travel (9+ countries, 12+ cities), getting back into shape, as well as consulting on some great projects, and my Tech Top Ten is all about the technology that has helped make all that happen (or at least make it more pleasant)...
Joelle Alcaidinho, Illustration: Maritza Lugo)
While I do still love my iPhone and iPad, listing them seemed a bit redundant since I've done so in 2010 and 2011's Tech Top Ten, so read on to learn what makes my list this year and my nerdy heart beat all that much faster.
Nike+ Ecosystem: One of my goals in 2012 was to lose weight and get better control of my asthma. I knew that returning to consulting full time in the United States would mean no health insurance (or at least none that was close to being affordable) and so I wanted to do everything I could to try and wean myself off of my very expensive medication. I decided to dramatically revamp my fitness routine and Nike + Kinect Training has been the cornerstone of my programme. Nike + Kinect Training coupled with wearing the Nike Fuelband and using the sensor with Nike + iPod has helped to gamify my training and keep me on track. I'll admit that I'm pretty submersed in the Nike+ ecosystem, yup even my shoes are Nike, but with over 23 lbs lost and not having had to use my inhaler in months, I consider the results well worth it.
Kindle Paperwhite: I have always loved my Kindle and this new version is the best ever. I love the glow, how easy it is to read, and how light it is. It's the perfect size and I wouldn't trade it for any number of tablets.
Android 4.2 on Nexus Devices & Google Now: I have made some strongly anti- Android statements in the past and using Android 4.2 on the Nexus devices made me want to take almost all of them back. I love this operating system and while finding tablet apps continues to be tricky, the way notifications and multitasking works on 4.2 is a pleasure and every time I use my iPhone 5 or iPad I wish they ran 4.2. Oh yeah and Google Now is awesome and is infinitely more useful than Siri especially when travelling.
Truphone TRU Sim: While travelling the world is great for world experiences it's not so great on the budget when you're as fond of smartphones as I am. Using the TRU sim has helped to save me $$$ on international data bills and it's great to be able to have three phone numbers, my US, UK, and Australian on one sim.
Sony NEX-5N: I love my Nikon D200 but since the Sony NEX-5N has entered my life I pick it up much less frequently. This mirrorless boasts an awesome sensor and the quality is fantastic. I can even use my Nikon lenses with an adapter on this bad boy and this camera has been one of the best purchases I have made this year and I have not regretted it for a second.
Microsoft Fresh Paint & the Sensu Brush: As I mentioned in my stylus review I really like this stylus. It's the perfect complement to the Fresh Paint app on Windows 8 and I find using the two to be relaxing and it's one of my favourite winding down activities.
Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones: Remember that piece I did awhile back about not liking active noise cancelling headphones? Well, I take it all back, these headphones are a lifesaver. With the high amount of long haul flights that I do these have been well worth the investment and have helped me to sleep through flights full of crying infants.
Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine: As a diehard Evernote and Moleskine user I was thrilled when the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine was released. I have been using it for awhile now and find it a useful way of getting my sketches in Evernote. The trick to maximising the syncing is to use the included stickers and have them match the notebooks and tags that you use in Evernote.
Apple 15" MacBook Pro With Retina Display: After my 15" MacBook Pro from a little over a year ago was brought in for its third repair, the amazing staff at the Apple Store replaced it with the Retina MacBook Pro and I have never been happier with a computer although the MacBook Air comes close. Do I miss the optical drive? Not at all. Is it as portable as the tiny MacBook Air? No, but it's more portable than my previous MacBook Pro and it's a good compromise for being my daily driver in a highly visual profession. Editing photos on it is a dream even when they are giant RAW images. This machine doesn't quit.
Tiny Tablets: My iPad, version 4, is great, but it's well, big. I find the Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note II to be perfectly portable (with great displays, sorry iPad Mini) and just the right size to throw in my pocket or purse. While I know that some consider the Note II to be a phone, to me it's firmly in the tablet category since it's bigger than my hand.
Joelle Alcaidinho, Illustration: Maritza Lugo)