Favorites of 2022

The end of the year is always a fun time for me to reflect on many things and look forward to what’s coming. 2022 is even more special because it’s the year I left web development to focus on podcasting full-time.

As part of that, I like to review my favorite tech and media from the past year. I’ve been doing it for 14 years! The only change this year: I’m no longer labeling the tech and media section. It used to be only tech, then half and half. Now it’s mostly non-tech.

Let’s get into it.

Gadget: The Kindle Scribe

I’ve started tracking my favorites throughout the year so I don’t fall victim to the recency effect. Despite that, the Kindle Scribe is my favorite gadget. I wrote up my thoughts a few weeks ago and still love it. It’s my go-to device for reading and notes now.

I event spent too much time trying to reliably get my RSS feeds on it. I’ve abandoned that.

Gadget Honorable Mentions

What made this category even harder was a lot of great tech came out this year. So here are a few of my honorable mentions:

It was a great (and expensive) year!

App: Raycast

Launchers, or Spotlight replacements, were all the rage in the mid-2000s, and I thought it was settled science for me: Alfred has been my go-to since the moment I discovered it.

Until now.

Raycast is 2022’s take on the Mac launcher, and it’s fantastic. It looks modern, has lots of extensions, and plenty of keyboard shortcuts.

The killer feature for me is the ability to search their “store” right from within the app — something you can’t do with Alfred. Installing and configuring extensions it a lot easier with Raycast, and that’s ultimately what sold me.

App Honorable Mentions

I know it didn’t come out this year, but I’ve been using Highball, a cocktail app, a lot lately as I’ve been experimenting with more mixed drinks. It’s so well designed and serves as a great log for my experiments.

There’s also Marvel SNAP, a game I’ve been obsessed with since learning about it. It’s a turn-based card game and super fun. I describe it as an easier (faster) version of Magic the Gathering.

Finally, Reader by Readwise just entered public beta and look super promising. There are a lot of things I love about it. I posted my initial thoughts here.

Enrichment: Brand Deal Wizard

This used to be “Thing I Learned,” but it was always too nebulous and uncertain. So I’ve decided to make it my “favorite thing I did to enrich myself.” Still workshopping the name.

The winner of this is Brand Deal Wizard, a cohort-based course by Justin Moore. It’s a 4-week program, and I had doubled the $3,000 investment before the end of the program.

It’s super valuable, whether you have never gotten a sponsor/brand deal, or (like me), most of your money comes from them.

Other Things I Learned

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention CaboPress. It’s something I feel like I mention every year but 2022 was legit the best one. I always feel energized after, and this year I decided to make a huge change based on conversations I had there.

And as I mentioned before, I’m experimenting with more cocktails. It’s a fun hobby and I’m learning a lot.

Book: Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte

I recognize this book might not be for everyone, but I like to capture a lot of ideas, and I feel like I do nothing with most of them. Cue Building a Second Brain. From my Goodreads review:

While I love capturing notes and have several ways to jot down (or dictate) ideas, this book has already had a profound impact on how I organize them. The PARA system is perfect for how I work, and my notes app, Craft, lends itself very well to linking notes among different areas.

Book Honorable Mentions

I managed to hit my Goodreads reading goal of 22 books, and liked most of what I read. I also consumed marginally more fiction. My favorite fiction book was Artemis1.

Brotherhood, a book about Obi-Wan and Anakin, also came out. But I can’t always make Star Wars stuff my favorite, right?

TV Show: House of the Dragon…and Obi-Wan Kenobi

Look. I know I picked two here, but my list my rules, right?

Let’s start with HotD. I was worried about this show because, well, we all know what happened to Game of Thrones. But I was hopeful because Bennioff and Weis weren’t involved at all. Then I learned that the book is basically hearsay history and the TV would be the canonical story, which is a super cool concept.

Suffice to say, it made for a great show and I cannot wait until Season 2 comes out.

Now…onto Obi-Wan Kenobi. From what I understand, Andor was better. I still need to watch that2. But Obi-Wan is my favorite character. Ewan McGregor is a gem. And I can’t get enough post-Revenge of the Sith stories.

I thought it was fantastic, and the final episode was very, very satisfying.

I don’t watch that much TV3, so no honorable mentions here.

Music: Coheed and Cambria Vaxis 2: A Window into the Waking Mind

There was no contest here. Coheed’s new album came out in June and I listened to it every day starting in July through October. It’s so, so, so good.

