Tools & Services I Use to run my Business – 2015 Edition

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I get asked over and over again about the different services and tools I use to run my business. So I’ve decided to compile a list of everything that I use and explain some things so you know what they are all about. All of this information will be on my new Resources page and that page will be updated and the devices and services I use change over time. So let’s get started!

Websites & Online Services

WordPress – All of my websites are powered by WordPress and it is an extremely easy to use platform.

Traffic Planet Hosting – Traffic Planet Hosting is the hosting service that I would recommend if you are running a medium to large-scale website. This is the hosting I use for ThinkComputers. One of the best features of this hosting service is that they will migrate your current website over to their servers for FREE!

Bluehost – Bluehost is one of the bigger hosting companies out there. They have extremely affordable plans and I host my smaller sites on a single account, including this blog. If you are just starting out this is the perfect hosting for you and they do have 1-click installs for many applications, including WordPress.

MailChimp – For anyone doing e-mail marketing MailChimp is a great service. I use it for the ThinkComputers newsletter as well as the Newsletter for this blog.

Google Drive & Gmail – I use Google services for not only e-mail, but for drafting reviews, sharing files with reviewers, spreadsheets, and much more. I haven’t used Microsoft Office for a few years now because of Google Docs and services.

Google Analytics – Google Analytics is pretty much the standard when it comes to website traffic tracking. You will use this to see how many people are coming to your website. There are Google Analytics plugins for WordPress to make installation easy on your website.

Social Media

HootSuite – I use HootSuite to manage most of my social networks. It supports Twitter, Facebook & Facebook Pages, and Google Plus Pages. The interface is the best out there and you can schedule posts for all social networks.

TweetDeck – I do use TweetDeck if I want to share content on Twitter with a photo. It seems to be the only app that allows you to use photos with Twitter and they actually show up as a full image on your Twitter page and feed.

Instagram – I use Instagram to share photos, not only for personal use but for ThinkComputers as well!

Computers & Hardware

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro – This is my go-to laptop I use and I travel with. It is very thin and light which I like and I have the version with the 3200 x 1800 display so it is great for photo and video editing.

Custom PC – I have built a custom PC to use as my “main” PC when I am at home. It is an Intel-based PC with a Core i7-3970K, 16GB of DDR3 memory, a GeForce GTX 960, a few SSDs and more. I also have a dual-monitor setup, which I feel is great for being productive.

Canon VIXIA HF M500 – This is the camcorder I use to shoot all of the unboxing and other videos for ThinkComputers. It is perfect if you want to do a video podcast or some type of coverage of an event.

Sony NEX-5R – This is my go to point and shoot camera. This is what I use to shoot all of the product photos for ThinkComputers and much more. It is very easy to use, even for a beginner.

Audio-Technica ATR-3350 – This is a great Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone that I use for all of my videos for ThinkComputers. It is very inexpensive and has great sound quality.

Blue Microphones Snowball – This is a great plug and play USB microphone that I use for Skype calls and the ThinkComputers Podcast. It is extremely easy to use and works on both Mac and PCs. It is also inexpensive.

iPhone 5s – Yes I am an iPhone guy! The iPhone allows me to stay connected when I am on the go and works perfect for me.

Software & More

Adobe Creative Cloud – I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud for all of my photo editing and video editing needs. What’s great about it is I can download the software to any machine at anytime. The full suite is only $50 / month which isn’t bad at all considering what all you get.

Skype – Skype is the main form of communication that I use on my PC and Laptop. It is what we use to record the ThinkComputers Podcast and it is great way of communication if you are out of the country.

Splashtop – I have used many different remote desktop applications and this one I feel is the best. It allows me to access my main PC from anywhere I have an internet connection. I also have to app on my iPhone so if I need to do something real quick I can do it on my phone no matter where I am.

Why I’m OK Being 30 and Single

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Before I get started with this posted I want everyone reading this article to read it in its entirety before you go ahead and make a comment. I am not against relationships, love, starting a family, etc. Many people I know are in love, have families and are with the right person. I am completely happy for them and I think we all want what they do have. It’s just many people settle and that is really what this article is about, so again keep reading before you decide to make a comment.

So I am 30, turning 30 seems like a bigger deal than 21 was or even 25 really. At this point in my life I do feel much wiser and I’ve gone through quite a lot that has made me a better person and more importantly made me smarter. Growing up you think by this age you will have a family, maybe a couple of kids and living that fairytale life. Well for me that is not the case, but I guess at the same time I don’t consider that a “fairytale life” either.

I am single, happily single I might add as well. Many people might think this is a bad thing, they may be having some sort of crisis because again at this age we are “supposed” to be starting a family. I really do not see it that way at all. They way I see it is I am not settling. I have been in relationships where I did settle and looking back I can see how unhappy I was and how I was not a great person to my friends and family. You have to go through a few of these to realize that settling could be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. I look back and wonder what life could have been like if I stayed with certain people, if I let someone keep treating me like that, if I got back with them. It is actually a relief that I never made those choices to bring that type of person back into my life.

