Welcoming in 2009 with a review of 2008

Growl

A new year is just around the corner. This last year was full of great memories (the greatest being Asia 2008), experiences, and personal milestones. A few goals were met, while a handful of others postponed. Rather than talking about resolutions for the New Year (as I did the same day last year), I’m taking a look back – reviewing 2008.

Last years resolutions

Lose weight. My building has a decent gym in it, but I have only used it once. I’ve gained 15 lbs. since my last workout (which was too long ago).

Ok. First of all, I moved and no longer have a convenient gym on the 7th floor. Not to use this as an excuse, but the premium membership dues were a bit of a turn-off. $600? I figured I could find something that would yield more [of an immediate] return resulting in my ultimate happiness. That and I had persuaded my reflection, and Syl, that there was no reason we couldn’t run around the pond (4 laps = 1 mile). Something must have changed this year though, I have neither gained nor lost any weight. Maybe the 30 second "visual" workout before falling asleep has done something?

Last week I challenged Nathan, my younger brother, on the rowing erg in a 100m sprint. He only had me by 1 second. I think I really got under his skin. He does crew, works out 7 days a week, and is abnormally tall and strong for his age. I took that as a sign to keep doing what I’m doing.

Continue to curb my tendency to pick-up anything shiny and electronic.

I don’t even know why I bothered with this New Years "resolution". This is like keeping a dog from licking itself. Not going to happen. By the way, if you’re looking for an excellent DSLR + HD recording capability, check out the Nikon D90. AMAZING!

Favorite services, items, and software in 2008

Rather than spending time on what I would like to change for next year, here’s what I relied on during 2008. The same services, items, and software that I am very likely to continue using through 2009.

Web applications & services

  • Mint – Extremely convenient & useful. Balance information across multiple accounts, bill reminders, an overview of purchases or buying habits. I am a fiend for statistics and Mint does with money what Mint does for site stats. Confused?
  • Mint (site stats) – Real time site statistics with support for custom views using user submitted peppers.
  • Flickr – At $25 / yr. Flickr is still my preferred service for sharing photos with friends & family.
  • Remember The Milk – Pros: Access anywhere, multiple lists, shortcuts, iPhone app, APIs, data export. Definitely worth the $25 / yr. Pro account. Cons: I don’t like milk.
  • MobileMe – The only reason I keep this service around is seamless iCal & Address Book syncing between my iPhone and computers. Push email is convenient for iPhone apps like Beejive but everything else falls short. iDisk is a failure – too slow and too many failed sync issues.
  • Dropbox – Dear Apple, this is seamless file synchronization across multiple computers. Access in the "cloud" + faux versioning. Try it out, it’s perfect. 2 GB for free, $100 / yr. for 50 GB.

Hardware

  • Nikon D90 – I have only had the D90 for a few weeks but it has already surpassed every reason I loved the D80. I didn’t think I would use the video feature much but short clips say much more than still photographs.
  • MacBook – The new classic. The 2.4 GHz C2D + 4GB of RAM takes everything I throw at it.
  • iPhone – 16GB. I feel lost without it.
  • Xbox Elite – Games, entertainment, and Netflix. The one piece of Microsoft you’ll find at my place.
  • PlayStation 3 – Purchased mainly for Blu-ray playback. There is a funny story behind this console. For the longest time I tried to convince Syl this was an air purifier.
  • Logitech Harmony 720 – I hate clutter. Multiple A/V components means too many controllers. The Logitech 720 consolidates all of them into one. Updates from the web mean any new toys can be programmed instantly.

Software

  • Webkit (OSX) – I rarely find myself in Firefox during development anymore thanks to the Web Inspector found in the latest nightlies.
  • Versions.app (OSX) – I prefer a nice UI over the command line.
  • TextMate + Transmit (OSX) – Still my favorite duo. I’m keeping an eye on Espresso though.
  • Eventbox (OSX) – All of your social stuff in a single inbox.
  • LittleSnapper (OSX) – Screenshot management. DOM inspector lets you capture specific elements on a page. Now supporting custom library location – Dropbox syncing works.
  • Remember The Milk (iPhone) – Access and manage your tasks – available for Pro subscribers.
  • Beejive (iPhone) – Mutli protocol IM application supports Push email service for message notifications when the app is closed.

Recent site updates

WordPress 2.7 was released, as such, the two most popular themes on 5thirtyone were updated to match. You can find the public themes here: Grid Focus & The Unstandard. I announced a change in theme releases using a new micro contributions system. Thank you to those who have contributed thus far. To see progress, view the contributions panel.

What were you favorites?

What were some of your favorites from 2008? Any services, hardware, or software that you used on a daily basis that you would recommend?

Discuss - 8 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    I’m with you on Dropbox, Mint and RTM. But was surprised you don’t use Coda (although Textmate is also great and Espresso looks promising).

    I posted my own list of favorites and have a few additional tools listed (Quicksilver, TextExpander, Harvest etc).

    • Derek says:

      The single reason why I don’t use Coda is because there is no support for code folding. As small of a feature as it may sound, it’s something that I am constantly doing to traverse documents quickly.

  2. Your apartment must be bathed in green and blue hues from the hive of gadgets you have!

    I’ve been long wanting to use the Mint finance app, but unfortunately it isn’t compatible with the banks over here in the UK.

    Flickr is all my photo storing website of choice. It’s great for not only sharing photos, but also for archieving.

    • Derek says:

      Actually, the rooms are bathed in nothing BUT blue. It’s the only LED that seems to cast off enough light to be noticeable.

  3. K says:

    Grid Focus old and new version – best wordpress theme. Thank you.

    And thanks for some software for mac osx, quite interesting to try it for my iMac.

    Happy New Year, Derek.

  4. Michael says:

    Bahahaha. +1 for Syl. It does look like one of those air purifiers turned sideways, and it’s about as useful as one too :P

    • Derek says:

      Our place is right next to a pond surrounded by long grass. It seems near impossible to keep the dust and pollen out. Oddly enough, even the winter time doesn’t stop a little something from getting into the place. We currently have two air purifiers. One is a Honeywell 17000N which collects dirt but is too small, and the other is a Rabbit Air MinusA2. Wishing I had a couple of the MinusA2’s to cover more space.

  5. Gail says:

    aww, you’re a gadget freak =)