Some Favorite Tools and Gadgets

The new year is a list making time of year.  I’ve got nothing much to say right now, so I’ll join in with a “products I can’t live without” type list to pass the time.  This is a list of software and gadgets that I like and use often, complete with affiliate links so I can shill for some extra pocket money. 🙂

  • WordPress and — I, of course, use WP all the time.  I make a living off of it.  It also happens to be totally badass.  I’m not saying that just because I wrote so much of it, honest.
  • Gmail — I’ve been using it full time for a couple of years now.  I am one of those who loves the conversation grouping. It’s a killer feature for me. With the inclusion of IMAP support, Gmail is now my hands down favorite web mail client.
  • Google Reader — It wasn’t so great at first, but now it is far-and-away my favorite feed reader.  The scroll tracking plus the keyboard shortcuts make running through feeds fast and easy.
  • Kindle — I’ve read over 50 books on my Kindle, and I love it.  It has its design flaws, for sure, but the over-the-air browsing and buying make the Kindle a killer device.  I used to keep over a thousand books in the house. I donated them all to the local library and now buy only electronic editions.  The convenience and efficiency of foregoing paper has won me over.  The DRM most publishers insist on is annoying, however. You have to be prepared the treat the cost of the book as a lease rather than an outright buy and sharing can be a pain.
  • iPhone 3G — Finally a phone I actually enjoy using.  The iPhone shows that phones don’t have to have horrible UI and that the mobile web doesn’t have to suck.  Kinetic scrolling is a beautiful thing.
  • —  A big chunk of my paycheck has been going to Amazon for over a decade.  From books, music, and electronics to toilet paper, I get it at Amazon.
  • Apple TV — The addition of movie rentals made this a great little media center.  It’s handy if you have kids who like to watch the same shows over and over.  Ours has played every episode of the Backyardigans approximately 3 bazillion times.  Setup a playlist and hypnotize the little ones while you have your own time out.
  • Skype — Sometime over the past year, Skype chat became a preferred means of collaboration for many of the people I work with.  It’s also great for doing video calls with family.  The kids get to see grandma and grandpa every week.
  • Facebook — I can’t say I really like Facebook.  It’s certainly more bearable now that the apps have been reigned in a bit and the design cleaned up.  What’s finally made it useful for me is that a critical mass of my actual friends and family are now on it.  Facebook has gone mainstream enough and garnered enough network effect to finally get me logging in more than once a month.
  • Logitech MX Revolution — The best mouse out there.  Kinetic scrolling. Enough said.
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard — Currently my favorite keyboard.  It’s elegant and usable.  It’s as good as the Mighty Mouse is bad, and the Mighty Mouse is really bad.
  • Flickr — A long time favorite.  Pictures of the kids go here.
  • Boxee — Great for streaming Hulu, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, etc. to your TV or computer.  Between this and the Apple TV, we don’t bother with cable anymore.
  • 1Password — A great password manager and form filler.  The iPhone app is especially handy.
  • JungleDisk — Painless backups to Amazon S3.
  • Nikon D90 — A sweet little DLSR.

5 thoughts on “Some Favorite Tools and Gadgets

  1. Out of curiosity; if you wouldn’t be able to buy directly from the Kindle but would have to go about it the “old fashioned” way (web site, buy, download, etc.) — would it still give you as much joy?

    Then, if so, wouldn’t a Pocket PC or so do?

    (Of course I just one a Kindle because it’s a major cool gadget thingie. Being in Canada, that is without access to Kindle’s network, it’s a bit of a non starter. Still….)

  2. Wow. We use a lot of the same stuff. I don’t use Google Reader (but thinking about it), Kindle (waiting for v2), Apple TV (Xbox 360 takes care of this), Boxee (just recently became aware), or 1Password (I use a special substr(hash(hash(master_pw) + hash( solution for passwords). And I use a D700 instead of a D90. But I use all the rest.

    I love the MX Revolution so much that I have two — one still in the box, in case Logitech decides to stop making it. The scroll wheel is the killer feature, but I also find it very ergonomic. And I have all the extra buttons and the thumb wheel tied to various other functions using the absolutely essential SteerMouse driver for Mac OS X.

    You’ve inspired me… I’ve been meaning to do one of these posts for while.

  3. Wow! I must have some psychic connection with both you and Mark. I have most of the same tools, though I won’t yet trade my Palm with the TBr (Tiny Book Reader), which I compared to Matt’s Kindle recently and it still wins hands down. Just holding my breath until Palm gets its act together or TBr is available for iPhone or something else.

    But Mark has me thinking I need to get another two or three Logitech MX Revolution mouses. I cannot live without mine and went through massive withdrawal when I misplaced the proprietary USB dongle. Not something you can easily replace or find an alternative. Every time I sit down at another mouse, I want to scream at the inefficiency!

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