Favorites of 2013

It’s time for my annual Favorites of  the Year post. Much like 2012, 2013 was a great year. I saw a dream of mine come true by getting my second book, Responsive Design with WordPresspublished by PeachPit/New Riders. They’ve published most of the books that I read to learn about web design/development, so it’s a real honor to have my work published through them. And of-course, there’s all of the tech and media of the year. Here are my favorites.

 Tech Favorites

Gadget: Disney’s Magic Band. I wrote at length about this in yesterday’s post, but I truly feel this is revolutionary. The band lets you do everything from access your hotel room and parks, to save photos and charge to your account. I see really big plans for this, including rides/characters learning who you are (name/birthday), as well as it expanding to other markets, like movie theaters, grocery stores, or anywhere that has a loyalty card and accepts payments.

App: DashClock WidgetThe best part about Android is how customizable it is. Using widgets you can make your home screens your own, displaying whatever information you want on them. DashClock Widget takes this one step further, including a lot of notification-type information in one widget; you add add email count, text messages, phone call info, todo lists, weather, and much more. It’s clean, easy to use, and extensible.

Media Favorites

Book: Kenobi. Man I love Star Wars, and Obi Wan is my favorite character. This book takes place shortly after Episode III, as Obi Wan gets settled in on Tatooine. It goes through his struggles with trying to fade into the background and not draw attention to himself, as well as trying to communicate with his old master Qui Gon Jinn from beyond. If you like Star Wars, this is a must-read.

*A close runner-up is Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent series. Slow start, but ended with a bang.

TV Show: Doctor Who. After about a year or so of friends telling me I need to watch it, my friend Joe finally convinced me to make the jump. Over the Summer I started with the reboot (the 9th Doctor) and got hooked instantly. I’m a few episodes away from being all caught up and the show is great- it’s funny, it’s suspenseful, and the characters will suck you in. I absolutely love the show.

MovieGatsby. What a great movie. Leo DiCaprio was excellent, it was a fantastic adaptation, and it had me hooked from start to finish. As an added bonus, the soundtrack was fantastic.

*Following really close behind were Catching Fire and Frozen. Both were well done and I loved every minute of them. I would strongly recommend both. 

Music: The Catching Fire SoundtrackMaybe I missed something (or maybe I’m getting old) but I didn’t really like any album released by a band this year. Fall Out Boy’s was good but I didn’t listen to it too long. What I do listen to, over and over and over, is the soundtrack from Catching Fire. There are lots of great artists on it, including Cold Play and Imagine Dragons, and the songs are catchy, well written, and fit into the movie so well I can kind of see what parts they were written for.