how simple it is to use, and you'll be able to get started on your to-do list really quickly without having to figure out the interface.
Facebook. Twitter. Spotify. Amazon. How many accounts do you have to keep track of? For most people, the simple solution has always been to use a single password for everything, but that may not be the smartest thing to do these days. Cybercrime has become so much more sophisticated that you're constantly reading about new security breaches or data hacks happening every other month.
This is where a password manager like LastPass or 1Password comes in. These allow you to keep track of all your log-in credentials and ensure you never have to hit the “Forgot my password” button, while allowing you to maintain a unique password for each account. They can also help you generate randomized and secure passwords, saving you from inputting your dog’s name in the password field.
Vivaldi is the browser you never ever heard of. This hidden gem was built using the Chromium web browser project, so most of your favorite Chrome extensions will work here just fine. However, it also comes with a bunch of nifty features right out of the box, including support for mouse gestures, more powerful tab management with tab stacking, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and a built-in notepad that lives in the browser sidebar. Opening a new tab is as simple as holding your right mouse button and swiping down. In addition, you can hit F2 to summon the Quick Commands box, which lets you search through everything from keyboard shortcuts to your bookmarks and browser history. What’s not to like?
Okay, sometimes, getting better gear does help. Here are some recommendations.
Caldigit's TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock is a godsend for both PC users and owners of the new Apple MacBook Pro. With more and more manufacturers ditching USB Type-A ports in favor of more USB-C connectors, you've probably found yourself wishing for more connectivity options. But fret not, the TS3 Plus comes equipped with no fewer than 15 ports, two more than OWC's already excellent Thunderbolt 3 dock.
Its selection of connectors is quite extensive, comprising two Thunderbolt 3, five USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A, one USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C, one USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C, one SD card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and more. It'll also support dual 4K 60Hz screens or a single 5K monitor, so you can have all the screen real estate you need.
This is also the only Thunderbolt 3 dock that features USB 3.1 (Gen 2) connectivity, which helps give it a leg up over the competition. Better still, it'll charge both Windows laptops and MacBooks, serving up to 85W of power.
If you’re looking to get a mouse for work, you can’t go wrong with the Logitech MX Master 2S. This ergonomic, right-handed mouse comes with seven buttons and not one, but two, scroll wheels, all of which can be customized in the Logitech Options app. The second scroll wheel sits above your thumb, so you can use it to scroll horizontally through browser tabs and spreadsheets. Finally, the 4,000DPI Darkfield sensor will track on just about any surface, including glass, so you don’t have to worry about getting a mousepad.
When you spend all day typing on your keyboard, getting a good one is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself. The Hexgears Gemini Dusk mechanical keyboard features a sleek all-metal chassis and is an artfully crafted tool that will be the centerpiece of your workstation. You can get it with Kailh Box White, Box Brown, or Box Red switches, so there's something for you regardless of whether you prefer clicky, tactile, or linear switches. Having said that, the PCB also features hot-swap switch sockets, which means you're not stuck with a single switch type and can easily install new switches any time.
Better still, it is fully programmable and features a beautiful wraparound RGB light bar. It also comes with doubleshot PBT keycaps by default, which means they'll hold up better over time and won't pick up that annoying shine that ABS keycaps do. Finally, it features dual USB-C ports for more flexible cable management and dedicated volume control keys (these replace the Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys).