Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Unplggd readers! I'm Gregory Han, managing editor of Apartment Therapy Unplggd. Before joining Apartment Therapy over at our Los Angeles site, I was designing children's toys, stationery and home items as a graphic and industrial designer (the lil' kid in your life might have enjoyed my Shrek Swamp Whoopee Cushion Chair). And before that, I was pixel-pushing as an art director for various video game publications (does anyone remember the short-lived Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine?). Today, I find myself fortunate to be involved with a site that focuses upon two of my favorite subjects: design and technology.
imm Living Aphrodite USB Hub: inspired by Kristen's recent 10 Just-For-Fun Tech Gifts For Under $100, I knew I had finally found my USB hub. Aphrodite fits right in with the rest of my dandy of darkness home office. And who am I to deny the goddess of love?
Bang & Olufsen Beomaster System: There's a great story behind this system. I purchased the rosewood cabinet B&O audio system years ago from a retiring Playboy executive who was retiring and moving out to Palm Springs, but didn't want to pay the shipping fees. He shared many ribald tales about how the Jacob Jensen designed turntable wowed and wooed his guests in his heydays and was willing to part with the complete system at a very reasonable price. It's easily my most treasured Craigslist find of all time, for both its form and function charm. The BeoGram 4004 Record Deck is also one of my favorite all-time turntable designs and still operates perfectly. Did I mention it was owned by a Playboy exec?
Apple iPad: Emily likes to tease me about how I like to carry around my iPad everywhere, like Moses coming down from the Mount (but in my case, just around the apartment). I use it to watch Netflix in bed, read Kindle downloads, view and edit Google Docs, browse my Lakers stats, IM/Tweet plenty, and of course, check up on Unplggd. The MacBook Pro is for work, but the iPad has proven to be my truly mobile companion.
Audio-Technica QuietPoint Headphones: Many moments of sanity have been saved with these noise canceling cans, especially since we live close to a busy intersection. The sound canceling isn't quite on par with Bose models, but they're very close in performance at a fraction of the price. Also, Audio-Technica's customer service is top notch, as they recently sent a replacement cable for free after I emailed about how much a new one would cost. Now that's a rarity worth noting.
Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers: I love the formal simple modern design of this duo of desktop speakers bookending my monitor; they can handle most every genre of music I throw at it with crisp clarity (they do peak out a bit early if pushed closer to their upper limits). And as someone who lives on the second floor, the MM-1 non-sub setup is likely a good idea for keeping the peace without compromising audio performance too much.
RadioShack Laser Pointer: if you've got cats, you know all about their insane, puffed tail, haulin' ass mode that can leave you wondering why you took in the whiskered terror. I can't recommend a laser pointer enough to help reduce these occurrences. Almost every night, at least for a few minutes each evening, I become a laser beam wand wielding Harry Potter of feline aerobic mastery, all with the goal of tiring them out earlier so I can get my well-deserved sleep.
Apple TV 2G: Even without jailbreaking, I'm impressed with the latest Apple TV compared to the previous version, which was indeed a "hobby". I haven't missed the option to purchase or store movies/TV shows locally; the small size and quiet/cool operation is a fair tradeoff, especially considering the ability to wirelessly stream content from my MacBook Pro. At $99, I think Apple finally hit the sweet spot for an impulse purchase. I only hope those rumors of apps for the Apple TV come to fruition. It could be a game changer.
Sony Playstation 3: I don't nearly game as much like I once did when I was working at video game publications, but that doesn't mean I don't occasionally fancy a few hours playing the latest Uncharted title or cursing/button mashing for a couple games of NBA 2K11. I don't rent too many Blu-ray discs, but until the latest Apple TV purchase, this was our main Netflix streaming appliance and I still appreciate how much you can do with this "gaming" machine.
Optoma HD32 720p Projector : It's getting a little long in the tooth, but I've loved every minute owning this gem of a DLP projector. Even though it's only capable of producing a 720p image, watching Lakers games and movies on a 92" screen is a total joy. We've even hosted a party potluck revolving around the movie Conan the Barbarian, thanks to this white knight of HD glory.
Nikon D90 DSLR/Canon S90: both of these have been recently replaced/updated, but they're still capable cameras. I use the D90 for house and tech tour photo shoots, product photos and the occasional Flickr update, while the more pocket-friendly S90 is my hiking and traveling companion. I've recently fallen back in love with my D90 since purchasing a macro, but have high hopes of adding an ultra-wide piece of glass in 2011. Besides my MacBook Pro, these two are my most important tech items in my arsenal.
Technology/device I'm most looking forward to in 2011: The Apple iPad 2 and the continuing features/design race between iOS and the Android platforms. Despite not owning a cell phone (I'm home all of the time!), I take special interest in following current and future technologies offered by mobile devices on both platforms, and specifically the apps being developed. For example, the recent real time language translation app…that's amazing! Now what I'd personally love to see is a hiker's companion app which can identify flora and fauna in similar fashion, as a mobile tech field guide!
Tech or tech organizational tip: Wall mount displays and flat screen HDTVs to regain surface space underneath. When you work and live in a smaller space like I do, just a few inches of usable surface can mean a big difference. I also think wall mounting your displays lessens their aesthetic impact on the rest of the room, since on the wall, screens look more like picture frames instead of yesterday's televisions.
I never leave home without: the realization it's okay to leave my tech gear at home most of the time. I used to be one of those people carried my cell when I had one or my digital cameras everywhere I went. But then I realized there are times when leaving them home can be the most sensible (and polite) thing to do. I love technology, but I love experiencing life fully there even more, so unplugging occasionally is helpful for someone who is online and working the majority of the time.
Meet the rest of the Unplggd team thus far: