My name is Mike Tyson (trust me, whatever joke you're going to make I've heard it before) and I’m studying graphic design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. At 21 I believe I’m the youngest contributor on the Apartment Therapy team and constantly deal with the e-noogies I receive because of it (nah, they’re actually all quite nice ‘round here.) I’m a true minimalist at heart which has made me hypercritical of my possessions from furniture to tech. When I’m shopping for new technology it must perform well and fit a very specific aesthetic need to be allowed in my apartment — certainly not an easy task as any techie will attest. This careful attention to detail has helped me assemble a small but enjoyable collection of tech gear that melds form with function (and cost effectiveness — don’t forget I’m a college student) in a most agreeable manner!
• Apple iMac 24”: Before Apple did away with this sweet-spot of a screen size and forced the customer to downgrade to a 21” or upgrade to a 27”, I snagged this on clearance for a steal of a price from a local shop in Philadelphia, Springboard Media. The screen is optimal for my design work and Internet browsing. I couldn’t live without the speed it provides me as I render videos with ease in Adobe After Effects.
• Apple iPhone 4: This may seem redundant but I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I can’t get enough of this little device. You simply can’t beat Apple’s design. I don’t care if the Blackberry or Android could cook me dinner, if it did it with its ugly OS, I wouldn’t be interested. Apple’s iPhone has a beautiful exterior with stunning and intuitive software on the inside. And with the ever-growing App Store, I’m guaranteed to never get tired of what this sucker has to offer. My most recent use for my phone is actually a substitute for a pen and paper as I research for my thesis. Coupling it with the Evernote App, I photograph passages in my book and make detailed notations on them. This way everything exists in an easily searchable database rather than having to manually thumb through countless pages of my illegible scrawling.
• Panasonic AG DVX100b: Ahh, I’ve had such fond memories with this workhorse. I purchased it years ago, long before the HD boom made high definition readily available in consumer electronics. But that hasn’t swayed me. The image and sound quality on this is stellar even without high definition. I mainly used it to film the hundreds of concerts I frequented as a high school student — the countless MiniDv tapes (pictured) are all still categorized and filed away for future enjoyment.
• IKEA Fado Lamp: I blogged about it before and simply can’t get enough. It is flawless: a simple glass dome that can sit on your desk, your floor, or even hang on a wall — what more can you ask for? Buy in multiples (because it's so darn cheap) for a greater effect.
• Nikon D90: This was my most recent tech purchase and it hasn’t disappointed me yet! The ability to take 1080 HD video is pretty handy and the body is well designed and sturdy as a tank. It certainly is overboard for a beginner to DSLRs but I would absolutely recommend it as the next step up for someone looking to get a bit more serious with their photography.
• Brother P-Touch 90: This label maker ain't the prettiest little thing to mosey on into my apartment, I’ll admit, but luckily this ugly duckling lives in a drawer and doesn’t see the light of day unless I need it. Thankfully, however, its performance is phenomenal. I would say I’m a moderate user of the device (I label my notebooks, folders, files, etc..) and I’ve never had to replace the ink/tape/batteries. The keypad is intuitive and easy to use and it comes with just enough features to keep things interesting but isn’t going overboard with crazy options I would never use that just get in the way. For $25, I’d say this is a solid buy for anyone who is looking for a personal label maker but is weary of dropping the major dough on the fancy shmancy kind that is 4 times the price.
• Shure SE115 Headphones: Any mp3 player is only as good as the headphones you plug into it. Granted, I’m not the pickiest audiophile in the world but these headphones perform particularly well for their price point. Any genre of music I throw at these bad boys sounds fantastic. The case and additional ear buds are very useful. Honestly, these are here to stay. I see no need to replace them anytime soon (or in the future.)
• White Photography Backdrop: Ok ok, this isn’t a tech object per-say but it certainly aids my photography in ways I cannot even begin to explain. If you are an avid eBayer, Craigslist seller, blogger, or perhaps passionate archivist of your precious baseball card collection, a white backdrop can work wonders on the quality of your photographs. I literally bought this for $20, store it in my loft bed, and let it roll down whenever I need to take photographs that require a “studio” setting. With some light Photoshopping I can easily turn my apartment into a professional photo studio. Watch in awe as the credibility (and price) of your auctions increases dramatically when people think you got a pro to shoot the dinnerware you have for sale.
• Dyson DC31 Vacuum: This thing blows my floor vacuum out of the water. Everything Dyson claims to do it does — and better. I would be struck with fear if I was a piece of cat hair on the couch and I saw this thing coming at me. It sucks like no tomorrow and it is fun to use (as dorky as that sounds.) Because it is so small and easy to use, it helps eliminate dirt and mess from the start rather than let it accumulate and become a bigger job later.
• Vintage Table Lamp: Last but not least... you must forgive me for being slightly sentimental. I got this lamp from my grandmother’s house after she passed away two summers ago. We were really close friends and I think of her everyday. Not only is the lamp incredibly beautiful and functionally excellent (with three brightness settings) but it always acts as a reminder of my grandmom at a place I often need it most: my desk, when I’m working away, late into the night.
Technology/device I'm most looking forward to in 2011: Definitely definitely the iPad 2.0. Watch out for it in the first quarter because it is going to be absolutely incredible. I will most definitely be picking one up.
Tech or tech organizational tip: Too much storage can be a bad thing! It can encourage clutter by storing things you otherwise don’t need. Just because it is out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mind. If you don’t use it/need it, get rid of it then get rid of the storage unit as well!
I never leave home without: iPhone 4, no doubt. It is my phone, music player, web browser, GPS, messaging tool, digital notepad, web browser, etc…
And finally, the control center...