Every year I like to look back at some products that had the biggest impact on my life. As a product person, I just can’t help myself. It’s also become a standing tradition to look back at some of the most impactful gadgets, apps, and other products that made life better.
I do a lot of writing. I’ve been doing a lot of articles and blog posts, working on a book, doing an MBA, and just enjoy writing for work and for fun. ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, a style editor and writing mentor (pulled that from their site). I checked out a bunch of writing tools and it was the one that most closely aligned with what I wanted and needed. And it has been excellent. I’m amazed how I got along without it for so long. I don’t think I could go back to not having a tool for editing my writing, whether emails or documents or blog posts. It is worth every penny.
I was fortunate enough to get to beta the new Echo Auto, which puts Alexa in your car in a nice little package. I was super impressed by the whole setup. It syncs seamlessly with my phone, is unobtrusive in my car, and allows me to use voice commands and other things that I didn’t have available in my not-smart car. I’d say it even works better than the integrated system we have in our truck, which is pretty cumbersome. I imagine newer cars and infotainment systems won’t need Echo Auto, but it’s been amazing to get into my car and have it just work to play music, podcasts or audiobooks.
Daylio is a daily micro journal and mood/activity tracker. I started using it at the beginning of the year and have been pretty religiously using it every day since. I love keeping track of activities and how they impact my mood. I also love jotting down some notes about each day. I’m a journal keeper and it has been amazing to scroll through each day to look at the highlights from the week.
Eufy Smart Scale
I mentioned getting a smart scale at the end of last year, and it has proved to be a key life changer this year. Being able to track weight (and other metrics) over time has made it so much easier to understand the impact of choices and to monitor health. It’s become part of my fitness routine and has made me a healthier person. Looking back at various times in my life, I realize how much I wasn’t controlling my lifestyle and the negative impact that was having on my. This has been part of a big change that I’ve made, and it has made it easier.
Along the same lines as a smart scale, my wife gave me a Fitbit Versa this year, and it has continued my fitness progression in a significantly positive way. I’ve been a Fitbit user since they came out with their first wristband, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. But the Versa has almost taken the place of other smartwatches. The only problem is that it doesn’t fully take the place of a smartwatch yet, so that leaves me with my Fossil smartwatch and my Fitbit. I don’t mind it, but it leads to many people asking questions.
We invested in a Ring Security system late last year. It was dead easy to set up and install, which was a good start. It went well with the doorbell we already had and gave some extra peace of mind. We added a floodlight camera to the backyard as well. Later in the year, there was a string of car thefts happening all around our city. There were a couple in neighborhood, and it was right about the time we got a new truck and had to park it out on the street for a few weeks before we could rearrange the garage to get it to fit. So we added another Ring security camera to our driveway, both as a deterrent and a way to catch anyone who broke into our cars if it happened. Fortunately, it didn’t, but we’ve become huge fans of Ring for how integrated it all is, how easy it is to set up, and that you don’t have to buy into a long-term security system to get what you need or want.
So that’s the list for 2019. There were several other products that almost made the cut as well. The ones above I use almost every day in some way. But there are others that are just as good that maybe don’t quite see as much use. The Echo Show 5 is a great little device. I’d probably take that over Echo Dots now, and I’ve got one in my office. It’s the perfect size and has all the functionality you need. If you enjoy making ice cream, a Whynter upright ice cream maker should be on your list. We’ve been using one for a few months and are making far better ice cream than Cold Stone. I also got the new Galaxy Note 10+ a few weeks ago. It’s been amazing so far, but since I’ve only had it for a short period of time I kept it off my 2019 list.
It was a great year for apps and gadgets. I’m excited to see what 2020 will bring.
My personal musings on a variety of topics.