I love that all of their albums are concept albums, so along with actually enjoying the songs, I like to try and figure out what’s happening4.

If you haven’t listened to it, I strongly recommend you do. I was obsessed, and Apple Music Replay proves it.

Movie: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Last year I said it would probably be my favorite movie. I finally got around to watching it in March, and yes. It was indeed my favorite movie.

Runners-up include Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, the only other theatrical release I saw this year.

Maybe I’ll go to more movies in 2023.

Podcast: American Elections: Wicked Game

This absolutely bananas podcast by Wondery isn’t new, but it’s completely fascinating. It dramatically retells the story of every election in US history, providing historical context and the events leading up to the election.

It’s a really incredible look at what was most likely the American mindset during these crucial moments in US history.

It also taught me that at one point in history, nearly every president was shot or almost shot.


That’s 2022!

Great year for tech and TV. I still didn’t get to a movie theater. Maybe in 2023?

  1. Even though it was pretty obviously a guy writing what he wished a girl was like. ?
  2. I watched the first 2 episodes and was not into it. I’ll revisit. After all, the same thing happened with Wanadivision. ?
  3. New TV. I watch a lot TV shows I’ve already seen 1000 times. ?
  4. I need to read the comics they’re based on. ?

Favorites of 2021

I’ve been doing this post for 8 years now, and this year I was finally smart enough to keep a running list right from the beginning of the year. And I’m glad I did, because for some of my picks, I forgot they came out this year!

As a refresher, at the end of the year, I like to list my favorite technology pics (gadget, app, and thing I learned), as well as media pics (book, movie, music, TV show, and podcast). This year was especially good!

Technology Picks

Gadget: iPad Mini

This one was a no-brainer. As soon as Apple announced the new iPad Mini, I picked one up. It’s the perfect size for reading, watching videos, research, sketching, and note-taking. I wrote all about in back in October.

Since then, I’ve also created a great workflow for reading and taking notes with Quick Notes. It’s been by my side since the moment I got it, and love doing my morning routine and triage on it. It was also a great companion in the hospital after my daughter was born.

Honorable Mentions: Honestly nothing even comes close to the iPad Mini for me this year, but I did pick up some other cool gadgets. I’m enjoying my M1 MacBook Air, my Stream Deck continues to impress, and I love my Lutron Dimmer Switch; I plan to get more soon.

App: Craft

As Federico Viticci mentioned on AppStories, 2021 was a bit of a renaissance for note taking apps. It’s also the year I switched away from Evernote for all but one very frustrating thing. I also moved away from Bear Notes, which has been my favorite notes app for a few years.

Craft has been the perfect way for me to capture ideas, do long form writing, and work out content and plans. It’s perfect for me and the way I think. My only request: Zapier integration. Then I could leave Evernote forever.

Honorable Mentions: Todoist and Parcel. Both of these apps replaced what I thought were irreplaceable apps. Todoist is the final result in my multi-year sojourn for a task manager I actually use. Omnifocus was great but got too crowded. Things was fine, but too focused. Todoist is just right. The ability to add projects but only surface what I want to see, create sections and tagging, view Kanban boards, AND it has Zapier and Shortcuts integration.

Parcel is a delivery tracking app; it replaced Deliveries, an app I loved, and for one reason. Parcel automatically pulls in Amazon deliveries.

Thing I Learned: You can’t send too many emails.

To be honest, this topic is getting a little stretched these days. I came up with it when I was in my mid-late 20s, at a new job, constantly learning a new programming language or coding process. Now I’m learning in the open, and it’s mostly around running my business. Nothing felt concrete all year…until Black Friday. And it’s only loosely technology-based.

Over Black Friday I learned something every business owner needs to learn: you can’t send too many emails. I elaborate on this in my Black Friday Wrap podcast episode, but every email I sent (9 over a 5 day span, 10 over a 2 week span) lead to at least one sale.

Emailing your list is the best way to make money. So build it, and don’t be afraid to email them.

Honorable Mention: Skip the Grind and everything I learned there. From micro segments to product ladders, I gained a ton of actionable advice that changed the direction of several of my offering, as well as my podcast.

Media Picks

Book: Stop Asking Questions by Andrew Warner

This book is definitely helpful, and came at the right time: as I was working to update my podcast. Back in July, I released an updated trailer to better reflect the show’s mission. For 2022, I wanted to make big improvements to the format and the interviews.

Stop Asking Questions got me thinking differently not only about how I approach guests, but research, membership benefits, and more. If you do any interviews for your podcast, this book is a must.

