My Essential Blogging Gadgets from 2009?


A collection of my prized 2009 gadgets


As I write this, 2009 is coming to a close. I thought it would be fun to look back at all the great gadgets that we bought, played with, and still love. For this article I focused on the gadgets I used for blogging, but I would love to hear about your favorite gadgets of the year from any category!

Sadly there were a fair few gadgets that didn’t make the grade too for some reason. For a start I finally got rid of my last PC – there is still one PC in the house but it is never used, we find Parallels does the job just fine. We also sent our DVD recorder to the charity shop and now do not have any dedicated DVD players in current use, since we bought the Mac Mini for under the TV. One of the surprising dissapointments was the Apple wireless mouse and keyboard – it became a pain having to replace batteries at the most inconvenient times, plus when I tried to use them with the Mac mini the BlueTooth signal would drop. Now for the iMac I use wired, and for the Mini I use the “Airmouse” iPhone app with my iTouch as the remote.

As you can see in the picture above, just one corner of my home office is full of lovely, lovely gadgets 🙂 Here are some of the highlights that I use in my daily blogging:

  1. iMac + Dell monitor – I love our Macs. My wife, daughter and I each have one, in addition to the Mac Mini mentioned earlier, which was the most recent to be bought in the latter half of 2009. That said, I am not anti-anything, there are still occasions where I work on Windows via Parallels, and of course I can’t work on the Internet without living in unix/linux environments. There is just a comfort factor with Macs, and an elegance that I particularly enjoy. To think if I had managed to get my laptop wifi card working with Ubuntu I might never have bought that first Macbook!
  2. iPhone 3GS – One of the standout purchases of 2009, from the first moment I got the phone it was useful (see my first impressions at the Cogniview Blog). I can’t be without this gadget, and at one point I had to try. This is actually my second iPhone 3GS, the first I killed by dropping it in a mop bucket and had to buy a replacement. That short period where I was without was painful. I rely on this not just for phone and email, but it is also my connection to Twitter and Facebook, and my GPS (using TomTom). I am literally lost without it!
  3. Flip Mino HD – This was a surprise, I didn’t think I needed one of these. The Flip is famously convenient, and that is what won me over. You see, with my existing (and new!) Canon video camera, yes it has proper optical zoom and an external mic socket, but I didn’t use it! This little guy you can put in your pocket and I have taken more video in the short time I have owned it than the entire lifetime of my other video cameras. The Canon FS did sterling work on our vacation, but the Flip is much better suited to adhoc random video situations. The iPhone unfortunately doesn’t compare very well because of comparitavely lower quality output and battery life problems, but I expect that to be solved in 2010.
  4. Audio Technica AT2020 USB Mic – I spent a lot of money on some very useless audio solutions in 2009 and settled on the Audio Technical AT 2020 USB Mic. I tried everything from a bunch of headsets (Plantronics 510 being the only one not relegated to the bottom draw), the iMic and lavalier, through to other mics, such as a logitech. The AT is the only one that actually performed.
  5. Macspeech Dictate – You can see me using this software on my full Macspeech software review, but suffice to say I was delighted with how this software performed. I had prepared myself that it would be lousy, but if you are looking for voice recognition software for your Mac you have to at least try Macspeech, it really does work. Coupled with the Plantronics headset mentioned earlier it does a grand job, and optionally comes with a cheaper Plantronics if you require.

Over to you, which gadgets from 2009 could you not live without? Are you playing with an electronic hamster right now? Did you just destroy your 30th remote control helicopter? Did you get a Kindle for Christmas? Please share in the comments …


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