2019 Toys that made enough sense to buy or subscribe to…

After reading a post on The Furrygoat’s Experience blog about his year in review, I decided to post the things that have made sense for me to purchase and sign up for. 2019 has been a rebuilding year, as the last couple of years have been doing things only out of necessity, not out of what I wanted to do. So, in no particular order, here’s some of the things that made sense for me this year:

Services:

  1. Disney+: Ummm, everything Disney which includes Star Wars, Pixar, and the Marvel Universe… for $7 a month… oookaaayyy, how do you NOT sign up for that? Bonus, the Mandalorian was good out of the gate. It’s not Firefly, but, hey, what is?
  2. Youtube Unlimited: NOT the TV Service. This is $11 a month to remove the ads from Youtube (and gives you the music service). Frankly, it’s sad that it’s worth it to remove the ads, but it truly is. I watch training and product videos, and nothing is worse than the ads popping up. Now that they are gone, I find myself actually using the video management feature rather than just searching all the time. Bonus, I did sign up for the TV service to be able to watch some things away from the house. Second Bonus, YouTube integrates with the Movies Anywhere platform, so my movies from everywhere else can be watched on Youtube.
  3. LinkedIn Learning / Groove 3 / Udemy: These three get lumped together for education. I find most of what I ‘watch’ comes from here, as I been working on learning new skills, and brushing up on my old ones. Some advice, before buying a class on Udemy, make sure you search for coupon codes, the classes should never be more than $10-15
  4. Mint.com: Actually free, but worth being a target for ads for. This one is a bit controversial, my friend and I go back and forth on this one. There’s no ‘paid’ tier, so there’s no way to get rid of the ads. For me, thought, it’s been very helpful, allowing me to finally retire Quicken. The betas of the iOS apps look promising, as they move the ads out of the main pages. Not sure if that’s good enough, but we’ll see. Hopefully they’ll offer a way to pay to get rid of the ads at some point.

Hardware:

  1. Apple TV to Apple TV 4K upgrade: I did this one because someone I know needed the older version, and hey, I wanted to get the latest and greatest Apple TV. Probably wasn’t worth the upgrade cost, but it does allow me to seriously think about a 4k TV in the nearer future
  2. Apple 16″ MacBook Pro: my iMac was OK, especially with the external SSD HD upgrade, but when a friend of mine gave me a 4k monitor, all hell broke loose. To get the monitor to actually work required changing out my Thunderbolt 2 dock to a thunderbolt 3 dock, changing the display types, and various other machinations. In the end, the good discounts on the MBPs and the desire for more CPU / better video card won out over common sense, so the new MBP came home. So far, it’s been a good upgrade, as it’s got me back to using the computer. The iMac just wasn’t inspiring. For next time, always upgrade the memory. I didn’t this time, and am already kicking myself a bit. I’ll survive, but I should have gone 32 gigs…
  3. iPhone 11 Pro Max: Ok, somewhat better name than the XS Max, still horrible. Basically, it was a photographer’s upgrade. The camera and the software that works with the cameras is amazing. The battery is better. Everything else is the same. One word of warning, though. If you are sending back an iPhone to AT&T, MAKE SURE TO GET THE TRACKING NUMBER!!!!!!
  4. AirPod Pros: This is a no-brainer for me. I work in a rather noisy office. The noise cancellation feature made these an automatic purchase. Great upgrade over the AirPods. I just hope the battery life is better than before. The AirPods had a nasty problem of the charge that they held went to 1/2 in months (my talk time went from 2 hours to 1 in a shockingly short amount of time). This time, AppleCare was offered, and I’ve bought that for them if the battery charge dies like that again.

This year has been a great tech year. Finally, some compelling reasons to upgrade and some very compelling services. Looking forward to 2020!

Of course, as soon as I sit down to write, I forget my ideas…

I had a ton of writing ideas in my head, and as soon as I sat down to write, they disappeared… I haven’t blogged anything in over a year, which may or may not be a good thing, lol. I think I’m going to start off with a recap of 2019, and what I found interesting and useful. Maybe I can keep blogging beyond that, who knows?

A very Apple year (2018)…

Somehow, I didn’t publish this last year… I’m getting back into blogging, and trying to clean the blog up. I like having this for memories, almost like a journal, so, instead of deleting the post, I’m publishing it now… lol

As 2018 comes to a close, I started looking at my computer purchases over the year.  One thing absolutely stood out, it’s been a very Apple year.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, lol.

First up this year was an iMac purchase sometime around February.  My 7 year old Macbook Pro decided to die, with no luck at reviving it.  The base model 27″ iMac was on sale so I was able to get *something* to do work on.  A quick upgrade to 16 gigs of memory, and my new computer was up and running.  Unfortunately, it had the Fusion drive, so I felt like I stepped backwards a bit with speed.  More on this in a bit…  Still, a great computer, more than enough for what I have been doing lately.

Next, my first generation iPad Pro lock button got jammed.  Instead of being smart, and using the accessibility options for emulating the button, I jumped in and bought the 2nd generation iPad Pro.  Great update, with a better screen, faster processor, etc…

I managed to go several months with no new Apple toys… alas, that didn’t last…

Enter the iPhone XS Max…  The iPhone X that was the same size as my iPhone Pluses (I really need big screens).  This was ordered on day 1, as my iPhone 7 was acting weird for me.  The iPhone upgrade has been a mixed bag.  The hardware has been awesome, but there are some things that are driving me crazy.  As much as I know that FaceID is better, for some reason, I’m having a difficult time adjusting.  I don’t always get my face lined up, so what used to be just ‘putting my thumb on a button and it always works’ has turned into trying to aim the phone at my face a half dozen times and then finally typing in my code.  Not the easiest thing to do when you are trying to open your phone fast.  Also, Facebook Live decided to give me a bunch of grief, with horrible recordings for a while.  At least the Facebook issue has been fixed!

At the same time, the Apple Watch 4 showed up.  The watch has been an interesting purchase.  I had hoped to use it for exercise, and that certainly has been a good starting point, but what has really jumped out at me is how helpful it is for notifications.  I almost always was checking my phone for messages / texts / etc…  I don’t need to do that now, as the watch alerts me.  Always a double edged sword, as now people expect instant responses… lol