PC World’s 100 Best Products of 2010

John writes his thoughts about PC World’s “Best Tech Products for 2010” and asks about others’ intersections.  Here are mine:

#2 Apple iPad — to be honest, when it was announced, I didn’t really see the big deal.  However, then I got an iPhone 4 (six months after ditching my Windows laptop for a MacBook Pro).  I now have a better appreciation for them.  As I am not generally an early adopter, and a bit of a pixeler, I’m waiting for generation 2 or 3, which should be about the time when my MacBook’s ready to be retired.

#3 Amazon Kindle — this is another device that I’ve had a hard time seeing the point of.  I <3 Books.  Furthermore, I am spoiled by the King County Library System‘s hold system and having a spouse who deals with my kids’ voracious reading habit by making weekly trips to the library.  Essentially, I login to the web site, put books on hold, and they magically appear on my chair at home.  We might consider picking one up for my daughter who has problems with the smallish fonts of books.

#4 Netflix – I’ve been a long time customer.  Haven’t set foot in a Blockbuster since they dinged me for a late fee in 1998.  Netflix’s streaming system works pretty well in conjunction with a Roku (though I now understand it’ll work with our Wii).  With rare exceptions, the streaming content is >2 years old, but considering how infrequently I go to the cinema, that’s OK. (Update: I’ve also tried Hulu and PlayOn.)

#13 Apple iPhone 4 – After being on a pay-by-the-minute plan for a few years, I finally found a phone that didn’t suck.  The internet browsing experience is good enough that I don’t always have to carry my MacBook with me.  The camera takes photos that are actually pretty good.  The GPS is good enough for car navigation, though  some geocaching applications don’t seem to work well. (Update: what swayed me towards iPhone versus Android was that work would pick up the data plan cost, since I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping up with email.)

#14 Google Chrome – I’ve only recently started using Google Chrome because (a) they now permit browser plugins like AdBlock (because I’d go epileptic with all the flashy fly by crap otherwise) and (b) Firefox’s quality has gone downhill.  I don’t know if that’s because the Adobe Flash plugin is a piece of crashy malodorous equine output, or if Mozilla’s genuinely lost its direction.  Apple’s Safari is a pretty good browser, too, but until recently, has lacked the plugin capability. Both Chrome and Safari are very fast.

#19 Microsoft Office 2010 – I think Microsoft Office 2007 was jarring because it inflicted The Ribbon, and I spent more time trying to find stuff.  After three years, I’ve gotten used to it.  Mostly. The 2010 release itself feels far less bloated than its predecessors. Outlook’s search capability is up to what Google offered in 2001.  (Hint: searching on “John Chawner” should not return the union of queries with “John” and “Chawner”)

#23. Canon Pixma MG8120 – when I was looking to replace my HP multifunction printer, I briefly tried another HP.  It was so bad, I returned it the next day.  (Thank you, Costco!)  I almost picked the Pixma, but the Lexmark had cheaper ink.

#34 Google Voice – I’ve had a number for a while (hint: it spells “bacon”), initially as a fallback if I ditched my (then) T-mobile number for a (now) AT&T iPhone.  More recently, I use it for screening calls and as a cheap way to text message. Transcription is pretty cool.

#41 Google Gmail – this is my second favorite Google offering, behind their maps.  I’ve been using it since 2004 and, boy, does it surpass Outlook/Exchange (even the newest one): messages are threaded by default, search works, and it’s accessible from every machine I use.

#54 Rovio Angry Birds. Cute game and a fine time waster for that five minutes before the meeting when people are rolling in.  It’s big enough that there is even a video spoof.

#64 Facebook. Facebook.  Facebook.  Having done Friendster, burnt out on Orkut, and skipped entirely MySpace, I had pretty low expectations for The Latest Social Media Thing.  But once I got a handle on the privacy settings (hint: don’t share what you don’t want people to know), filtered out the mindless games, it’s a hyper RSS feed for keeping up with my friends.

#100 Ubuntu Linux – Since my product is multiplatform, I spend a fair bit of time keeping tabs on Linux directions from the context of what’s gaining market share and what’s easy to maintain.   RedHat is still the big kahuna, SUSE seems to be on the downward spiral, but Ubuntu keeps gaining momentum.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

3 thoughts on “PC World’s 100 Best Products of 2010”

  1. iPad is useful for meetings and for checking email in bed- basically a half-laptop. Certainly not a “change the world” invention (ahh, Segway).

    I’d buy a Kindle but I don’t do DRM. Sorry. In fact, I’d probably have three or more Kindles except for the DRM issue.

    Netflix streaming is a fail, except with people who primarily watch TV shows. I’ve been a subscriber since 2000, though.

    iPhone: sorry, I do the android. I have opinions, probably easy to guess 🙂 I’m not an apple fanboy.

    Chrome does adblock? That’s why I haven’t switched. Well, and I’m developing and use ffox for that, but I should switch other bits.

    Office: ugh, I hate the ribbon! I use openoffice, most cool kids seem to be using Google Docs.

    Google Voice: I don’t even know my actual cell phone number. GV rocks. It’s nice to get texts on the phone as well as in email, voicemails in email/text/audio, etc.

    It’s hard to beat Ubuntu in the linux space, except for *some* server environments and for low-fat installations like cell phones and old netbooks.

  2. That’s another aspect of the Kindle that’s been discouraging. Curiously, I’ve purchased more music from Amazon than iTunes because Amazon offers DRM-free (not that it would currently affect me either way). But then, I avoid Amazon’s streaming movies because their DRM is absurd: I have to watch the movie within a few weeks of purchase, 24 hours from when I start playing it, and I can only watch it once. Clearly written by people who didn’t have kids.

    One thing that swayed me towards the iPhone was being able to get work mail (and their picking up the cost of the data plan). When the contract is up, I’ll reevaluate the state of Android.

    Google docs is very appealing for the same reason Gmail is — documents are available from any machine and can be shared.

  3. Jim:

    I would consider an Android phone if it were on AT&T cuz that’s what we have at work. Otherwise, the iPhone seems to be the best thing out there. I just don’t know if I can stand the smug hipster image.

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