It’s that time of year again! This has quickly become my favorite post to write, because it lets me reflect on the year and think about all of the good things I’ve enjoyed. Last year I started a new blog over on Medium, mostly to test out the platform. I think I came in shy of a post per month, so I’ll likely move those posts over here. The reason I’m mentioning that is because just like last year, I’ll have a more long-form reflective post for 2017. But for now, onto the favorites!
Gadget: Nintendo Switch. Whaat! I got so much great tech this year. I got the iPhone X, an iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, an Apple Watch, and a whole new recording setup (post coming soon on that). But oh man. The Nintendo Switch is my favorite this year because it made me feel like I was playing video games from my childhood. Super Mario Odyssey feels like an old school Mario game, and Zelda: Breath of the Wind was incredible. The games don’t require super long time commitments or super deep knowledge of everything (though, you certainly have the option to explore). And best of all, I don’t have to wait an hour for updates every time I want to play. It’s such a great system, and I feel like it’s made for people like me (30s, newish dad, works).
Honorable Mention: iPhone X, iPad Pro. This year is the year these devices (especially the iPad) became the devices I’d always wished for.
App/Website: Ulysses. It’s a late comer (discovered it about 2 weeks ago) but it has quickly become my favorite app. One of my goals when I got the iPad Pro was to use it to replace my laptop as my primary travel device. That means I’d be doing a lot of writing and other non-code, non-editing work on the road. All the boils down to writing, and Ulysses is such a great app for that. I haven’t had to touch a Word Processor because of its excellent export features (Doc and PDF), and it even exports to WordPress. This post is being written in Ulysses. That, combined with the great syncing, saving, and shortcuts makes it the perfect writing app for me.
Honorable Mention: CARROT for weather, and Overcast for Podcasts. I found (or rediscovered) both through Club MacStories, which has been a pretty good $5/month to spend. If you use Mac/iOS, I strongly recommend it if you want to get the most out of your devices.
Thing I Learned: Beginner Audio Engineering. Again, a coding language doesn’t make the cut because I didn’t really learn one. I played with CSS Grid, which has been great fun, but I made a big pivot this year. I left my full-time coding job to product content full time. 6 months in, and I’m a full blown audiophile, obsessed with audio quality and using both hardware and software to make it sound good. I got a new pre-amp this month and there are so many settings. I’ve been experimenting and will continue to further in 2018.
Honorable Mention: CaboPress. I learned so much at CaboPress – things I absolutely needed to learn to make it as a product business.
Book: Profit First. I read a lot of great books this year, but this one has been the most transformative. It has truly helped me better manage the finances for my business. When I went full-time, it made sure I was paying myself and saving for taxes (and fun!), and it made sure I wasn’t spending too much.
Honorable Mention: Essentialism. This book, recommended by my friend Cory Miller, has a great philosophy on saying no to the things that don’t make you happy, both personally and professionally. This book as also helped me stay the course on my own work, and not fall prey to “shiny object syndrome.”
TV Show: Guys. I think you should know this by now. I’m pretty bad at watching TV shows. I get lots of great recommendations. Stranger Things, Black Mirror, West World. But I choose to watch none of them. The newest TV I watched this year was the latest season of Game of Thrones. So that wins. Maybe next year.
Music: The Airborne Toxic Event My favorite feature of Spotify is their year-end wrap up, where they give you your listening stats. Of-course, it showed me that I continue to remain consistent is what I listen to most. I nice mix of rock and relaxing music. This year, I did rediscover a band I’ve only listened to causally in the past: The Airborne Toxic Event. My brother-in-law mentioned them in passing on New Years Eve 2016 and I decided to give them a better listen this year. Man – I forgot how much I enjoyed them.
Movie: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Please. Save your disagreements. You’re wrong.
Podcast: Connected by Relay.FM. I honestly thought it would be Crimetown, which my wife and I were able to enjoy together. But recently I discovered Connected, a great gadget podcast by Relay.fm that keeps me updated on news, apps, and uses for my devices. I feel like this podcast helps me get more bang for my buck out of my iPhone X, iPad, and more.