The last time I wrote something like this was back in 2015 and so much has changed since then, including my move from Europe to the United States, a country that is surprisingly not so much on the cutting edge of technology in some areas despite having what I perceive to be a significant number of early adopters overall.
Things that changed:
- When I last wrote one of these lists, I didn’t own a television and rarely used streaming services as I went through a period of watching very little to no television when I lived in Ireland, but since I moved to California, I’ve acquired a decent mid-size television to adorn my living room mostly powered by my Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video subscriptions all of which contain some content I end up watching on a semi-regular basis at the very least. I also occasionally watch YouTube on the go, but really, who doesn’t?
- I used to be a paper book purist, but my reading list this year has surprisingly been filled with audio books. If you’re yet to give Audible a shot, I can’t recommend them enough. When I’m done reading my one book/month on Audible, I turn to podcasts–another format I’ve really started enjoying lately. Want a recommendation? Try Reply All and this episode in particular. You’ll thank me later. I also listen to (and fund) DTNS, another great podcast if you like a regular dose of tech news.
- My music streaming habits have undergone a fairly big transition as well. I moved over from Rdio to Apple Music for sometime and finally settled on Spotify which honestly has been such a great product. The biggest hook for me has been their integration with Alexa Voice Services since I’ve gotten to a point where I have a speaker everywhere in my apartment.
- Speaking of which, I’m deeply invested into the Alexa smart home ecosystem and don’t see myself moving away from it anytime soon. It’s definitely not perfect, but it ain’t no Siri either.
- Fitness tracking is something I’m still really into but not without change. After spending a couple years tracking steps with my iPhone 5s back in the day, I got myself a Fitbit and never looked back. Sleep tracking is particularly informative and keeps me mindful of how much rest I get so I don’t end up overexerting myself regularly.
- Ridesharing continues to play a big part in my life as a 27 year old that refuses to learn how to drive and given the ubiquity of Uber, Lyft, and the patchy (but reliable) public transit options in the SF Bay Area, I get by just okay.
- Google Photos is a big new entrant to this list. Sure, I hear the collective cries of privacy concerns from hardcore Apple fans, but give me a call when iCloud Photos gets as good at search and I’ll reconsider paying the monthly dollar for storage from Apple. Dropbox still remains my primary back-up service of choice otherwise with OneDrive being the safety net, just in case. I hear Amazon’s backup offerings for Prime customers isn’t bad either, but I might look into it next year.
- I used MacBooks for about five years but recently switched back to Windows (mostly because of the god awful keyboard and their undying loyalty to USB type C, but also because I grew up with Windows and it never ceases to feel familiar). The transition hasn’t always been smooth, but I’m impressed by how much things have gotten better and comparing Macs to PCs like those cheeky Apple commercials did in the early ’00s certainly hasn’t stood the test of time. Using a really good ThinkPad model at work also helps.
- I write more checks (cheques, sorry) than ever including my time spent in India and Ireland since the U.S. loves them for some reason. It’s not all bad, though since NFC payments are slowly gaining popularity and more often than not, I find myself using Apple Pay for checking out.
Things that remain the same:
- Still use an iPhone. Android has gotten so much better since I did one of these lists, but I enjoy how reliable and familiar iPhones are. Being a fan of iOS specific apps like Overcast and Tweetbot certainly don’t make it easy to switch away. I know people who cling to iPhones because of iMessage, but I rarely, if ever, use the service since most people of Indian origin are really into WhatsApp, in case you hadn’t heard.
- I continue to enjoy Twitter. Sure, it occasionally feels like an active dumpster fire and a political schadenfreude but I’ve made so many friends there and checking my feed a few times everyday is one of those rituals I always cherish. Also, I still think it’s a great way to stay up-to-date on the things you care about.
- Google Chrome is still going strong after ten years and continues to be my browser of choice. I use Firefox Focus on my iPhone a lot, but the extensions alone make Chrome a worthy contender when it comes to choosing a web browser.