Toolbox

Wrench representing WizOne Solutions Toolbox

Welcome to the WizOne Solutions Toolbox! This page is aimed both at people checking me out and at fellow developers. It will give you some insight into how I solve problems and the extra-cranial sources of the magic.

Read them all or jump to a specific one:

Click here to skip down and read disclosures and stuff about this page.

Or, check out my motivations behind creating this page by reading the blog post.

Mobile Office

Mobile Office

If you’ve witnessed me sitting down and working on stuff at a Drupal event, you may have seen a setup like this:

So which gadgets and devices make it up? Why, I’m glad you asked:

Monitor:

Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421. (Note: If Buy.com is out of stock, try Amazon.)

The reason behind it: This one pretty much speaks for itself. If you’re a developer or regular traveler, you know that a second monitor is priceless. I use it primarily so I can code on the big screen (the laptop) and refer to reference materials, email, etc. on the small screen.It doubles up as a nice second screen for presentations as well. That way, you can see the slides themselves and your notes. I don’t use it much like this because I mostly use live demos, but I noticed I could do so in a recent presentation.

Keyboard:

Goldtouch Go! Travel Keyboard. Amazon has it too (here), but it’s no cheaper, and The Human Solution has more personalized customer service (a huge understatement).

The reason behind it: I started getting more into ergonomic office equipment around fall last year, partially on my own initiative and partially from being inspired by seeing someone else with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I liked the idea of an ergonomic keyboard so much that when I saw the Goldtouch Go! and saw that it had good reviews, I bought one. I haven’t regretted it for a moment.

The keyboard is awesome and is a shining example of a well-engineered product. In fact, I’ve been inadvertently rough on it 2 or 3 times and rearranged it while the locking mechanism was still locked, which you would think would damage or weaken it. However, it still seems to be working fine. I guess they anticipated that too.

Finally, you’ll notice that they say it’s a “soft touch” keyboard. This is true. You can relax your hands more than usual and just tap at the keys. It feels great.

Lap Desk:

Targus AWE56US Compact Notebook Desk (backup link: Amazon) - before this, I had the Targus Notebook Ultralite Lapdesk. The latter feels a bit sturdier, but the one I use now fits my mouse better. Both are plenty sturdy and fit effortlessly in a backpack or large-enough laptop case. I’ve used the AWE56US I have now with a 17″ Dell Precision I borrowed once (huge things).

The reason behind it: Two main reasons. 1) I’d read that using a laptop on your lap for extended periods of time could lead to infertility and stuff like that, which didn’t sound too nice. 2) Using a laptop on my lap is just awkward. It’s way more stable and pleasant on top of the lap desk. I’d dare say it’s even a bit more ergonomic.

In addition, as you can see in the photo above, I tend to use the GoldTouch Go! Travel Keyboard and Logitch M305 Wireless Mouse on top of the lap desk and place the laptop itself on a table or raised surface. This is really comfortable, and I can relax my shoulders better.

Mouse:

Logitech Wireless Mouse M305 (backup link: Amazon) - the battery lasts really, really long on this one. At the time of writing (June), I’m still using the same batteries from late January. It’s starting to tell me I should change them, but I think it’ll be a while still. I don’t use it daily, mind, but I think the on/off switch helps a lot.

The reason behind it: When I’m using the laptop and I have the Goldtouch Go! Travel Keyboard on top of the laptop keyboard, it’s harder to access the touchpad. I looked for an inexpensive, long-lasting, non-Bluetooth, somewhat-ergonomic wireless mouse to fill the gap. It’s just plain nice to have an external mouse as well. And as a nice, initially unexpected, treat, the wireless receiver fits into the Goldtouch Go’s USB port!

Project Management

DeskAway – www.deskaway.com

Productivity

Shoeboxed (document management) – www.shoeboxed.com. I just recently started using their mail-in feature. It takes like a week, but it’s really cool, and now my stuff actually gets digitized and off my desk! I just keep the stuff in the envelopes they send back. If I ever need to find a hard copy, I’ll find it there and check the tag it was imported with and match it to the envelope code.

Invoicing

FreshBooks – www.freshbooks.com – link takes you to my invitation page. As for my opinion of it, let me simply say that if marriage between men and web applications was legal, I would propose to FreshBooks. I haven’t even looked at other online invoicing apps.

Domain Names and DNS

DNS Made Easy - www.dnsmadeeasy.com - awesome redundant DNS! They also let you brand their nameservers to look like your own. Do a WHOIS on my site some time and you’ll see it’s true! I used to use DynDNS for similar purposes, but I’m not even looking back after switching. They’ve added a new control panel and API recently, and they always seem to be working on the service. Great company.

Name.com (http://www.name.com) – my favorite. They even added back the checkout smiley upon my request! The link goes to a domain name search page.

Web Site/Web Server Infrastructure

Immediate VPS – www.immediatevps.com fantastic support, good boxes. I’ve only experienced one outage with them due to a DDOS attack, and they handled it promptly and issued me SLA credit as promised.

midPhase – www.midphase.com - they’ve actually been surprisingly good, and, from what I’ve seen, the community agrees. No problems to mention, support is decent, price is right.

URPad – www.urpad.net – click my link, and then search for “urpad lowendbox.” As of the time of writing, you can find a smokin’ $5.99/mo. deal for a VPS with good specs. These are usable for production sites, according to a trusted source (and my own experience so far, at least with the uptime).

Utilities

WatchThatPage (track Web page changes) – http://www.watchthatpage.com - (You can use this to monitor changes to this page too!)

Affiliate Link Disclosure and stuff

Some of the links to these services are my affiliate links, so if you sign up or purchase them after clicking (sometimes for a period of time), I’ll get a commission. It doesn’t make anything more expensive to use them. It just compensates me a bit for the recommendation. Please use the links if I am indeed the one who recommended a particular service to you. It’ll help keep me afloat and give me a bit more time to contribute and develop stuff that’s more interesting!

(Oh, and you’ll see that some of the links say wiz1.us – that’s a shortlinking service that I wholly control. It uses Drupal’s ShURLy module, actually! I use it for the links just to see how many times people click on them. Contact me if you have concerns.)
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