Uses…

This is a work in progress. Expect it to be incomplete.

Inspired by others, here is a list of gadgets, tools, software and services that I use for my life and work.

For banking and finance

For business banking I use NatWest, mostly because they give you the excellent FreeAgent online accounting software for free, which is worth £100s/year, and this benefit far outweighs any fees.

Having said that, if you are shopping for banks then NatWest is excellent with good customer service and great online and mobile apps. But always check the fee sheet. Different businesses benefit from different fee structures and they can become costly.

I do a lot of small foreign currency transactions and NatWest’s fees were a bit ridiculous for that.

I had a Tide business account for a while (poor – avoid!) but got on the list for a Monzo business account (they are currently not opening new business accounts). I use it as a top-up card account for those foreign currency transactions. This has saved me those foreign transaction fees, and Monzo is generally awesome, but there was one US-based supplier that they just couldn’t pay, and text-chat-based customer support doesn’t work for me, so I struggle to see how it could be my main account.

I also encourage people to check if a bank is actually a bank. Some of the new “challenger” banks that pop up are not actually proper banks: they are re-sellers of eMoney services. They don’t have banking licenses and it’s unclear if your money is safe as they are not strictly part of the financial services compensation scheme (FSCS).

Monzo and Starling ARE proper banks, Tide and Coconut are not. Always read the terms and conditions and know what you are getting into.

There’s other things worth checking too: Can you pay in cheques? What are customer service options? Etc.

And avoid HSBC. Terrible ethically, awful online banking and apps.

Work equipment

Laptop:

I currently use a Late 2013 13” MacBook Pro. Yes, this is old now but it’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned. The battery holds about 90 minutes of charge and you can get something quicker these days, but it has a good keyboard, lots of ports, and great screen.

I’m not heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, but I do like what Apple’s software gives me. I’ve resisted upgrading until Apple remember that pro’s and consumers need difference classes of device again. Hopefully that will happen this year (2020).

Monitor:

In my office I have an old Apple 24” Cinema Display. This isn’t high DPI (retina) but that’s fine. I got it for free when someone was throwing it out. It’s a good screen with Thunderbolt/mini display port interface and built-in USB port, (crappy) camera and, usefully for my laptop, a MagSafe power cable that I can power the MacBook from.

It’s not the best monitor, but it serves my needs!

Desk:

A few years ago I converted to a standing desk…

Bag:

A/V kit:

Software and Services: Task/project management and productivity

Software and services: Coding and development