I’m a big fan of gadgets. In fact my whole family is pretty gadget-centric. My husband has his laptop, iPad, DSi XL, and Zune HD with him on deployment. Between my two teenagers, they have 2 Kindles, an iPhone 4, an iPad,2 Flip cameras, an iPod Touch, multiple Zunes, and 2 netbooks. The baby’s got a couple of Leap Frog toys that say her name, and multiple other electronic noise-making devices. She thinks anything the size of a cellphone IS a cellphone and has been known to hold a Zune to her ear and talk into it.
I have a plethora of gadgets myself, and when a new version comes out I pass the old one onto the kids. Here are the standouts from 2010.
I got my iPad for Mother’s Day from my wonderful husband. It has been mostly shanghai’d by the baby who has more apps than I do. I don’t think I need to explain what the iPad is or what it does; until the advent of the Kinect (of which I have 3) it was the fastest-selling device EVER. I use my iPad to triage work emails. It doesn’t feel as much like ‘working’ as having my laptop open does. And my kids get pissed if I work too much during family time, so it looks like I’m messing around on the iPad when I’m actually doing a bit of work. Ninja! I read news, do my social media thing (I prefer the Twitterific app to the official one), play hidden object games, harvest my magic cauliflower in We Rule, watch movies on Netflix (this is a lifesaver when the baby is on round 853 of Dora), listen to music, and every morning I bust out the Weather.com app before I get dressed. The only thing I dislike is the Flash issue. This was not a big deal when I first got it, but as time goes by it’s become a bigger pain in the ass. I hate that I can’t click through to my friend Amber’s videos on Facebook, or harvest my damn vegetables in CityVille. (Yes, I play and you might be surprised at the game industry luminaries who do). Everytime I’m denied Flash on my iPad I think that Apple are dicks. They make a damn fine device though.
Keurig Platinum Brewing System
This was another gift from my personal defense force (aka Gunny Charter). He had one of these in the barracks, loved it and bought one for me. I like coffee. I don’t LOVE it. I am the sort of coffee dilletante that gets a Starbucks once or twice a week. I would never ever grind beans or deal with an espresso machine. That’s far too hard-core for me. I had a Kitchen Aid coffee maker before. I mostly bought it because it was red. I would get up on a weekend morning, brew a pot of coffee and then forget all about it. Gross. With the Keurig, you just pop a little K-cup of whatever beverage you desire into the machine, push a button and wham–you got hot delicious. My teenagers love this too. We make coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever. And it’s always just one cup at a time so everyone gets what they want and nothing goes to waste. The K-cups are a little hard to handle space-wise though. When everyone in the family has their favorite bev, it’s a lot of cups. The carousel is a good solution for most people, but it takes up precious counterspace that is currently occupied by sippy cups, apples, unopened mail, Diet Coke cans that haven’t made it to the recycling bin yet, and of course the microwave, toaster oven, ricecooker, George Forman grill, a mini-donut maker, a quesadilla maker and of course the Keurig itself.
I actually acquired this a couple of weeks into 2011, but I need to mention it because the Kindle has changed my life. I pre-ordered the first one the day they were announced, and in just the first year it more than paid for itself in my book savings. This was when Kindles cost 399.00! I loved my Kindle 1 so much that I turned my nose up at Kindle 2 when it was announced… until I got the email from Amazon saying since I was already a Kindler they were ‘saving’ a K2 for me. Also the pre-loaded Stephen King story “UR” convinced me. I’m sorry to say that my K2’s screen got effed up. I’m sure it was user-error. I often fall asleep reading it, and most likely rolled over on it or something. Anyway, I read on my iPad (a lesser experience; too heavy and the backlighting is owie after a while) until my K3 arrived. Oh happy day! The screen is the same size, but oh boy is this a teeny little thing. The E-ink is leaps and bounds over what it was on the K1 where you’d wait a breathless second while the next page loaded. And it holds 3,000 books! Can anyone even read 3,000 books in a lifetime? I’m gonna give it a shot. This is a perfect device for my favorite activity: reading.
So that’s my top three! If I had to choose only one, it would be the Kindle 3. Though the baby would definitely choose iPad. She’s busy right now playing Monkey Preschool Lunchbox with her sticky chocolate fingers.
Happy Gadget New Year everyone!