My Best Tech investments of 2018

So when folks say they have writers block, they arent kidding that it is frustrating as hell when you love writing, yet cant find anything truely meaningful to write about that isnt complete garbage. But I got reading a few blogs and YouTube videos of how people’s 2018 have been, what tech they have purchases and all those top X countdown videos that spurred me an idea.2018 has been an interesting an fully knowledable year, but also a tough year mentally, financially and emotionally.
Beginning learning PHP Development, starting my job at Flywheel, learning at the ins and outs of my job, selling my broken car and picking up cycling, trips to melbourne and starting up my blog again! It has been a busy year indeed, but also filled with techie things in the year as well!
So I figured as my last post for 2018 I would
In no particular order, here are my best tech investments of 2018!


1) Nintendo Switch

So for starters I wasnt a massive Nintendo gamer at all growing up. I was a PC kid, however I had family and friends who owned a Nintendo 64 so I knew of the likes of Golden Eye, the earlier FIFA games, Mario Kart & Diddy Kong Racing to name a few. But over the years I have evolved and changed how I play games. When I started with Flywheel most of the folks I knew had one, and when I tried one in store I ended up picking one up a week later.
I am consistently surprised as to how the switch performs with ported games, even with things made for PC first and then brought to the platform (like Dead Cells, Warframe, Stardew Valley and Into The Breach), they handle exceptionally well on the console and allow hours and hours of enjoyment. This has been slowly became my main console for games as more indie games are attracting my attention these days after the repetitiveness of AAA titles and their issues at launch. There are few AAA games that can hold my attention for continuous repetitive play and I have found so many really good games on the switch that can be played for ages and I don’t get bored.

Dead Cells is mostly my main go to game for this platform, but I do have a few others (mentioned above) that play really well on the platform and stop me from putting the console down like Diablo 3, which is the first Diablo game I have ever played and is by far, one of the best games ported to the switch.
One of the best things I have done with the console was on a recent trip to Melbourne, playing Mario Kart in a big TV with my mates (who all had switches) and playing with the Joy Cons and a controller. This was bloody fun and one of the main selling points of the switch to consumers, a large opportunity for interplay with other consoles, both the Switch itself and PCs and Xbox Ones, depending on what game you are playing. Overall, a handy piece of kit that goes well in my travel bag!
 

2) Swapping to iOS from Android

This one is a bit controversial and I did write a whole piece around it, but my reasoning behind this is fairly straightforward. I change phones every year apart of my leasing contract with my phone company. Apart of that leasing program, I have gotten to try Notes, Pixels, Nexus, and an iPhone 6 Plus. That was years and years ago and I haven’t had an iPhone as a daily carry for 5 years. I decided this was time for a change and since I was familiar with multiple iPad pros and iOS as a whole, the change wasnt hard at all.

I had a lot of the apps I use either paid for or ready to go from my old phone (with a few exceptions to things like Apple Wallet, Authy and and Timeshiftr which I had to setup manually), or I had used on the iPad and just needed to be redownloaded.
Also anyone who uses Android phones should know that all your contacts are stored in Google, so the first account I log into is my Personal Gmail account, and everything just carries over. Modern Technology does kind of spoil us now in the simplicity of how easy it is to go and get started with what we need.
Since I have a work MacBook Pro I can make use of iMessage on the desktop, the accuracy of Apples Health Kit on the phone and watch, use detailed and powerful apps on the Apple Watch Series 3 and make use of a really really (but second to the Pixel) good Camera when I travel. The downsides so far have been a need now to carry extra cables instead of my all USB-C bag before (except watch charger), but all in all I am really enjoying the iOS life. (plus using an Apple Watch as a cycling computer really helps with accountability).


3) Using Local by Flywheel for learning PHP Development

(disclaimer here I do work for Flywheel)
So one of the things I have been undertaking since working with Flywheel, is continuing my web development learning experience through PHP/WordPress Development since starting with Flywheel.
One of the go to tools I have been using is Local. I have seen that getting things like WordPress installed locally, PHP, MYSQL and a container to keep everything in is a pain for working with Local development. Local has made learning things WAY easier and more streamlined from what I am used to from Web Development. I thoroughly recommend this software.


4) Airpods!

This has been a recent addition as a christmas gift from my partner this christmas. But in the few days I have used them after Christmas, my God, I didnt understand the benefits of having really decent Bluetooth earbuds before, but this is a must of iOS users. I came from a pair of Blueant Air wireless buds, but over time one of the ears lost audio and their volume dropped expenentially so thats not really what I want in a pair of buds (they were also really hard to pair to other devices and consistently lost charge after a quoted 4-5 hour battery life and rarely lasted longer than 3 to 4).
So far, I have used them in the car as to replace the lack of a decent sound system, at the gym, cycling and while at work.  There are a few concerns to them fitting my ears properly, but I must be in the percentile of folks that they fit well in comfort wise, as they havent fallen out just yet!


5) Duolingo

I made a proactive effort the last couple months to start learning a language and I have chosen German for that. Duolingo has been incredible as a platform to learn how to speak the language and makes it fun and a bit competitive with myself trying to beat scores and keep streaks (I’m really bad at that…. Fyi).
The app works well and saves progress well, however one thing I stumbled on is a superb web app as well. Being able to learn on now every device has definitely been a good way to help me keep myself accountable for learning the language and being consistent.
My favourite feature is being able to set times for reminders when to study, and for me, 7pm works great, rather than some random time during the day and the push notification, doesnt work and I lose progress since I was preoccupied doing something else. Using this feature has been definitely a huge component as well of consistent study.
 

Well that is all of the decent things I can think of this year that are definately changing the way I work and have been decent investments this year! Thank you for reading to the blog, coming to the site and sticking with my short podcast this year.
2019 will be a productive and learning year for me, so Im excited of whats to come! Happy New Year everyone!

Sam is a self taught Developer, focusing on Web Technologies and E-Commerce. He is also an avid writer, blogger and gamer. You can commonly see Sam toying around with web technologies or working on his Podcast, Markup.

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