Gadgets Of My Year


Tis the season for year end countdowns, there are lists all over the web.

Top apps of the year.  Top google searches of the year.  Top facebook status of the year.  Top grossing movies, best selling albums .. you get the idea.

Instead of another ‘best of’ list, here’s a simple summary of the gear I added to my library this year.

iPad
Is it a life changer?  No, but it certainly has made life around my house easier.  The only thing to distract my 3 yr old son from it was the garbage truck he got for Christmas.  My wife loves it to read the paper in bed.  I barely get to use it, but when I do I appreciate the elegance of Flipboard, the simplicity of Instapaper and the sleek portability of a content consuming device to have anywhere in the house.

Panasonic FZ 35
I’m not a camera guy.  I like to think I have a good eye, but I never remember what the difference is between f-stop and shutter speed and apperture. Thats why I like the Panasonic’s intelligent auto mode.  I can worry about cool ways to frame my image, the camera can worry about how to
take it. However, if i ever want to learn how to manually adjust things, there’s enough control to get me into trouble.

overview_herobox_20101020.pngiLife ’11
I upgraded my Macbook to Snow Leopard and iLife 11 this fall.  The Snow Leopard upgrade is basically an engine tune-up.  I didnt notice anything remarkable in the new OS, other than it gives me the ability to run more things (like iLife 11).

I’m an iLife fan.  Not necessarily in the way that iPhoto takes and hides your photos in pockets around your hard drive, but I appreciate the tweaks I can do to photos with just a few clicks.  It takes the highlights from Photoshop and gives you enough to get creative without overwhelming.  The new iLife configurations take some getting used to, but are just as great as before.

Flip Ultra HD
I love shooting video of my kids.  I have some 25 gigs of 60 – 90 second movies of swimming lessons, cake decorating, crawling and laughing.  Any chance I get to capture a slice of life, I take it and the Flip makes it easy.  Sure you can shoot video on a digital camera, but I like keeping my formats compartementalized.  The Flip video is easy to dump and edit and the upgrades to the 4th edition of the Ultra HD make the picture crisper and the sound brighter.

Tomtom Go 2505TM
We’ve swapped our Garmin for the Tomtom.  The upgradable maps and detailed layout is a winner with my wife and I.  My initial review complained of some settings issues which are easily solved if you just dig into the settings of the device (not easily found, to be sure).

apple-tv-4.jpgApple TV
A full review of the Apple TV is forthcoming, but let me just summarize by saying I love it and now need to get one for every tv in the house.  I know that the idea of a media centre is nothing new in the world of computers and television, but when you fully integrate your experience through Apple’s devices the magic it can create is instant.

HP G62-219
I suppose I should add my wife’s new laptop to the arsenal as well.  Her desktop has been sputtering of late and she was in dire need of an upgrade.  She doesnt necessarily need the mobility of a laptop, but we liked having the option.  I’ve set the system up on her desktop using her existing keyboard and mouse as externals so she has the look and feel of her old desktop with the horsepower of the new system.  I like Tris’ breakdown of setting up a new PC for others.  I haven’t had the same sort of issues in getting my wife up and running but I must be turning into a Mac guy because Windows 7 wasn’t my idea.

What toys did you bring into the fold this year? Got any favourites?

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.

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