Honorable Mentions: Honestly, I read a lot of great books this year, all of which you can find on my Goodreads profile. Some I’d recommend:

TV Show: Wandavision

The first TV show I watched in 2021 set the bar so high that even in TV’s new golden age, nothing dethroned it.

At first I thought it was weird and didn’t really get it. But after my brother Robby told me to get to episode 3, I was hooked. Like drop everything and watch as soon as I could hooked.

WandaVision set an incredible tone for Phase 4 of the MCU and and the mind-bending topics it’s going to tackle. The show was beautifully shot, and incredibly performed. I have not a bad thing to say about it.

Honorable Mention: Loki was a very close second. Tom Hiddleston is one of my favorite actors and Loki is such a great character that I was psyched to see him get his own series.

I also just finished my first viewing of Newsroom, and let me tell you: it’s better than West Wing, which I didn’t think was possible…especially watching it in 2021. The parallels are haunting.

Music: Lifeforms by Angels and Airwaves

As a guy who grew up in the 90s, and whose musical coming of age was 1999-2001, 2021 seemed like a resurgence of old school pop punk that saw people like Avril Lavigne make a big come back, and Machine Gun Kelly release a successful rock album1.

But as a huge fan of Blink 182 and early Angels and Airwaves, Lifeforms is a return to…well, form…for them. I love the album and basically had it on repeat for the month of October.

Aside: No honorable mentions here, but I switched away from Spotify for Apple Music this year, and I really miss Spotify Wrapped. The best thing I can say about Apple’s “Replay” is it exists.

Movie: Spiderman: No Way Home, Probably.

Look I’m just going to be straight up with you here: I intended to see No Way Home before the arrival of our 3rd child, but she came a few days early so I haven’t seen it yet.

But like…it’s going to be my favorite, right? How can it not be?

Honorable Mention: Otherwise, thanks to direct to streaming2, I got to watch several movies I probably otherwise wouldn’t have: In the Heights, Encanto, Luca, etc. As I write this, next up is Matrix: Resurrection.

Zooming out, I’m excited and hopeful to see this trend continue into 2022 and beyond. I’d be happy to pay a little extra for the ability to watch movies from home…especially now that we have a family of 5. The theater experience is a nice one for certain movies3, but the comforts of home, especially with small (and very small) children, are great.

Podcast: Downstream

I listened to a lot of new podcasts this year, but my favorite is a show that was spun of from my favorite Upgrade segment. It’s called Downstream, and in it, media data analyst Julia Alexander and media enthusiast and podcaster Jason Snell talk about streaming and TV trends, and I love it.

Honorable Mentions: Continuing my motif of Russian Spy stories, Spy Affair is a short run podcast about a Russian woman named Maria Butina, who wants to improve US-Russia relations and ends up being accused of spying on the US. SUPER interesting. Bad Blood: The Final Chapter recaps the Theranos story. As a member, you also get weekly coverage of the trial, which I was all about.

That’s a Wrap on 2021!

I definitely consumed more in 2021 than I did in recent years, and it shows. I’m happy with that pace and plan to continue it for 2022. Though hopefully I’ll actually get to a movie theater.

What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Travis Barker having a hand in both of those! ?
  2. Or going to streaming faster than usual. ?
  3. With as few people as possible because no one seems to have manners anymore ?

Favorites of 2020

This is my 7th Annual Favorites Post. At some point I guess I should starting the posts like that! If you’re new here, I like to recap my favorite tech and media picks for the past year. I try to have them come out close to the year they’re picked, but that’s not always the case. It might just be the year I consumed them, or the year they got popular, as you’ll see with my gadget pick! Let’s get to it.

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Favorites of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time for what’s become my favorite post of the year. I like looking back at the things I’ve invested in and spent time on. This year feels special to me because on top of it being my first full year in business, I spent a lot time automating processes and improving my workflows to be more productive. More on that in a different post, so for now, onto the favorites!

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Favorites of 2017

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!

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Favorites of 2016

It’s time for one of my favorite annual posts: my Favorites of the year. I usually start with some information on how my year went, but I had a lot more to say this year. I started a new blog with the first post being 2016 Sucked. But don’t worry – The title is tongue-in-cheek. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.

There’s one more caveat: for movie, I decided not to pick Rogue One. I loved it, but with a new Star Wars movie coming out every year I don’t see that selection being very diverse without the caveat. OK! Let’s get on with it.

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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.

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