Toolbox Essentials Redux

I posted my original Toolbox Essentials post last March – almost a year ago now!  I thought it was time to a little bit of an update.  So, here we go.

Macbook Pro 13″

This one still headlines and dominates the top spot.  Unsurprising really.  This is still, very much, the Apple of my eye.  See what I did there?  I am currently running the most recent version of OS X Lion, and I will update as soon as Mountain Lion is released.  The MBP I am currently using is a different machine to the one I posted about a year ago.  I got a newer model with slightly more RAM, bigger hard drive, faster processor, etc., and Cassie, my long-suffering wife got the hand-me-down.  I would suggest that the situation isn’t too bad for her either.  Same information on this as last time really.  I love the machine.  I love how multi-functional it is whilst being so light and transportable.  I take it everywhere with me.  Work, study, and home.  It is rarely further than 10 paces away from me.  Same complaint/jealously: I’d like a little more screen real-estate at times.  Those times when i’m working on what feels like 563 different documents and PDF’s it would be lovely to not have to be constantly scrolling through endless windows.  However, this is not a major complaint.  Indeed, I chose to stick with the 13″ model because I like the portability of it more than the larger models.  I have 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive.

iPhone 4S

I think really this one should be first on the list.  I love my iPhone.  It’s probably the only phone where I have yet to have a serious and almost irrepressible urge to embed it into the wall.  I could probably run the world from an iPhone if I had to.  One thing, and one thing only, is the battery life.  I think I probably use mine a little bit more than the average person in the course of a regular day, but I need to put my phone on charge during the day for an hour or so if possible, and sometimes again in the evenings – and that is with the brightness at half!  My carrier is Three and I must say they have more than impressed me time and time again.  Apart from the fact that I get unlimited data (thank-you!!) the customer service is great, the reception is better than I have ever experienced and they genuinely value your custom.  I have been with all the major carriers in the UK (Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2) and each one of them, with the exception of Vodafone has managed a screw-up of monumental proportions at some stage.  The long and short of it is, if Three continue with the levels of service I am currently experiencing they will continue to have my business.  I have 7 email accounts linked to my iPhone, 4 twitter accounts and multiple Facebook pages and the iPhone allows me to manage them on the go.

iPhone’s native calendar app could use a little bit of work in my opinion, but there are numerous workarounds, as Apple say ‘There’s an app for that’.  I won’t go into detail about apps etc at the moment.  In fact, I’ll do a separate post on that tomorrow.  But, suffice to say, the iPhone allows me to work, play, conduct business, email, consume media, listen to music and even makes phone-calls.  I have the 16GB Black iPhone 4s.  The camera on this little bad boy is amazing.  Like truly stunning.  Check out my Flickr, all the photos there were taken on either the iPhone 4 (pre-upgrade) or the iPhone 4S (post-upgrade) camera.

iPad 2

My trusty companion.  When I first got an iPad I was in awe, but I wasn’t entirely sure what I would use/need it for, now I can’t imagine not having one.  It truly is a beautiful piece of machinery.  It compensates for the lack of real estate on the MBP as I can use this as a supplement and bring docs/news/papers etc. up and read them off of this.  I consume a lot of news through the iPad and use the Twitter app quite regularly.  It is very useful for when you’re rushing out the door to a meeting or conference and don’t want to bring your laptop, or your not sure if having a laptop would be overkill.  I use my iPad everyday.  Without fail.  I have the 16GB, wi-fi only model and it serves me well.


I bought this briefcase on eBay for not a lot of money – less than £20 and I love it.  I wanted something vintage, old-school and badass and this fits the bill.  Again, like all the items in this list, I use it everyday.  It’s incredibly durable, incredibly spacious and a real lifesaver.  I’ve managed to fit in my laptop and charger, my iPad, 2 notebooks and 10 library books that took it to capacity.  So it’s incredibly helpful for transporting a lot of stuff.  This is necessary for a PhD student.


Yep.  I am a convert.  I’ve been hearing people rant and rave about Moleskins for years now, but I’ve never owned one.  I do love notebooks, I have about 4/5 different ones that I carry around with me at all times for different things/project right now.  However, someone bought me a Moleskin this Christmas and I fell in love.  It truly is a remarkably beautiful notebooks, well crafted, simple and a pleasure to use.  I think I’ll always have at least one of these in active use from now on.  I own a plain-jane, bog standard black one.


I use the standard Apple earphones that came with my iPhone.  Working in an open plan office these are a must.  Riding public transport these are a must.  Sitting in a library these are a must.  You get the picture.  I would like to get some on-ear headphones an upgrade as I don’t really like in-ear earphones.  But, they’re great for now.

Now that I have  all of my Apple devices as you can imagine Apps are a big part of my life.  Tune in tomorrow for a look at what apps I use most, what apps I recommend, and what apps I couldn’t live without.

What can you not live without?  What’s in your toolbox?


3 thoughts on “Toolbox Essentials Redux

  1. […] jonny mccormick …navigating change… Skip to content HomeAboutArchivesContactInformation ← Toolbox Essentials Redux […]

  2. Alex Pryce says:

    Jonny – as I said last year – surely an external hard drive for backing up is also an essential?! You make me fearful!

  3. Alex, I think I am going to be a disappointment for you in the external hard drive arena from now on. I am a total cloud convert. Most of my documents now live there. I have DropBox and iCloud where I have backed up all my business info and PhD work. I’ve even managed to configure (who knows how?) that every time I log onto a QUB computer it drags things from my DropBox PhD folder and makes a local copy onto my QUB hard disk. I also have a USB pen with QUB work exclusively on it. I think I’m covered without an external hard drive in sight?

    In fact, historically speaking, I’ve found them to be totally unreliable. I’ve had 2 external hard drives (both decent makes and good sizes) completely fail on me in the past…

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