What do you use your computer / phone for?

Inspired by the conversation on [URL=“http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=761665”]this thread.

What do you use your computer and/or smartphone for? Do you mostly use a web browser and/or specialized apps that are just customized front ends to a given web site (e.g., YouTube app for iPhone)? Do you make use of 20 or 30 different applications encompassing both business office and creativity functionality? Are you a gamer or otherwise have computer programs that exist only to entertain you?

Computer at Home: Largely web browsing and gaming. Some occasional “work” like filing my taxes, paying bills, etc. Email, of course. On semi-rare occasions, I use Paintshop Pro for some low grade image manipulation.

Computer at Work: Lots of Excel, writing work related emails, printing off bunches of PDFs. FTP transfers. Some, erm, non-work related web browsing.

Phone/Tablet: Light web browsing, emails, reading web comics, playing light games, Twitter. Rarely, GPS.

Most of what I do is handled via web browser or associated “portal” apps. Beyond that, Excel, several PDF readers (amazing how often Adobe craps out), an FTP client, Paintshop Pro, a few others.

Phone - Reading/Kindle, email, text, phone, GPS, rarely games.
Home Computer - Internet/browsing, email, purchases, bill pay, rarely games.
Work Computer - Too much to list.

Two out of that entire list; and several I had to Google before answering. Oh my God, I really AM old! :slight_smile:

I was a bit surprised by how comprehensive the list was. 32 options. I have 24 of them checked. Most of them only have very limited use though - for instance, I have Seatools to check on my hard drive if I think there’s an issue but I use it maybe once a year. What I use the vast majority of the time is design/illustration software, notepad, games, web sites, and video/music playback. The last time I’ve used my CD burner was last year or something, but hey, I’ve got Nero and I am prepared to use it so that counts, eh?

For my desktop workstation, pretty much all of them, with maybe half being very minor uses. Maybe ten are daily/essential.

Phone: light browsing and lookup, games. A little bit of talk, text, IM.

Yeah, I rarely burn DVDs but I have done it. I very rarely edit music, but I have done it (nice to clip ridiculously long intros or exits). I’ve installed a couple free fonts but wouldn’t consider it a real “use” of the computer for me. But I checked stuff 'cause it’s stuff I theoretically do.

I don’t have a smart phone. I use my computer to surf, play games (solitaire, scrabble, like that) edit photos, email, spreadsheet to manage our budget, word processor for miscellaneous stuff, storage of recipes, bill-paying, research, shopping - you know, the usual computer stuff. I don’t do video or audio chat or any interactive stuff beyond the message board or FB.

It’s a tool and a toy and an occasional time suck.

The answer is “yes”.

Home computer: design work, controlling special hardware, lots of programs for both of those categories. Browser for looking up data and “entertainment” (reading cracked, sdmb, news). Office and business stuff. No games except solitaire.

Phone: communication (email, text, phone), some business apps, lots of weather apps, a little entertainment when I’m bored (tapatalk for forums, a news app, The Chive app). I hate using mobile browsers so I do have a lot of apps to access websites like Amazon, but I don’t do any social media. Yahtzee and sudoku are my only games.

Laptop: mobile version of most of the above.

4 tablets. 3 are pretty much for my daughter’s entertainment, one for school. We had one, got another for free, then she got one for Christmas then her school gave all the students one. The three are loaded with games, Netflix, Hulu, etc.

I had to check them all, there are a lot more I do use as well. I started using computers in 1971, now at 63 I am an above average user and adequate developer.

Quibble: You left out the broad category of tools a software developer might use. e.g. IDE, code editor, compiler, debugger.

Beyond that not-available option I checked 17 of your squares for the things I use at least weekly.

Overall, that’s a nice list of apps aiming at mainstream folks who (mostly) aren’t techies. Bravo.

The tool I use most, the mathematics markup language TeX, was not on your list.

The list is missing four of my top “work” categories of software:

OneNote (as my lab notebook)
Various scientific image analysis software (e.g. ImageJ)
R with the Rstudio IDE for data analysis, statistics, and data visualization.
Mendeley as a reference library and citation manager.

My home computer hits most of those boxes. Font management is built into most desktop OS now, so the days of needing Suitcase are happily behind us. I can’t see 3D, so a 3D environment would be silly.

My phone is pretty basic - web browser and a couple games. Probably the most exotic thing on it is remote control for my home HVAC.

The work PC might as well be a 3270 terminal. Primary apps are a 3270 emulator, Word, Excel and Outlook.

I have 21 of the items checked. I do both leisure, personal, and work stuff from my phone as well as PC, and what I do on one, I do on the other. So everything checked I do on both.

Every one except for the font stuff.

But that’s just the lightweight software, really. The heavyweight stuff is my programming environment (Visual Studio, Eclipse) and 3D design programs (SolidWorks mostly). And of course all the programs I’ve written for my own use.

I didn’t count, but as a filmmaker/video editor/web designer/graphic designer, I checked off the vast majority of the options. The one that I had to think about for a moment though, was “CD/DVD Authoring”. I used to do this quite a bit, particularly DVD authoring. One of my proudest accomplishments (okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration) was building a rather complex DVD menu system with DVD Studio Pro for a collection of short films and mastering it to send off for professional duplication. But to be honest, with everything streaming these days, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I authored a DVD. So I left it unchecked.

Desktop: PC gaming
Laptop: Web browsing
Kindle: Reading or quick info stuff like weather forecast.
Phone: Talking to wife or responding to her text.
Gaming Tablet: retro games like platformers or shoot em ups. I also built an arcade cabinet that houses PC hardare and use it for …well arcade games.

I was never into doing stuff with photographs, making charts or planners or even print stuff. So Ive never done very much with them.

Phone: I have a stupidphone, so it doesn’t connect to the internet or text. It’s just a phone. It makes phone calls. Well, it also keeps a list of numbers and can function as a calculator (I use that) and calendar (which I don’t).

Kindle: mostly e-reader, but also webbrowser. I’m told I can do e-mail on it, but I have never tried it. Some video playback, and a bit of music on it. I have a calculator app and an address/phone book on it. Mostly I use it for reading.

Home Computer: games/entertainment, reading, text, HTML editor, music, video various applications from drawing programs to 3-D design and production software and most of what I checked off in the poll. I can look up my work schedule from home. On-line banking. E-mail. It’s really the bulk of my computer use.

Work Computer: Most days I don’t use a computer at work. Use of computers is very limited in my current job, and confined mostly to inventory apps and company e-mail/communications. I did recently fill out an expense report on the company system.