My Favorite Tech This Year

Some hardware and software that makes life easier or more enjoyable.

Hey everyone! Happy Thanksgiving week to my American friends. I love this time of year, and I am so excited for the Christmas season to officially kick off this weekend.

Today I wanted to take it easy and share some of my favorite tech from the last year. This is not tech that has been created or released in the last year, as you’ll see, but it’s just some of the tech that has been most useful in my everyday life. I always love reading others’ recommendation lists like this, so I thought I may provide some recommendations of my own.

There will be no Thursday Content Made Simple email this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Be safe if you’re traveling, and enjoy time with friends and family!

-Chris


Apple AirPods Pro

I used to be a cheap headphone guy. I am no longer a cheap headphone guy. When I bought my Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones a couple of years ago, I learned how amazing expensive headphones can be and I got hooked on good audio.

These are more expensive than your typical, cheap wireless headphones to be sure, but they’re one of the best headphone purchases I’ve ever made.

I had the first generation of regular Apple AirPods for the gym, going for walks, and traveling. I finally decided to make the upgrade to the Pros this year for their noise-cancelling, and they are delightful. Highly recommend if you’re going to the gym a bunch, traveling, or otherwise being active with headphones. Great product. Probably my favorite purchase all year.

Notion

I’m in the midst of launching a pretty huge online content project for work, and I am so grateful I heard of Notion around this time last year before I got too knee-deep in the work on this site.

Notion is so many things. I am sure I have only scratched the surface of everything it can be. It’s a task manager, a database, and so much more. And it’s free, too, at least for simple work. So check it out!

Nintendo Switch OLED

I understand I’m outing myself as a gamer here, but I think you can handle it.

I have been a huge fan of the Switch since I purchased one as a seminary graduation present for myself in the spring of 2017, shortly after the Switch was released and long before supply chain issues and chip shortages made new game consoles impossible to find.

I was not planning to upgrade my Switch and get the newer, fancier OLED version, but after seeing it in action and realizing how many great games are due to come out for the Switch in the next year, I was fortunate to snag one. You probably won’t be able to find one on any shelves anytime soon. But when you can, consider it. I love mine. The OLED screen makes playing games in the handheld mode just absolutely beautiful.

Desktop Coffee Warmer

I drink a lot of coffee. Probably too much, honestly, and on top of that we keep our house cooler than most. As a result, my coffee can get chilly pretty quickly in the winter months. I asked for one of these for my birthday last month and my brother got it for me. Very simple technology. But it has already improved my coffee experience. Big fan.

iPad Air w/ Apple Pencil

I do a lot of reading on my iPad. I actually do my daily devotions on my iPad. I do a lot of book editing on my iPad. The iPad Air released in 2020 is just amazing, and the Apple Pencil to go along with it is one of the cooler pieces of tech I’ve ever used. If I had the time, I would teach myself to draw using it. I’ve never been able to draw well and wish I was good at it. Anyway, I really love this iteration of the iPad and the pencil accessory even more than I thought I would.

Reeder

Are you an old-school RSS feed guy like me? I want to introduce you to the best feed reader I have come across in almost a decade: Reeder. It syncs across iOS devices and effectively serves as my personal newspaper. I use it almost every day to sift through all of the articles that interest me without having to pay attention to the silly spats on Twitter. I think it costs something like $5-$10. Worth it for me.

Apple Watch

Are you sensing a theme? :-) I have the Apple Watch Series 4, so mine is a few years old now. But it’s great. I had the original before I got this one. It’s invaluable for tracking workouts, especially. I put it on every day when I get up and take it off when I go to bed. I don’t wear it when I’m sleeping because I’m not a psycho (jk, no offense if you do this).

Discord

I’ve gotten into Discord a lot in the last year or so. It really reminds me most of the AOL chat rooms of yore, before the algorithms captured all of our attention. Discord first gained popularity in gaming communities, but has since (expedited by the pandemic) become popular among many other kinds of communities on the internet. It’s a great place to connect with others around shared interests. I am a part of a community of social internet thinkers/writers on Discord, and it has been great to get to know others who write about the things I do here.

Kindle Paperwhite

I know. Call me a heretic. But I believe I have almost entirely switched over to Kindle for reading any new books. The main reason is this: my house has no more room for paper books, and I don’t want to keep getting rid of books constantly. There are still some books I like to have physical copies of, but I have largely transitioned to reading Kindle books on my Paperwhite or my iPad. My current Paperwhite is pretty ancient. But I love it, especially for reading fiction at night in bed before going to sleep. I had an original Kindle back in the day and it’s laughable how far these little devices have come.

PrayerMate

I have, historically, had trouble praying consistently. My best strategy has always been to write out my prayers, because I have found if I speak them out loud to myself or say them silently, I get distracted or fall asleep. Over the years I’ve seen people recommend different prayer apps, but I’ve never been interested because I’ve never wanted to use a phone or tablet for devos. But this year, I’ve been doing my daily devos on a digital version of the ESV Journaling Bible, so I’ve also been using PrayerMate to keep track of prayer points and requests from friends. It has been tremendous. I cannot recommend it enough. I’ve already recommended it to a dozen people this year, so here I am telling you about it. Such a great little app.

That’s It!

That’s been some of my favorite tech, both hardware and software, from the last year or so. I hope you found something you like and that may help you or otherwise enrich your life. If you’re so inclined, feel free to comment with your favorite piece of tech in the last year.