Friday, February 26, 2016

TAX REFUND POST & BEST AND WORST TECHNOLOGY PURCHASES




So, I just got my tax refund, which means it's time for a big-ticket-item purchase. Usually, it's either technology or home improvement. Last year was both, as I bought a new bigger TV, wire shelving and CD storage. This year, I'm finally replacing Big Iron, my 2007 MacPro tower, with a new iMac. Big Iron was starting not to play nice with current software, not to mention he blows his fan at me sometimes for no good goddamn reason. 

Of course, one purchase often leads to others, so I might also try to update my "home office" set-up, maybe a new little table for peripherals, since I won't have a hard drive tower to keep them on, possibly the kind that the Google calls "C". I have this fantasy of getting selected for Lifehacker's Workspace Show & Tell even though I don't have 6 monitors and a desk made out of a plank from Blackbeard's pirate ship.

In honor of tax refund time, here are some of my best (beyond the obvious ones) and worst technology purchases.

Best:

Computer desk: Maybe this isn't technically technology, but I just love my desk so much. This baby is all metal and almost impossible to damage, even when they were fixing my HVAC and I had to keep moving it around. It has cool extension shelves for storing peripherals that likewise are nearly impossible to break. Its smooth lines and brushed metal finish fit with my modernist style, and the triangular shape squeezes into a corner just right.  While it was clearly made with CRT monitors in mind, that just means you can't buy your own, so there. You can buy a boring ol' rectangular one if you want, though. 

Toaster oven: Maybe it's weird of me, but I just like baking things in my little toaster oven so much more than my regular oven. I even bake potatoes in there and set the timer twice. Before, I just heated up bread and pizza rolls, but now I make stuff every week (from a mix, but still...).

Universal remote: It's hard for my sweetie to pry my Logitech Harmony out of my hands, I love it so. It just fits right in my hand. And when you have the amount of devices I have, you need a serious remote. I use my iPad to search for things, but when actually watching, I don't want to have to look at my device. The software is slightly crash-y, but it's pretty easy to add a new device, as it walks you through the steps.


Worst:

Antenna: I just can't get a good signal with anything for either radio or TV. I might try one of those flat ones you hang on the wall, but it's hard to face more disappointment. I've gotten used to watching everything on demand anyway - the last time I watched live TV was when I was sick and the Internet went out.

Nook Glowlight Plus: When my old Nook Simple Touch finally died, I thought I'd try the fancy new "deluxe" model, but its new version of Android broke compatibility with Adobe Digital Editions, which is how I get my library books - my main use of it. It's fixed now, but the bitterness lingers. Anyway, I don't like how heavy and hard it is - you could kill somebody with it. So, I went back to the soft light rubberiness of the slightly earlier version. I just hope it lasts until they come out with indestructible color e-ink tablets, or a brain chip or something. 

Roomba: Probably one of my worst ever purchases. Maybe I just have too much stuff in too little space, but it just sat under the couch and cowered in fear. Sorry we don't all live in lofts with tons of empty floor, Roomba.

BONUS TECHNO-BRAG:

I got a Twitter reply from Sun-Times technology columnist Andy Ihnatko. Wee!