LifeHacker is part of my Feedly stream, even though I often find myself at odds with many of their assertions or recommendations. However, a few weeks back they revisited a Top 10 list that I found myself liking a lot; Top 10 Superior Tech Products You’ll Never Go Back From. In fact, I am completely in agreement. It’s all good info, and largely unexpected.
10. A Quality Pair of Headphones
9. A Mechanical Keyboard
Yes, I can see this. It’s not something that I’ve purchased as yet, but a backlit mechanical keyboard is on my wish list. In fact, if you have a suggestion based upon your own experience please leave it in the comments.
8. Better Apps
Of course, who doesn’t want better apps?! In fact, I’ve been laggard in replacing the WEMO remote control app that came with the Belkin WEMO lighting starter kit I rather impulsively bought earlier this year. The LED light bulbs are fine, but their Android app is worthless! That’s a subject for another day, when I’m really in need of a rant. For now, I have the lights in question turning on/off on a schedule using a simple IFTTT script.
Earlier this year I switched to using SqueezeCtrl for Android to control our herd of Squeezeboxes. This offers a much better experience than Logitech’s own Squeezebox Controller, which it now seems won’t run on recent releases of Android.
7. A Solid-State Drive
Absolutely! Please see this earlier observation.
6. Voice Control
My experience with Android has been pretty good in this regard. Since iOS devices don’t have a significant role in my life, Siri and I have seldom spoken. My experience with Dragon Naturally Speaking Home has been poor, but that’s largely my fault. Despite being installed for two years I’ve just not got into the habit of using it.
5. A Quality Bag
From my days as a frequent business traveler (aka Road Warrior) I know that good computer bag is a thing of joy. Good luggage also. In the past I’ve purchased TravelPro and Briggs & Riley, which were very well-designed and long-lived. Back then I had the air miles to prove it! Both are well worth the investment, but look for them on sale!
4. USB 3.0
Yes, USB 3.0 if much faster, which is especially useful when backing up an entire system to a portable hard drive. You do make regular backups, right? Of course you do.
3. A DSLR or MILC Camera
While it may be true that the cameras in mobile phones are getting better, when the picture truly matters there is just is no substitute for a real camera. They are faster, more flexible, do better in difficult lighting…they simply take better pictures. We’re a Canon household. While I have an older Rebel XSi, Stella has a lovely 70D.
2. Inexpensive Cables
Back when we bought our first HDTV I recall being in the store and overhearing a salesperson advising someone about the merits of the fancy Monster Cable HDMI interconnects that were well over $100. The salesman’s tale was complete hogwash! It was FUD then and remains so to this day.
Back then HDMI was new, and even sensible cables cost a considerable sum. Happily, in these more enlightened times, good quality interconnects, whether HDMI, DisplayPort or DVI-D don’t need to cost a fortune.
1. A Desktop PC
This is, in truth, what pressed me to write this post. The death of the desktop has often been foretold. It’s demise reportedly assured by the onslaught of ever-more-capable laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
Ever the contrarian, I find that I still prefer to work at a desktop computer. I prefer the larger display (>=23″) and more importantly, multiple displays (min 2, prefer 3.)
Further, desktops still offer more hardware resources-per-dollar than their mobile counterparts. If you’re into media creation, especially real-time media creation, this can be valuable.
In my case, there are still some PCIe add-in cards that I like to use. For example, like the AVERMedia C127 HDMI capture card. I’ve written about this capture card previously. It’s remains my favorite way to create screencasts. While there are pure software approaches, using hardware consistently yields high-quality results. It has also allowed me to bring the output various devices into live video production for projects like the VUC.
Upon reflection, my desktop has more in common with what some would call a workstation. If not in it’s construction, at least as far as how it’s used. In considering it’s replacement I’ve looked into HP’s Z1 G2. While very pretty, the Z1 is simply too expensive for my budget.
Bonus: A Standing Desk
If I may, I’d like to add one thing to their list….a standing desk. For the past year I’ve been using a Rebel Desk manually adjustable sit/stand desk. While it’s not perfect, it was relatively affordable. It’s definitely helped me to make the transition from frequent business traveler to continuously office bound.