Including this one, Dependent on Gadgets saw 28 new posts in 2014.
For a blog, that might not sound like a large number, but the given the preparation that goes into finding subjects to cover, research and testing, I’m quite proud of the effort and it’s certainly been fun to do. This post takes a look back at some of my highlights of the year.
Windows Laptop Tablet Hybrids Get Affordable (and good!)
The beginning of the year saw me playing with one of the best ‘affordable’ Windows laptop/tablet hybrids, the Asus T100. Still available now for well under £300 (although no longer in manufacture I believe) - this machine is a better buy than ever, now that Windows 8.1 is finally up to the job! Since then, the Dependent on Gadgets household has even put its money where its mouth is and we’ve had one for about 4 months now. No regrets at all - just make sure you budget for a large micro-SD card to bulk out the rather tight storage.
A New (Square) Home
Halfway through the year saw a leap from a self-hosted WordPress site into the arms of SquareSpace, for an all new look and less time spent mucking around with plugins. Three months later, I gave it my review and I must say I still couldn't be happier with the service or the support. The upgrade to version 7 has seen little revolution, but the extra polish to the interface is welcome, as is the ability to easily see what the site will look like on different screen sizes via the browser window.
Recognition and Gadget Dream Achieved
My first published review for the launch of the new site, was also one of my most exciting. The Brydge+ keyboards for iPad had scored masses of publicity when they first popped up on the KickStarter crowd-funding platform a few years ago. They were one of the first to smash their funding goal and actually bring products to market.
I’d lusted after the aluminum design that made an iPad feel like a mini-Macbook Pro and the engineering appeared to be up there with Apple’s own. Sadly, getting one in the UK was way out of my budget, so I could only enjoy the pictures. That is until I was contacted by the new owners to say that they now shipped around the world and would I like to review one? As you can see, they more than measured up to my lofty expectation and the new version for iPad Air has been getting similar praise elsewhere.
A New (Artistic) Direction
There was obviously a growing sense in me that technology was beginning to peak a bit, as I complained that Smartphones are boring, and I greeted the Apple Watch with some scepticism too. Blogging never lost its thrill though as I tried a new angle when I interviewed Sabri’s Studio and wrote all about how an art and design studio start-up made it all happen without the budget for the shiniest tech. It reminded me that really what keeps me interested is how technology affects our lives. It must help us or entertain us. Otherwise it’s just a trinket.
The Game-Changer of 2014 Arrives
When the Apple Watch arrives, I’ll be as keen as the next gadget nut to get a look, but something else also came along to show me that there is still plenty of reason to remain excited - the Oculus Rift! I probably spent less than 20 minutes using this development version of the Facebook owned virtual reality headset. I rode rollercoasters and explored beautiful houses from the comfort of the office. I came out knowing that this was a game-changer, and also that I would need a regular supply of sea-sickness tablets!
Don't Throw it Away - Accessorise!
More recently, I’ve had fun playing with accessories that help me get more out of my existing kit. The Sony SBH20 is a headset with a removable bluetooth adaptor that has a 9 hour battery life. I bought mine to convert my headphones to wireless, but it’s actually ended up in the kitchen, where my old PC speakers are now on the breakfast bar, given a new lease of life streaming Spotify from my mobile as I (attempt to) cook.
The other gadget surprise of recent times was the Kingston MobileLite G2. A friend bought one and lent me it for review joking that he would need the review to fully understand what it was for himself! Turns out it’s a bit of a gem, providing extra power for your phone, sharing a 3G dongle connection over WIFI and streaming movies, music and photos of memory cards to your tablet or mobile. I had great fun playing with it and writing about it. Little known it may be, it’s also one of this year’s most clicked on articles.
Award for Most Popular Post is...
So what’s been the most popular post on Dependent on Gadgets this year? Well, having done this a while now, I know the most popular post may not be my best one, or indeed the most popular gadget. After all, if I'm writing about an iPad, I'm competing with many, much bigger sites than mine and it may not turn up in the search results. Rather it’s the more niche posts where Dependent on Gadgets makes it into the first or second page of results that tend to keep getting the clicks.
This year it appears that a lot of you needed to answer the same question as me, is it worth upgrading from a Kindle Keyboard E-Reader to a Kindle Paperwhite?
I had no choice, but I’m glad I was able to share the results with you.
So that’s 2014 nearly done with and I wonder what 2015 will bring?
2015 will almost certainly kick off with some more smartwatch related posts, partly because I now own one and partly because the Apple Watch is nearly here. I also intend to look more closely at the virtual reality scene, starting with the cheapest way in, Google Cardboard. And I’ll also be looking at micro-projectors, starting again with the cheapest possible and working my way up to the sweet spot, wherever that may be.
On top of all that, Dependent on Gadgets will also be attending the UK Blog Awards in April as a finalist!
Wishing all my readers a Happy New Year for 2015! See you on the other side.
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