It's almost a new year, and it appears that all-of-a-sudden I have this need - almost a compulsion - to revamp some of my most highly entrenched tech habits.
Firstly, I've used Firefox since it was called Phoenix/Firebird. What a great browser! I'm typing in it right now. One of the main things I use Firefox for is my RSS reader. But lately, I've become dissatisfied with that feature. I found myself expanding each feed individually 10+ times a day just to check and see if I could get my "what's new on the 'net?" fix. Any idle moment caused me to be drawn to my bookmarks toolbar. I finally said, "enough" and succumbed to Google reader. I'm still not entirely thrilled with the whole "read/unread" e-mail metaphor for RSS feeds, but it solved my problem - now I only check my feeds once a day, and no longer get pulled away from Visual Studio by the need for a quick-fix-link-fest. And for low volume blogs, I don't even have to click through to see if I've seen everything. For the high volume stuff, I mark huge swaths of uninteresting junk as "read" while clicking on the occasional nugget here or there.
But then - something strange started happening. Without the draw of the Firefox Bookmarks bar, I started getting interested in Google's Chrome browser. And things have snowballed from there. So, in honor of a new year I've decided to enumerate my top 10 major tech swings of late - really more for my benefit than yours - so here they are in no particular order:
- Switched from Firefox to Google Reader for RSS feeds - outcome: Satisfied
- Started using Chrome more since Firefox isn't my RSS reader - outcome: Scared of Google's continued hold on me
- Switched from Zune to iPod nano 5th gen for my tunes/podcasts - outcome: LOVE IT
- Switched from Windows Media Player to iTunes because of the need to manage my iPod - outcome: iPod == good... iTunes == evil. I miss WMP, but since not even my Zune let me use it, I'd given up on it long ago...
- Switched from OpenOffice back to MS Office - with the home edition being sold for only $100, it finally seemed worth it to me to use Office - outcome: Satisfied
- Received a Garmin for Christmas - switched from old fashioned hand-written directions and Google maps printouts. Amazed at how much I really like it despite my previously mixed feelings from last summer's trip. - outcome: Strangely addicted to it, and slightly happy to reduce Google's hold on my life in one small area
- Switched from buying mostly paper tech books to buying mostly PDFs for tech books. Uploaded them to a private Google docs account outcome: Meh. I don't read the PDFs as thoroughly. But being searchable, readable on my phone, accessible anywhere (yeah... there's Google again), and taking up no physical room in my house are big wins for me.
- All family contacts are now managed via our family GMail account, which should make it easier to keep up-to-date and do our Christmas cards next year. outcome: Why didn't I do this before!?
- We finally are going to get a texting plan for our cell phones. outcome: Yet to be determined.
- Strongly considering ditching the land-line and getting an iPhone or Android phone this Summer. Especially after reading this news and this news which came out today. outcome: Still deciding
- Facebook - (mostly)
- Twitter - I've no desire what-so-ever