So, I am going to really recap my favorite things of 2013, and also as a last minute Christmas shopping list for the tech needy folks in your life.
I always get a lot of requests for what gifts would be great, so here is my first list.
First up is my personal favorite that we as a whole household use pretty much daily. That is Chromecast from Google. It is basically a Google TV 2.0, but so much more, it is very powerful, and the Google product Managers are really focused bringing so many new apps to cast, my personal favorite as of late is Plex, not to mention, casting YouTube, Netflix and so many more.
You can get it in just about most retailers now, as always my favorite is Amazon. At the time of this post it is $29.99 at Amazon.
Next up is something that travels with me everywhere. It is the Anker® Astro E5 15000mAh Portable External Battery Backup. Basically, this thing will charge your phone 5 times on one charge, it will also charge your phone several times and your tablet a time or two also. It works with Android, iPhone, blackberry, anything that uses a USB charger, and for the super geek, it comes with a 1 and 2 Amp output and the all handy flashlight! At the time of this post it is $49.99 at Amazon.
Something that is necessary in Ohio, and something that most people don't even know exist, are "Smart Gloves" or specifically these "Agloves Original Touchscreen Gloves". You don't really need to say anything else but, you can use these awesome gloves with your phone! Depending on the size at the time of this post they are less than $14 at Amazon.
To step up with a lot more functionality and all around awesomeness, the Google Nexus 7 is easily my favorite device. A few quick technical details, its a Snapdragon S4 Quad Core 1.5GHz processor, with 2GB ram and it comes in a 16GB and 32GB versions. I work mainly out of the cloud for example Google Drive or Dropbox, so my 16GB works fine for my needs, but its also a ton of space, so most would be just fine. The only potential downside for some, is that there is not expandable memory, for me I don't notice it because of the cloud. At the time of this post it is $242.99 at Amazon.
Last but certainly not least, my next gadget personally is going to be the Samsung Chromebook. I do not own one, but I have used one, and recommend them all the time, and always get amazing feedback. Tech Specs: Exynos Dual Core processor, 2GB Ram, 16GB Solid State drive with an 11.6 inch screen. It is meant to begin freeing you from the normal PC experience, and get you into an Internet mega-force called Chrome. It is lightning fast, it boots up in 10 seconds or less, loads web pages practically instantly, and it holds multiple layers of security with no need for any anti-virus software. It is 2.4 pounds, has over 6 hours of battery life, and a built in webcam. It is meant to use all the Google services to replace MS Office and there are even over 10,000 apps to use. Its a completely different experience than you are used to, and if you are up for it, you will be more than pleasantly surprised. At the time of this post it is $248.00 at Amazon.
As my initial blog post here on my "favorite things" blog what better to talk about than some of the things I use the most... APPS! from my perspective there is an app for that which I want to do. I have never been in the situation where I needed an app to do something, searched for it and didn't find one. In most cases, I find the app and realize I really needed it. As much as I would enjoy to express my love for these apps more, I will just get started. I will most likely break this up into the following posts:
Series 1, Productivity Apps
Series 2, Life apps
Series 3, Games (last but not least :)
One more addition that I have to throw in here is that I am not a writer, or an editor, or an A student in grammar, so I will apologize right up front about that. Another thing I will apologize for up front is my bias for Android. I will do my best at being partial as well as present the them equally. My wife has an iPhone, and regularly loves that I am installing "Google" apps on her iPhone, but mainly its to check the functionality out and see what we are missing on Android. #EndDisclaimer
Here are the things I love about it:
The new Priority Inbox. I normally get roughly 250 emails a day, 80% of them are ones I really want to have coming to my email, whether its Amazon local, Groupon, Tom's Hardware, Church Crunch, etc.. but honestly, I didn't want them bothering me on my mobile devices. The new Priority Inbox is an absolute life changer. It will still deliver the mail when you open the app it labels it intelligently into Primary, promotions, updates and forums and it will only alert you for the emails in the primary box. and on the web interface you are able to adjust what goes where if you see a problem with the automatic filtering done by Gmail.
The second function that makes Gmail amazing in my book it the filters which is a foundational/basic function of Gmail, where you can use it as folders/tags/organization. Gmail filters can be anything you decide, for example I have an "accounts" filter that i tag any new accounts I sign up for whether its another Google account or an app like flipboard or evernote. I always know which filter/folder to go to when i am looking for my username for an account I don't normally sign into. The possibilities are endless basically to the point of your organizational skills. One more thing that I left off is that you can add different filters to one email, sometimes I have a client that I have a folder for them which I add a "todo" filter and filter for the client specifically.
All of that said, if you have emails regarding "Coffee" and you don't want to use a filter for coffee you can just use the search function and search for coffee and everything you have that has the word coffee in the email will come up.
To learn more in depth info about Gmail here are some quick links for topics I frequent:
Gmail search commands
Gmail priority inbox
Thanks for checking out my first post, it seems that a Gmail app post is kind of pointless, but it really is where I get most of my work done, and it is the single app that would slow my productivity down to a crawl if I were to lose it.