Home Theater: My home theater was a huge DIY project I tackled this year. Built from IKEA Besta components, I've put together a capable home entertainment system which I look forward to coming home to everyday. The audio is beautiful through my 7.1 KEF speaker setup, and the picture is amazing on my calibrated Panasonic VT30. I enjoy Blu-ray movies/shows, DVR'd episodes of Conan and Outdoor Room, and streaming audio and photos through my Apple TV all with this setup. The cabinet system took 3 weeks to build and plan, but it's something that makes me smile even when its turned off.
Sony NEX5 Camera: Say hello to my little friend. The tiny Sony NEX5 is a miniaturized wonder and definitely one of my best tech purchases of 2011. It takes DSLR quality pictures from a form factor not much bigger than your compact point and shoot. I got this mainly to take better vacation pictures, but the shots were so impressive it got me hooked on learning more about photography. The versatility of interchangeable lenses and customizable Manual mode arm me with a formidable arsenal when shooting Tech Tours for Unplggd. This is my entry pro-sumer cam of choice, hands down.
Mac Mini: I made "the switch" about a year ago and got a Mac Mini. I outfitted it with 8GB of RAM and this tiny workhorse handles everything from engineering to photo editing to blogging. I got it hooked up to a dual-screen setup for improved multi-tasking, with the beauty/simplicity of OS X keeping me equally happy. Fast boot times, no more annoying notifications, and this baby just helps me get things done.
Ooma Telo: Everyone who works from home should have one of these. $3 and some change every month gets you unlimited calling with outstanding quality without any of the hassles related to paying/using a landline. I use this paired with a VTech handset for all my conference calls at work, and never have to worry about long-distance fees. This is another one of those purchases that I now can't see myself doing without.
Digital Remote Wireless Thermometer: I love cooking, grilling, and entertaining and if you've seen any of those food competition shows you know the first thing that ruins a meal is an undercooked or overcooked dish. These remote thermometers make sure you do it right, every time, allowing me to relax, read some magazines, watch some TV, or just take a good ol' nap. The digital remote thermometer alerts me when the food is good and ready, making it my fav kitchen tech device.
iPad: I was one of those people that watched the keynote of Steve Jobs unveiling the iPad and absolutely HATED IT! I remember sharing my disappointment with all my buddies, even feeling compelled to blog about my disgust. But the thought of an iPad lingered, turning from a thought to an obsession, and one day I found myself eating my words and purchasing one. Yeah, it may be a big iPhone, but you can't discount how useful a big iPhone can be. I pulled the trigger and got one last year, and now use it everywhere: looking through recipes, reading magazines on the couch, watching videos while traveling, or showing image previews while tethered to my camera for photo shoots. It's proven to be an amazing and useful device despite my initial assumption.
iPhone 4S: I've been an iPhone user since the original model. Once the first price drop happened I joined the ranks of others and became a believer in the big Apple. My friends tease me about being a fanboy because I often tout its features and convenience, but I truly believe the user interface is top notch; I get things done with it I never would have imagined with any other phone. Throw specs out the door (those are so 90's) because today its all about usability and experience, and Apple has it nailed.
Roomba: My house has hardwood floors so adding the robotic roommate, the Roomba, changed my life. He goes to work while I'm out at the gym, and sucks up all those tumble-furs from our resident cat, Eva. I like the Roomba so much, I'm actually upgrading to the newer 770 model because our 3 year old 560 is about ready to retire.
Withings Scale: I live in Austin, Texas and enjoy all the good eats my city has to offer. But one has to pay for indulging, so to keep my shape, I regularly monitor my weight. The Withings Scale connects to my home network and stores weight and body fat percentage stats for viewing on my iPhone or iPad. The scale keeps me honest and lets me know when all that pie and ice cream is hot on my trails. Tracking weight throughout the year motivates me to workout harder and to counteract all those holiday cookies and treats that get me every time.
Herman Miller Setu Chair: How techy can a chair be? Well, check the spine my friend. This year, with a basically full-time work-at-home lifestyle I needed a chair to keep me comfy for hours on end. I got these Herman Miller pieces after testing and sitting in a few different chairs myself. I love the way the netted mesh feels and the support of the spine as it contours around my back. These chairs have proven to be durable and I feel like the design is already a timeless classic, like everything else the Herman Miller puts out.
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