If I were to sum up 2012 for myself I'd say it's the beginning of piecing together my personal workspace. For the longest time I've researched and looked at desktop after desktop (which was how I initially found Unplggd now called Apartment Therapy's Tech site.) Along the way I've gathered pictures and notes into a digital scrapbook for inspiration in my goal to put together a workspace that works for me. It's still a work in progress, however I am proud with where it's at today and see potential for growth in the upcoming new year.
Adonit Jot Touch
My expectations for this stylus were quite high and weren't exactly met at first. Once I got over the lack of palm rejection and accepted it for what it can do it has become an essential part of my tech setup. The epitome of Adonits' line of stylus which is a different type of capacitive touchscreen stylus that works with a clear, plastic disc connected to a ballpoint joint. With their Jot Touch they added Bluetooth capability and two quick buttons with varying actions.
The result? A stylus that delivers input on the screen based on the speed and pressure of the users hand and amazing accuracy while feeling light (and thin). Not every app works with the pressure sensitivity or shortcut buttons but the hardware alone is more than capable for iPads, Android tablets, and the new Microsoft Surface. I was pleased how well it enhanced sketching in Procreate or jotting down notes in Noteshelf.
At an expo this year I got to try out a Wacom Cintiq 24HD in the flesh. I don't recall how much time transpired in the driver's seat, but I knew I wanted something similar at home without the massive $2000+ price tag. Enter the Twelvesouth Hover Bar, a flexible piece of hardware designed to put the iPad wherever and placed however you can imagine. One minute it'a a floating monitor, the next I can have it lean in to be a graphical tablet partnered with a stylus. Personally, I love how it gives me more freedom over my desktop without taking up surface space.
My iOS App Library
I realize that iPad has been mentioned on these lists already, so instead I'll choose to gush over the apps I tend to use on a regular basis. Before I do, I'd just like to mention that upgrading from a 1st gen iPad to the latest model saw many new additions to my appertoire. The allure of greater screen quality, graphical and processing power and features like Siri made apps I already have faster, more responsive and do much more overall.
ASKetch - Lightweight Sketching App
Zite - RSS News Reader
Procreate - Painting
Sketchbook Ink - Bold Lineart
NoteShelf - Notepad
iA Writer - Word Processor
TuneIn Radio Pro - Music Streaming
Beat Hazard Ultra - Music Based Shooter
Snapseed - Photo Editing
Jasmine - Youtube Player
iScreen - Secondary Monitor
Tweetbot for iPad - Twitter Client
Wacom Capture + Wireless Adaptor Kit
Currently I'm reassessing my computer setup and began using a Mac Mini + iPad combination. Moving from laptop to desktop, I realize going back to the mouse just wasn't an option. I wanted something with more features than the Magic Trackpad.
The Wacom Connect is a two for one deal by being both a multi-touch trackpad and graphic tablet at the switch of a button. There was some adjusting involved with the greater size, but once I found the sweet spot on my desk with the keyboard, it proved to be a fantastic compromise. Using the Wacom stylus with apps like Pixelmater on the big screen has an organic, natural feel that is great for taking iPad artwork one step further.
My favoured cloud-based service is Dropbox. As much as I love iCloud, it still has some maturing to do compared to Dropbox. Many apps I use back up to Dropbox and I can pick my work up exactly where I left off from desktop, tablet, or smartphone on the fly. When my family wants a copy of family photos I'm taking or I need to send a file, I upload to my Dropbox and share.
Sketchbook Pro for the iPad tends to get mentioned more when it comes to painting apps on iOS, but in my opinion Procreate is the superior of the two. It's built to be faster, has more layers, and the interface is more accessible. Procreate never crashes, and unlike Sketchbook, it takes full advantage of the aforementioned Adonit Jot Touch's features. It held up pretty well on my 1st gen iPad and it completely blew me away after upgrading to the latest iteration allowing for a bigger canvas and incredibly clear details.
Cables. Wires. Cords. I call them one thing: trouble. I prefer to live by the slogan 'out of sight, out of mind', which is why I love my Belkin Concealor, a surge protector surrounded by a white shell that hides plugs and the cords that comes with them. The best place to use it is with a home entertainment center, where various consoles, streaming devices, and other devices usually create cable clutter. Not so, with the Concealer!
Sony Playstation 3D Display
A fantastic piece of tech with an unfortunate reception is the Sony Playstation 3D Display. This TV is slim, has the same screen quality as TVs several times its price and is easy on the eyes. It was released with an all too high price tag and faded into gradual obscurity where I picked it up for a fairer price. Currently used as a monitor for my Mac Mini, its size and screen quality rivals other displays on the market. My only gripe is the lack of wall mounting but otherwise I can't see myself using anything else.
This was the unfortunate year my iPod Nano had a hiccup and I reexamined what I needed in a portable music player. Music is a huge part of my life to the point That it needs its own hard disk and battery capacity. It's only fair that it gets its even share so I decided to go back to the roots and get an iPod Classic. My music collection had grown to a great degree that when new music was added, something had to be eliminated from my Nano. This is no longer the case with the 120 GB hard drive that has more than enough capacity for all my music, podcasts, photos and videos. The screen quality hasn't aged well so I use it for two main purposes: music and a secondary backup partition for transporting files.
Nintendo 3DS + Final Fantasy Theatrhythm
When I first got the Nintendo 3DS, I initially dabbled in the usual Nintendo library of Mario and Zelda. However the one game I've played the most and has awoken the sleeping nostalgic gamer within was Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy is a staple of my youthful gaming days, with an engrossing story and gameplay, but most importantly, the fantastic compositions of Nobuo Uematsu. A rhythm game based on his music was a no brainer. The visuals are cute, partnered with addictive gameplay. And even though an iOS version just came out, the 3DS version is superior in both controls and value.
(Images: Jason Rodway)