The sad truth is that many people do settle and they settle because they cannot be alone. So they put up with the bullshit and being treated badly so at the end of the day they have someone to talk to, someone to come home to, or just someone to be there when they need them. At the same time they do not realize they are basically bottom-feeding and giving up all self-respect for themselves by doing this. It literally blows my mind how some people justify staying with each other. I know girls who have literally been beaten up by their boyfriends and they stay. Guys who stay with a girl who is only there for money. People who stay together when they know each other is cheating and the list goes on and on.

All of these relationships are destined to fail and I’ve seen so many do so over the years. I know people who were married and are divorced now, people who told me less than a year ago they were in love and now they are single, couples who’ve had children together and now share custody and are most likely paying child support. Think about all of the time and money that was wasted because they decided to settle. I mean even I have been guilty of this and its crazy to imagine that amount of time you spent with someone who now you don’t even want to think about.

This quote by Mark Manson sums it up perfectly:

“Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for?”

Its not even people who have been through long relationships either. I know people right now who are in bad relationships. They are miserable. And I always wonder, why are you putting yourself through this misery? Why are you cheating? Why are you ok with getting cheated on? Why do you let them treat you like that? If you are asking yourself any of these questions then you more than likely need to rethink the relationship you are in.

So I’m telling you to not settle, but how do you know that you are settling? Well there are the obvious factors like someone being shady, cheating, etc. But I think at the end of the day you as a person with respect for yourself should know if its right or not. In my prior relationships many of them I knew were not right, but I chose to ignore that because I wanted to be with someone. If you are strong enough to be alone you will avoid the bullshit. You will know for certain when it is right and when you need to tell someone to hit the bricks.

Luckily I grew up in a household where my parents were together and to this day they are still in love. When you see that day after day and year after year you look at your relationship and can tell if its right or not.

This is why I’m ok with being single and 30. It’s not a bad thing to me because I know what could have been and I’m relieved it did not end up that way. I know what it’s like to be in a good relationship and I can pick up on bullshit quite easily. Unless it is right there is no need to waste my time. I would rather spend that time building my business or going on adventures with my friends. Its funny to see people go from relationship to relationship without any break in between. That break in between is crucial to becoming a better and stronger person. It helps you learn to be ok by yourself and gives you time to work on yourself so you can attract a far better person than the person you were just with.

So I ask everyone reading this if you are in a relationship take a step back and look at it. Are you not happy? Putting up with some type of bullshit? And most importantly are you settling? If you answered yes to any of these I urge you to get out as fast as you can because all you are going to do is regret it later in life.

Photo courtesy of Todd Quackenbush via Unsplash

Seeing Armin Van Buuren 9 Years Later

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All the way back in 2006 I went to see my first DJ, it was Armin Van Buuren. I took a little road trip down to Washington, DC with friends to see Armin at a placed called Fur, which is not even there anymore. Armin at the time was ranked #3 in the world, but many of you probably had not heard of him yet because Trance and EDM was not even close to how big it is today. Since that first show I have been a lifelong fan of Armin and Trance.

Fast forward to last month I made the trip back down to Washington, DC to see Armin again. This time it was at EchoStage, which I have been to quite a lot of times before. I am going to let the videos speak for themselves, but I have to say Armin still brings the house down. He is still my favorite DJ and his shows are not like any other. He just has this power over the crowd that not many DJs so. Anyways I’m not going to make this post that long, here are the videos!

You can see the rest of the videos on my YouTube page!

The #TIM08 Shipment from Quarterly

#TIM08 Shipment from Quarterly

It has been a while since I’ve talked about Quarterly on the blog, this is because their last shipment was actually pretty late. I did not get it until February 5th, when I was actually supposed to get it around Christmas time. Anyways Quarterly is much like those monthly box services, except it is each quarter. You don’t get to pick what goes inside of the box, but you pick a curator who hand picks what goes inside the box. The curator I have picked since his second box is Tim Ferriss.

Tim’s box costs $100. This is his 8th box that he has sent out so what all is inside?

#TIM08 Shipment from Quarterly

Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels: $39.99
RAD Roller: $29.99
How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life (Book): $19.56
uBiome Gut Kit: $89
Liz Lovely Ginger Snapdragons (2): $5

So the total price of items inside the box is $188.54 and you get all of that for $100!

I think the thing I was most excited to see was Clocky. I have a horrible time getting up in the morning so having an alarm clock that runs away from me is a good thing! The uBiome Gut kit seems pretty interesting and I tried one of the Ginger Snapdragons tonight and they are amazing!

While not as good as the #TIM07 shipment I was still pretty impressed with the #TIM08 shipment and I will continue my subscription.