Hey it’s my favorite time of year! With this post I’ve now been doing “Favorites” post for 5 years, which is neat. At this point I have a good process down and I’ve been keeping notes so as to not fall victim to recency bias. Huzzah! Let’s get to it.
Gadget: The SwitchPod. I cannot say enough great things about this device. A super portable tripod and selfie stick of sort, this has come with me on trips when I need it, and is a main stay in my office for recording talking head videos.
Honorable Mention has 2 devices: the Apple Watch Series 5, which has been a fantastic upgrade from my Series 3, and the AirPods Pro, which have become the only headphones I bring with me on trips now.
App: GoodNotes. I thought I was happy with my notes taking app. Then I saw a bunch of buzz for GoodNotes and decided to try it out. And oh my god it’s so much better. Just the fact that highlighting doesn’t make the text dimmer (the opposite of what highlighting is supposed to do) is a huge plus for me. But their handwriting recognition is amazing, and I’ve been using it for everything from sketching to meeting notes, and hashing out bigger ideas.
No honorable mentions here. GoodNotes won by a mile.
Thing I Learned: AMP’d Up Podcasting. I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t sure I’d get enough value from a $1,000 course, even at the discounted price. But I trust Pat Flynn and decided to give it a try. Boy was I wrong. I learned a TON that I immediately started applying to my show. Season 8 of the podcast is going to be a lot clearer, focused, and intentional. And I have this course to thank for it.
Honorable mention: The Importance of Story Telling. This was a strong theme that kept coming up throughout the year. I read Building a StoryBrand, and it was a central theme at CaboPress. It helped reshape my copy and thought process for copy.
Book: Educated by Tara Westover. I read a lot of books this year (27, out of an initial goal of 18), so there was potential for stiff competition. And while I really liked many of the books I read this year, Educated stood out as a fantastic work I couldn’t put down. The combination of it being non-fiction, while feeling like fiction, while working in events from my own lifetime, made it captivating.
Honorable Mention: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. In the same vein as Educated, this very real story reads like fiction. I couldn’t stop listening to the audio book, which kept me company on a 10 hour round-trip drive over the summer.
TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale. There was a lot of good new TV this year too. With the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+, there was bound to me. But this year was the year my wife and I decided to binge The Handmaid’s Tale until we caught up to the normal release, and we could not wait for each episode to be released. What a crazy, drama-filled, emotion-inducing, well written show. We love it.
Honorable Mention: The Mandalorian. Naturally. I’ve been excited for this show since it was announced. It’s fun to see a side of the Star Wars universe that doesn’t involve light sabers. And I general love John Favreau’s work. The only reason The Handmaid’s Tale beat it was that it consumed my thoughts a lot more than the Mando did. I didn’t need to watch the moment it dropped on Friday – and generally waited until Saturday (except for the last episode, which I watched as soon as I could).
Aside: In last year’s favorites post I said, “But I do want to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, and the last season of Game of Thrones in 2019. I think we all know what will be my favorite.” This comment did not age well.
Music: blink-182. Here’s the thing. I usually defer to Spotify’s Wrapped for whatever my music of the year was. But this year, I was a house divided. Over the summer, when I started going to the gym more regularly, I became an Apple Music subscriber. And for a time, I decided to use that exclusively. Even now, with the HomePod, I’m splitting time between both services. So I’m going to make a judgement call here and call blink-182 my music of the year. Their new album, Nine, is amazing. There’s not a bad song on it and it feels like the blink of my teenage years. SO it’s them. As it turns out, according to Spotify they were also my artist of the decade. This should surprise no one.
Movie: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Speaking of things that should surprise no one. I actually saw more movies than usual this year. At least more than usual since my daughter was born. That include Endgame, Mary Poppins Returns (at 2018 movie) and others. But you should really know by now what will be my favorite in a Star Wars year. I still stand by my comments about The Last Jedi.
Podcast: Upgrade. This one was tough because I started listening to a few new podcasts, including my honorable mention. But Upgrade is a podcast that I cannot wait to listen to, and hit play as soon as it shows up in Overcast. Special shout out to Jason and Myke specifically for their Upstream segment, where they talk about streaming services (all of them, not just Apple’s). I feel like they’ve kept me more informed about streaming news that anything else I read or listen to.
Honorable Mention: Mac Power Users. I probably should have started listening to this sooner, but I honestly liked when Stephen Hackett joined. I always like his Mac thoughts on Connected, and I know him joining MPU meant more. Plus, David Sparks may have influenced my digital/workflow life more than any single individual.
Wrapping Up 2019
In accordance with my 2019 Yearly Theme, I consumed a ton of new content this year. I read more books in 12 months than I have maybe ever, I watched a few new TV shows (up from 1 in the last 2 years combined), saw more movies, etc. So there was good competition. I’ll probably scale back on the number of books, though I am trying to listen to more audio books, so we’ll see.
That said, there’s lots of new TV I want to watch (including an Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+), and my wife and I are going to try to do more date nights this year…at least until July.