What I Bought in 2009

I thought I'd look back on 2009 by sharing what technology and technology-related products I purchased during the year (inspired by David Pogue's blog post). Yes, it does add up to a pretty penny. I'm thankful for eBay and the ability to easily sell my purchases when I replace them with newer and shinier ones.




iMac 27" Quad-Core
I moved up from a 3 year old 24" iMac to a brand new 27" iMac. I love having the extra screen space. The display is extra wide, making it perfect for having two windows open side-by-side. This is the most powerful computer I've ever used. It actually has four processing cores (most Macs have 2 cores). Although most software doesn't take full advantage of the processing power, that will be changing. I have really enjoyed editing video on this machine. The iMac's included touch-sensitive Magic Mouse is pretty nice too.

iMac 27"

Acer AZ5610 Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop PC
I'm not just a Mac user. I'm really digging Windows 7 and I'm fascinated by touchscreen computers, so I bought an Acer desktop computer with a touchscreen. It's like using a giant iPhone. Although the screen does get smudgy, it only bothers me when the display is off because that's the only time I see fingerprints. Compared to the iMac, the Acer AZ5610 has a cheap feel and a loud fan.

Acer AZ5610 Touchscreen Desktop

iPhone 3GS
I've owned all three versions of the iPhone. Yes, I stood in line to buy the original iPhone in 2007. I upgraded from the 3G to the 3GS because I wanted the extra processor speed and video camera. The 3GS feels snappier and apps launch more quickly. Just last week there's a new app that allows older iPhones to take video. However, the video quality is very poor, especially compared to the 3GS's.

I sold my iPhone 3G 16GB on eBay for $315. You might wonder why someone would pay that much when they could get a new one for $99. That $99 price is with a two-year contract. For those that don't want a contract, are already under contract, or have lost or broken their phone, it's cheaper to buy a used phone than to pay the full $399 price tag.

iPhone 3GS

iPod nano with Video
My Flip video camera broke this year. I was going to replace it. Instead, for about the same price, I bought an iPod nano. The newest nano sports a built-in video camera and microphone. The quality is nearly as good as my Flip (not HD) and it also has the advantage of being an iPod. (I know what you're thinking--I have an iPhone 3GS that already takes video. I really bought this iPod for when I conduct workshops about iPods.)

iPod nano with camera

I've used a USB wireless connection card to connect to the internet for a couple of years. Since I travel so much, I like being able to go online no matter where I am. It's also nice to have a backup for the few occasions my cable internet goes out at home. The trouble with a USB card is that you can only use it with one computer at a time. While MiFi can connect to a computer with a USB cable, it's main feature is that it creates a Wi-Fi network where up to five devices can connect at once. This has been useful for going online with an iPod touch.

MiFi Card

Nikon D60
The D60 is digital SLR camera, which is a higher-end camera with a removable lens. A point-and-shoot camera is more compact, but an SLR gives you more control over the image. Even though I've had the camera for nine months, I have yet to watch its instructional DVD. I need to view this because I know I could be taking better pictures with this camera.

Nikon D60 SLR Camera

CableDrop Multi-Purpose Cable Clips
As you might image, I have lots of cords and cables draped around my desk. I have lots of gadgets to plug in. The problem is that when I unplug a device, the cord annoyingly falls behind my desk. This happened a lot with my laptop power cord. Not any more now that I use a CableDrop clip. It adheres to the back of my desk and keeps my cable in place. Unlike the my previous masking tape solution, this one looks better and allows the cord to slide up and down.

CableDrop Clips

5 Outlet Squid Surge Protector
I bought two of these recently when they went on sale at Buy.com for $10 each. (If you follow me on Twitter, I like to share when I find exceptional deals.) When not on sale, they're twice that price. Unlike a typical power strip, the Squid's outlets are separate so large power adapters never take up more than one outlet. I've learned that not all power strips are also surge protectors, but this one is.

Power Squid

Monoprice Accessories
I have made several purchases from monoprice.com. I wrote about the site's selection of iPod and iPhone accessories in August. Their cases are less than $2, wall chargers are $4, and external battery packs are $9. I've also bought MacBook video adapters and HDMI cables from Monoprice. These prices are a fraction of what I would have paid at retailers like Apple, Best Buy, and Amazon.

Monoprice Accessories


iPhone Apps
I've spend over $100 in the App Store in 2009 (but my free apps far outnumber my paid apps). Some that I bought this year include TomTom USA, CNN Mobile, Sketchy, Red Laser, ESPN Spelling Bee, ReelDirector, and The RAG.


Airlock is Macintosh software that allows the computer to lock itself when I am not nearby. How does Airlock know if I am near? It senses if my iPhone is in proximity using Bluetooth. Since I always have my phone in my pocket or in my hand, my computer essentially knows if I'm nearby. I work in all sorts of locations with my laptop. So if somehow my laptop is swiped, at least my data is locked down. If I'm a classroom teacher, Airlock would be a very convenient method of locking nosy students out of my computer when I'm not around.

Airlock Control Panel

ScreenFlow 2.0
ScreenFlow is Mac-only software for making screencasts. I bought ScreenFlow a couple years ago and loved it so much I paid for the 2.0 upgrade that came out a couple months ago. I've used ScreenFlow to make informercials and how-tos. I also use ScreenFlow in combination with iMovie to create video episodes of the Learning in Hand: iPods podcast.

Screenflow 2.0

Snow Leopard
I shelled out $29 to upgrade my MacBook Pro from OSX 10.5 to 10.6. There really aren't that many differences. Supposedly my computer is faster, but I can't tell.

Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

iLife '09
The iLife '09 suite of Mac software was released in January. iPhoto has the most useful new features for me, including facial recognition and publishing to Flickr and Facebook. iMovie '09 brings back many of the options that went missing in iMovie '08. In fact, I have almost stopped using iMovie HD (from 2006) because iMovie '09 is now meeting more of my needs.

iMovie 09