Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009: What I bought this year

Following Tony Vincent's lead, I decided to share my most interesting purchases of 2009.

Here they are, in as chronological of an order as I can get them. (The links sometimes link to the exact model I purchased or, if it is no longer available, to the most current version.)

MSI Wind U100 netbook
This netbook was one of the first to have n networking, a 6-cell battery, and Bluetooth. I purchased the pink Valentine's edition with Windows XPH, and, later in the year, turned it into a netbook running another popular operating system!

Samsung HZ10W 10 megapixel digital camera
This digital camera has a great lens, a 24-240mm optical zoom lens, and was very reasonably priced as the HZ15W was released. Oftentimes, I wait until new models that are not so very different to come out, and pick up the current model at a substantial savings.

Kindle 2
I loved my first Kindle, and really love the new Kindle 2! Electronic books are wonderful, and the Kindle is easy on the eyes, easy to operate, and fun to use!

MacCase Flight Jacket Laptop Case
This leather laptop case is pricey, but I managed to find one in the vintage brown on eBay for very cheaply. I only take it out when the weather is nice, but it is beautiful!

Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station Dual Band

Since we basically have the house o'Macs now, and n networking on everything, I opted to get the AirPort Extreme for the head of the network. However, our weather station server only has g networking and it co-exists quite nicely because of the dual band. It has worked flawlessly and has the added bonus of letting me access items stored on the data side when I am on the road.

Apple AirPort Express
I purchased three of these over the course of the year. The first two were purchased to extend the AirPort Extreme network to various areas of the house, which allowed me to roam far into the yard to work this past summer! The third one was purchased to carry with me on the road to allow, in some conference situations and hotel rooms, the ability to both be wireless and also allow others to share the connection.

Slingbox Solo
The Slingbox is one very cool invention. It attaches between your DVR and your wireless network to allow you to access, via a client on a computer or the iPhone, your DVR at home from wherever you are! You can watch live TV or your saved Days of Our Lives recordings (or any recording on the DVR). There is no monthly subscription charge or anything and it works like a charm!

Altec Lansing Orbit Portable Speaker
This little speaker is small and light, but produces a large sound. It works well in a classroom setting or a presentation room with about 75 chairs. The audio cable is rather short, so it has to sit next to your computer, but it is a great addition to your tech toolbox!

Scosche passPort Charging Adapter
This little adapter allows most Firewire iPod accessories to work with the newer USB-based devices like the iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G, and the iPhone 3G/3GS. This little adapter was the lifesaver to allow the Firewire iPod connection in my new Nissan Cube to work with my iPhone 3GS. The iPod part of the phone is controllable directly from the radio now! I know that others have had luck with older iHome radios and such working with their new devices with the addtion of the passPort charging adapter.

EyeFi Share Video Wi-Fi SD card
This SD card automatically uploads, while the card is still in your camera or camcorder, your photos or videos to your favorite photo-sharing, social networking, or blog site when you are in a wireless environment. I found it a bit disconcerting to automatically send everything as it is taken, so now chose to manually send only the things I want to be shown online.

iPhone 3Gs
What can I say? Best. Piece. of. Hardware. Ever.

MacbookPro 13.3”
I love the backlit keyboard, the SD slot, and everything about this laptop. I received it before Snow Leopard and Windows 7 were out, but upgraded immediately to both new operating systems and iLife 09 as soon as the all became available. I run Windows under Bootcamp, since I need to have access to all the processing power and RAM for some of the graphics and video-intensive apps I run on the Windows side.

Western Digital MyBook External 1TB Firewire Hard Drive

The link leads to the newer model of the one that I have, but this drive is rock solid for backup use on the Mac in conjunction with Time Machine.

Kodak Zi6 Pocket Camcorder
I purchased this at Radio Shack as they were getting ready to put the newer model on the shelf. It has an SD card slot and shoots in 720p HD. This camera has a following, as does the Flip Mino HD, and both groups are vocal on the best features of each. You can decide for yourself. (I have the Zi6 HD and the Flip Ultra 2, so I cannot compare the capabilities of each since one is HD and one is not.)

Wacom Bamboo Touch
I was very excited when the Wacom Bamboo Touch was released. I purchased it right away to see if I could replace my trackballs with it, and use it as an external touchpad on my computers. I also wanted to experiment with some of the neat features it added on both the Mac and Windows sides of my machine. It was not as smooth to use as I hoped it would be, so I wound up returning it. Soon after, the Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet was released, and, since I already had a Wacom pen tablet, I did not purchase that one. I cannot speak to how well it works, but, it is really useful to have a small pen-based tablet available and, with the added bonus of touch, it probably would meet the needs of most occasional users. And Wacom products are well-made and often come bundled with some very useful software.

Dymo Label Writer 400 Duo
This model is still available new, but is at a very nice price point right now. If you have never had a Dymo Label Writer, you would be impressed with the speed, the ease of use, and the ability to print stamps and labels effortlessly. This model takes two types of tapes, so is extra useful!

Chumby One
With the release of the new version of this "desktop appliance", I took the plunge and purchased it. With over 1500 widgets to install, the inclusion of a faster processor, FM radio, streaming radio, and a simple network set-up, this little device is fun to have around! I wrote a blog post about my first impressions.

Cocoon Laptop Case
I was sold on the Cocoon Innovation products as soon as I saw their GRID-IT! organizers, which are sold separately and also come with the laptop cases. I purchased the hard-sided case, and, even though it is intended for a 15.4" laptop, the 13.3" MBP is held sturdily and the power cords fit nicely next to it. The GRID-IT! panel holds all the accessories for the laptop and is just so organized!

Canon Vixia HD Camcoder HF20

I did a lot of research before deciding what HD camcorder to purchase. I wanted one with flash internal memory (this one has 32gb) and it also has the ability to also hold up to a 32gb SD card, too. The features on this camera are varied, well-thought out, and it is fun to use. It is easy to get the video off of the camera and onto the computer for editing.

We are not huge movie-watchers in our house, but, with the ability to stream over 17,000 Netflix titles to one's computer, with the one-DVD at a time, unlimited account, I took the plunge. In addition, I am waiting patiently for my Samsung Blu-ray BD-P3600 player to arrive, since it streams Netflix right to the television! The Samsung comes with built-in wireless (and wired) access and also streams Pandora Radio and YouTube. Of course, it also plays DVDs and Blu-ray disks.

Well, the year is almost over, so this list is probably complete. I am looking forward next year to the possibility of an Apple Tablet of some sort as an bridge device between the iPhone and the laptop. Time will tell! Please feel free to share your opinions on any of these devices or share your favorite purchases of 2009.

Happy Holidays and New Year to all!