Tech products of the year

This year's BOTY choice was such a big hit, the idea crossed my mind that I have a couple of products that distinguished themselves in my life in 2013, and what the heck, why not have a POTY to go with the BOTY!

The thought came to me while I was on a walk today in Central Park, listening to Grateful Dead music through one of the products, and played by the other one.

I said man, I finally have this figured out after many years of walking and listening, I have a rig that's worth talking about it's so good.

First the headphones. I like to say I buy headphones the way some women I've known buy shoes. I have a closet shelf full of them. Most of them I tried out for a few days or maybe a week or two and put them away, still in search of the ideal set.

But after I bought the Velodyne vFree headphones I not only stopped buying new phones, I starting giving the old ones away to friends. And these were some great listening devices. But none of them put it all together like the Velodyne.

First, they are wireless Bluetooth headphones. You wouldn't believe how much of a mess those wires are for me. Always getting tangled and knotted. Limiting movement. Pulling on my ears and the device. Now I look at people listening on their iPods on the subway and think that in two years the wires will all be gone. Once you try it this way there's no going back.

Also, they're loud enough, and the sound quality is great. A lot of good headphones need an amplifier when used with a mobile device. Not sure why, but it's observable. I guess these headphones, because they have their own power source, have their own amp. Regardless, you don't miss anything with these guys, and music has the feel it's supposed to. And it's a clean sound, maybe a little heavy on the bass, but I like that way. But not so much as some others.

Another thing that's great about wireless is you can wear them around the house without carrying the player with you.

Now there are problems with wireless. You have to remember to keep it charged. But that's a discipline we've all learned by now. It's just one more device. It takes the same kind of USB cable that Kindles and Google phones do. You probably already have a few. And the Bluetooth connection sometimes drops, but for some reason for me now not so much as it did in the beginning. It feels like my devices have learned to find each other. I know that can't be true, but...

Product #2

Now the other device is the new iPad Mini. I got one with 64GB and LTE. I used Verizon because I already have a T-Mobile device (my Nexus 5), and this gives me a bit of redundancy that may come in handy. Both devices tether. Glad we got over that argument!

I bought an iPad Air when it came out and loved it, but that got handed down, because I very much wanted to try an iPad that fits in my jacket pocket, which the Mini most definitely does. I miss the larger screen sometimes, but I love the portability. With a few tweaks, I can see not carrying a phone. But remember, it's winter and cold, so I'm pretty much always wearing a jacket. We'll see how it works in summer, when I'm back doing daily bike rides in summer clothes.

But the iPad Air is as rational and lovely a product as the Velodyne, and of course the two go together perfectly, and connect over an open standard, so it's a religion-conformant combination. At the end of the year, it's clear that these two products made the most difference to me, and appeal to my tastes and lifestyle almost perfectly.

It might get better in 2014, I hope so, but it was worth noting that near-perfection has been achieved this year.

BTW, when I bought the Velodyne in April I paid $299. They're selling on Amazon now for $119. Wow.

PS: As I am working on the transition to a new CMS, I'm producing some blog posts in both environments, to get experience, and get a sense of what features are needed. Here's the new version of this post, in case you're interested in such things.


Last built: Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:38 PM

By Dave Winer, Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 1:59 PM. Greetings, citizen of Planet Earth. We are your overlords. :-)