On October 17th 2012 Helge Klein published an article called “Show Me Your Start Menu and I’ll Tell You Who You Are”. In this article Helge showed a screenshot of his start menu (a dying breed with Win8) and explains the applications he used recently, it tells a story about the man behind the machine.
I found it an interesting approach of showing telling something about yourself, so here’s mine…
What does that say about me?
Just like Helge I’ve disabled Aero. I find it a useless function that consumes unnecessary resources. Sure the task switching looks fancy and the transparency is cool, but I use my machine for work. I think a lot of people agree that Aero wasn’t al that necessary, Microsoft removed it from Win8.
Start Menu Location
Unlike Helge I’m more into the classic location, just keep it where it is by default: On the left bottom side of my 27” screen. Helge’s remarks about the screen did put me to thinking about the location, I might move it to the left side just to test it out.
The right side is probably very annoying, the desktop is extended to a second screen.
I am Dutch and proud of it! Well, that’s not really the reason I‘ve got a Dutch OS. Well in fact it isn’t, it’s has a Dutch MUI pack. Why? I guess because I’m lazy, before Win 7 I never had the opportunity to use an English OS. Since I’m more and more writing and speaking in English I consider to replace it with an English OS.
As a background wallpaper I have a picture of my recently built new house and my “green” car parked in front of it. Designing and building a house (ow well, I didn’t build anything) is quite a journey but I’m more than happy with the end result. When switching applications or accessing from the desktop I get a quick glance at my new home.
I hardly ever use it. It slows me down in my daily activities. My most common used applications are pinned to my taskbar. I’ve pinned some applications to I can always access them when I need them.
I work at PepperByte, a consultancy company in The Netherlands. When I lock my machine I want my customers and peers to see whose laptop it is.
I enabled the run option (Uitvoeren in Dutch) to quickly execute applications. Do I use it often? No, +R is even quicker to access
When I want to start an application that’s not pinned I search for it in the search bar. It’s so much faster than looking it up in the “All programs” folder structure.
All application vendors use their own names, some vendors use multiple, my Start Menu is a mess! Before Windows 7 (XP and beyond) I renamed, moved and cleaned the folders and icons in my Start Menu. Now I search, I’ve become lazy.
Microsoft Excel 2010
When I’m working as a performance consultant (performing load~ and stresstest or analyze other performance relate issues) I use Excel to quickly calculate some results and create charts. Ow and I recently build a house, I spend a lot of hours in Excel for that
Microsoft Outlook 2010
The corporate mail program of choice IMHO. Multiple mailboxes are aggregated in one application (PepperByte, Denamik, DUCUG, etc.) so I only have to check 1 application for all my mail, contacts and calendars. Since it integrates with Lync I can easily see who of my peers is online and the Citrix ShareFile integration (which still need to install) allows me to send large attachments very easily.
Microsoft Word 2010
Working as a consultant means I frequently need to write documents. Really a lot!
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
Sometimes I cannot result to build a small application. Usually as a proof-of-concept “see, of course this is possible” or to make life easier for myself. Recently I haven’t coded anything, I think I’m over it now?
SQL Server Management Studio
When I’m conducting a performance test with Denamik LoadGen the results are stored in a SQL database, the same applies for the progress and results of The Bandwidth Matrix (work in progress!). With the management studio I get access to the SQL databases and all related information.
The de-facto standard type 2 hypervisor, the Virtualize Your Own application to go, an essential tool to setup a lab on my mobile workstation. It allows me to test new software, train myself with new technologies or to give demonstrations / presentations. Wondering what will happen when I’ve installed Windows 8, will Hyper-V be sufficient?
Windows Live Writer
I use Windows Live Writer to write all my blogposts. It’s a very intuitive tool with no too many fancy features, but yet enough. Since it’s Microsoft software I know I’ll get updates and “support” (on forums, knowledge base) in case it’s needed (never).
A brilliant solution to offer remote support to friend and family. No software needs to be installed, just go to their website and download an executable. Even when firewalls are in place it you’ll have the ability to remote control the machine (they’ll use default HTTP(S) ports).
In addition it allows me to access my laptop from a customer site all access is restricted (like downloads, twitter, etc.)
Verbinding met extern bureaublad
I probably need to translate this? Literally tranlsated it says “Connect to an external desktop”, but on an english OS the application is called “Remote Desktop Connection”. A very common used utility to connect to (customer) servers.
Synology Cloud Station
I’ve said farewell to DropBox, SugarSync, NomaDesk and all other online storage or “cloud” providers. None of them fitted the need or my wallet. Around 6 months ago a purchases a Synology NAS and I LOVE IT! One of the out-of-the-box applications offered by Synology is “Cloud Station”. It offers the same functionality as DropBox but your data is on your own NAS, so the speed is ridiculously fast (when you’re in your own datacenter").
Besides from a Windows application they also have an iOS app for my iPhone and iPad. Enough for me.
I use the taskbar at least 50x more than the Start Menu simply because I hardly ever close applications. My laptop has 8GB of RAM and I always hibernate instead of shutting down.
Most frequently used applications are pinned so I don’t have to search them in the Start Menu.
I used to be a die-hard fan of Internet Explorer, why use something else if you get a built-in browser that works just fine? Well, after using LastPass it has become slow, unstable and I really got annoyed. Since then I installed Google Chrome and it works amazingly good! It’s simple, fast and easy.
In Windows 8 I’ll probably start again with IE
Microsoft Outlook 2010
See Start Menu
As you’ve read at “Synology Cloud Station” I’ve purchased a Synology NAS to store all my data that I used to store at a cloud storage provider. Now I’ve got all this data in my own house, I’ve lost a safety measure. What happens to my data when the NAS get’s stolen or worse: FIRE!
On the Synology NAS I’ve installed CrashPlan Pro and all data is backed up to one of their servers in the Netherlands. So I’ve got an offsite backup of all my data.
Twitter is a great social media where you can find me frequently. Tweetdeck (the old one, v0.38.2) allows the me to stay in contact with my peers/tweeps, stay up to date of recent information, technology and updates.
Once in a while I need to present something, to a customer or at an event (like E2E/PubForum == great). PowerPoint is the de-facto standard for presentations, although I’m charmed by Prezi. We recently purchased a license for Prezi so will be looking in that in the near future.
Not only is it the only tool that allows me to sync my iPod, iPhone and iPad (yeah, I’m an Apple fanboy) I’m also using it to retrieve and listen to podcast. News, music and car videos (Autoblog.nl)… All in one GUI.
Well, I gotta stay in contact with my peers right? Microsoft Lync is used in our company, and it fits my needs.
With SharpReader I collect all my RSS feeds. There are so many interesting websites and blogs that frequently publish articles that I need something to aggregate it for me. SharpReader is a simple application that shows the latest articles for each website that can be marked as read. This way I know what articles has been published and have to read (if I’ve got the time).
What about you?
Leave your reaction in the comments of Helge’s post