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Favorite discoveries in 2016

Inspired by the series of videos by the Tested crew, here are my favourite discoveries of 2016. These are things that I have discovered or started using, which have changed – and improved – some aspect of my life.

The year has been marked by a fair amount of time spent editing videos, and I soon found myself running out of hard drive space. Wanting a good solution to bring with me wherever I go, I found the Samsung T3 Portable SSD. The form factor is positively tiny, and with its 500 GB of storage, I have enough storage to bring most of the video I have shot with me. At some point, I’m sure, I’ll have to severely limit what I bring with me, but for now, I’m able to bring everything.

As readers of the blog should know by now, I am a part-time student at the Open University, for which I produce assignments on a regular basis. I generally work on these on my laptop, and have had a desire for an additional monitor, as I have found that using more than one monitor greatly increases my productivity. To that end, I have made two discoveries that I am looking forward to trying out in 2017. The first is Duet Display, which allows me to use an iPad as an external display; the other is the Ten One Design Mountie, which lets you clip the iPad to the monitor of your laptop. I have great hopes for both.

I have talked about my EDC before. In December I took delivery of a new backpack; specifically the Peak Design Everyday Backpack (20l). It is a good example of what happens when you design with intent, and I am impressed with how it’s been performing for me so far, and look forward to using it in the year to come. Expect a review of it at some point during the year.

Another thing I’ve talked about previously, is my love of notebooks. While I am, and will likely always remain, an enthusiast of technology, I find that I often carry a notebook and pen. 2016 was the year I found something to supersede my Moleskine notebooks, in the Dotsplus notebook from Efficiency Supply Company. The combination of dots and pluses, offset to create an unseen grid makes them super versatile, and I find that I am carrying two of them in a midori style cover every day now.

The digital side of note taking also saw a change this year, with the Bear writer app for mac and iOS. While I would love to see an online and/or Windows version of it, just having it on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad is great. I have only scratched the surface of using it, but find that it has already superseded the Notes app on all of those platforms. Expect a review of this, too, at some point during the year.

I love books, and have always been a voracious reader. With kids, work, and studies, however, finding the time to read can be a challenge. My final discovery lets me get into books more, and augments my podcast listening with audiobooks. It is the Audible audiobook app and store from Amazon. It ties in nicely with Kindle, which I have been using for years. It is at least partially the reason why I got through so many books last year.

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