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Laptops

I personally prefer the MacBook Pro. I just got a brand new one in the summer of 2017. It is very fast and very reliable.

My company is all PCs, all the time, with the exception of my Mac. When my daughter started high school, her school required all students to have a Mac. Since I am her primary tech support, I decided to get a Mac also. However, that was not the only reason. I use the full Adobe suite, and the Mac is the preferred platform for graphic design, website design, and photo editing.

VMware

Unfortunately, some of the best software doesn't run on a Mac. For instance, if you are in the insurance industry, the best imaging software is called ImageRight from Vertafore. Of course, they don't have a version that works with the Mac. Slackers. The good news is that VMware has come to the rescue with a wonderful product called Fusion. It allows you to run Windows 7 or 10 on your Mac.

iPhone, iPad and iOS

I got my first iPhone 3G back in 2008 for one simple reason - it displayed PDFs. At the time, I had a Blackberry, and the only way you could see a PDF on a Blackberry is if the PDF had text. It did not work with PDFs that contained TIFF images - like the kind that my fax-to-email device sent me daily. Did I just mention a Blackberry and fax in the same paragraph? I feel old.

That's why I got an iPhone in 2008. Why do I still have an iPhone? I'm about to tick off a lot of Android fans. The phones are pretty equivalent when it comes to apps, camera, size, and screen quality. Security is what sets Apple apart. Since Apple is responsible for the hardware, operating system, and app store, it has a lot more control over the device. A lot of techies don't like Apple's control and prefer Android instead. The problem is that phone manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, etc. are not required by Google to offer the latest version of Android for their phones. That means there are a lot of security updates that never make it to users.

Android owns 80% of the market share for smartphones. That means they are the big target for hackers and virus developers. Hackers like to target Android hardware manufacturers that don't keep up with security patches.

I was at an insurance industry conference listening to a speaker about corporate security, and one of the audience members asked if there was a safe way to open an email. The speaker responded, "On an iPhone or iPad."

There is one other reason I have stuck with Apple, and it is a big one. I have a lot of apps, songs, movies, and TV shows that I purchased on iTunes. It would be expensive to switch.

My final reason for sticking with Apple is that they keep coming out with new devices and upgrades to iOS that I like.

I'm amazed how many Android users hate Apple and think using an iPhone makes you an idiot. However, I rarely here Apple users ranting about Android. Choosing your phone and tablet platform is not a moral issue, nor an intelligence issue. It is a matter of personal preference. Don't let anyone tell you differently. If you think everything I said above is rubbish, go buy an Android phone. I really don't care.

Amazon Echo

I was an early adopter of the Amazon Echo. I find it fun and useful, and I probably don't use it nearly as much as I could. The Echo has an excellent voice-controlled personal digital assistant called Alexa. Much like Siri, you can ask it almost anything. It will give you sports scores, the weather, news, jokes, etc. My wife loves it as a hands-free timer. While she is cooking, she can simply say, "Alexa. Set a timer for 10 minutes." Later, she can ask, "Alexa. How many minutes are left on the timer?"

The original Echo is an average bluetooth speaker. The second generation is supposed to sound much better. Alternatively, you can purchase a Sonos One which is a wireless Sonos speaker with Alexa built in. However, the reviews are not that great on the Sonos One. You might wait for them to update the firmware. The reviews say that the sound is excellent, but the Alexa integration is not very good. A better option might be to add an Echo Dot to a speaker like the Bose Soundlink Mini. The Echo Dot is just a smaller version of the original Echo.

Alexa has excellent skills. "You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only like guys who have great skills." Ok, Napoleon, it probably doesn't have any of those skills. Skills on an Echo are basically apps that let you interact with your world. My Echo can control the thermostats in my house, order an Uber, or order Domionos pizza. The list goes on an on.

Topical Memory System

I learned how to memorize Scripture from a Navigator who discipled me. He taught me using the Topical Memory System.

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