While I spend my days scouring the web for BlackBerry news and trying to help our readers any way I can, I also have a slew of other "tech" items that I use throughout my day. They range from high-tech gadgets to low tech necessities. Some of them are for getting my job done, others are purely personal while a few even cross between the two.
To round out the end of the year a few of us here at CrackBerry will give you a quick look at some of our favorite tech from the past year so you can get a better glimpse into what makes us tick. So here we go ...
BlackBerry Q10 / Z30
For the majority of 2013 I was kicking it with the BlackBerry Q10. Of course I started the year with a Z10, but as soon as the Q10 was released I made the switch and never looked back. It was only recently that I went back to a touchscreen device with the BlackBerry Z30 (which I love) but I still find myself longing for the physical keyboard of the Q10.
I'm been a dual-wielder for quite some time, and with my trusty BlackBerry as my main device I've always had another phone on hand as well. I've bounced between quite a few second devices this year, but ultimately my favorite has been the Nexus 5. It's available for a great price off-contract, gives a stellar Android experience and just plain works. I can't squeak nearly as much battery life out of it as I can on my Q10 or Z30, but since it's only playing second fiddle that's not a huge issue for me.
Lastpass, Dropbox and Evernote
None of these are really new for 2013 but they've all received significant updates this year. I'm lumping them all into one since my reasons for using them are basically the same.
My favorite apps for 2013 are Lastpass, Evernote and Dropbox. All I use on a daily basis and all have made my life easier -- no question. They are all for personal and business yet never confuse the two. Lastpass keeps me from using my old "two password" method for all of the sites I use, instead allowing me to create crazy long and complex ones for every site I visit.
Evernote I've loved for a while but I just keep finding new uses for. I use it to store my recipes and notes, collaborate on articles, as a digital filing cabinet and photo archive. Loads of awesome uses.
Dropbox is just awesome because I can store whatever I damn well please there and share it with whoever I want, when I want. We have a few CB folders for photos and files, I store all my camera photos, random docs and other goodies there so I can always get to them when I need them.
I have to give a shoutout to IFTTT. If you truly want to automate things online, IFTTT is the way to go. You can setup triggers for everything from Foursquare to Facebook to RSS that will fire off certain actions. I have recipes to send the weather to my Pebble daily, remind me to take out the garbage, send me instant RSS alerts to Gmail, archive my Tweets and much more. It's free and awesome and there are loads of possibilities.
I could bust out a list with a few games here, but there's really one that's been taking up my time. I haven't been huge into console gaming since I added another kid, but I did pick up GTA V and it's one of my favorite console games to date. I've always been into shooters since the SOCOM days on PS2. I've since migrated to XBOX and while I won't be picking up a new console anytime soon, GTA V is filling my void just fine. It took me just a few days to complete the game but the replay value is always there, especially with the badass online mode.
Kevin has been praising his SONOS for as long as I can remember. I never took the time to look into it or pick one up for myself, but recently I acquired a Playbar and Play:1 and I have to say that as annoying as he was about it, I'm totally in love with my system. I have an open living area on the main floor of my house so a single Playbar serves both my TV and music needs. I stuck the Play:1 in my bedroom for a second zone and I can't imagine ever living without the setup again. There are controllers available for almost every platform so not matter what I'm using I can access it when I need to. Hopefully I'll add a few more speakers at some point down the road to really go nuts.
I love coffee. I'm always looking for new ways to get the best cup and of all the things I've tried, the Aeropress has given me the best results. It's cheap, easy and just plain works. It cranks out a great cup of coffee when you need it. I've even picked up an electric kettle to make my brewing easier (as opposed to boiling on the stove).
My favorite accessory this year is hands-down my Pebble watch. I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about it at first, but I totally fell in love and haven't been able to go more than a day without it. Sure it makes you hyperconnected but at the same time, I check my phone less often and I love the geek factor of it. I've since branched out to even more smartwatches which means even more accessories to geek out on.
So that's just a quick look at some of the gadgets I use in my daily routine. Some make my life easier, some are just geeky and fun, but all of them stuck out to me for 2013. If you have any fun gadgets of your own or thoughts on some of my picks, be sure to hit up the comments and discuss.