So here's a change of pace! I'm that guy Maggie hired to be a full time photographer/husband (in that order). I share a similar passion for tech gadgets that Maggie has for fashion. So for this week's Wednesday Wish List, I'm going to share a few tech recommendations that I think you should know about. Gadgets have gone from novelty to necessity, so here are some of my suggestions:
Solid State Drive for your computer/laptop — I'm always shocked to see how many people manage to live without these. Hard drives are conventionally spinning magnetic plates, which is an old technology, and they're slow. Replacing your computer's hard drive with a solid state drive (named that because it's just a chip with no moving parts) will make you realize that your computer's been moving along with a big fat boat anchor attached to it. It's the best upgrade you can do to extend the life of your supposedly dying laptop.
Good quality headphones — Seriously people, throw out your Apple ear buds, and forget about Beats By Dre. Good comfortable headphones aren't that expensive, and if you spend as much time listening to music as I do, you will wonder how you ever lived without them. I suggest looking at the Audio Technica ATH-M50X's, which run below $150. That's, like, what, two thirds of a pair of shoes? Your ears will thank you.
Google Project Fi cell phone service — Cell phone companies suck. I used to pay $80/month for my smart phone on Verizon. I was paying for all this data I wasn't using and every month my Stockholm Syndrome seemed to be getting worse. Google to the rescue again. Their Project Fi service (which just went out of invite-only this past week) combines Sprint and T-Mobile into a super awesome pre-paid package where you only get charged for the data you use. It's $10/GB, but if you only use half a gig, you only pay $5. That simple. If you can handle an Android smart phone (no iPhones here I'm afraid), Fi is a no-brainer.
Sony Mirrorless SLR Camera — Taking photos for this blog has really allowed me to expand my skills as an amateur photographer. And making the investment in the Sony A7II camera was what took my work to the next level. It's a pricey camera, but the excellent picture quality this thing produces says it all. These are "full frame" camera, meaning the sensor that lets in the light is the size of a 35 mm piece of film. This lets you shoot in low light without worrying about noise and pixelation. It doesn't even have a flash, because if you're doing it right, you don't need one.
A good WiFi router — If you're still using that old router you bought in college, or the router your Internet company gave you, it's time to ditch it and upgrade. Seriously, you do not want to skimp on this. If you're in a house with tons of laptops, tablets, game consoles and smart phones, you can't rely on some crappy old router. You need a good quality 802.11 AC router for range and speeds you probably didn't think were possible. If your router is old enough, you're probably getting worse Internet speeds than you're paying for because of it. This is one of those things people overlook and never seem to want to change, but they always thank me after I force them to.
Philips Light Alarm Clock — What an awesome idea! My mom got this for Maggie and I for Christmas this past year, and it has absolutely blown me away. It wakes you up with light instead of sound. Every morning the light starts at a dim blood orange hue and slowly amplifies to a pleasant yellow glow. I somehow wake up fresh and not startled by my phone's horrible sounding alarm. I suggest you give this one a try; it's one of those tech things you'd never have expected would work so incredibly well.
Magnetic CD Phone Mount — I used to love making mix CDs. Maggie and I used to give them to each other in high school. But seriously, when's the last time I've listened to one in my car? Why do they insist on keeping these CD slots in our cars? Well, let's make some lemonade out of those lemons with this ingenious idea. Mount this guy into that dusty old slot, stick a flat magnet to the back of your phone case and your phone will attach and detach from the mount with no hassle and no wear. It's a great place for the phone in most cars, right at eye level! Perfect for GPS navigation.