When I was a professional blogger, December was one of my favorite months of the year. Because December is when I rolled out the year-end Best Of and Top 10 lists on ReadWrite. It’s a tradition dating back to 2004. While that’s only 8 human years ago, in Internet years it’s about 3 eras. Consider that in 2004 I named Ludicorp as Best LittleCo. Who? Ludicorp started out as an online gaming company, but then pivoted into Flickr and was eventually sold to Yahoo.
The year-end posts have a history, is what I’m saying. So I hope ReadWrite, under its new leadership, continues that tradition and posts Best BigCo, Best LittleCo, Most Promising, Top 10 Consumer Apps, Top 10 Enterprise Apps, etc. I know that people enjoyed reading those lists, nearly as much as I and my former colleagues enjoyed writing them.
I may be in my Book Writer era now, but the urge to list my favorite things of the year is still with me. So following is my Top 10 technology products and companies of 2012. Here goes, in a semblance of order.
1. My most favorite tech product of 2012: Evernote
Evernote was my number 1 app of last year and, if anything, it’s even more important to me now. It’s where I store all of my book research – and I’ve been doing a lot of that since I left ReadWrite in October. It’s where I do my planning and where I store all of my notes, business and personal. Evernote bills itself as an online brain; and I have to say it’s lived up to that branding. I still carry around a little red notebook, for the pleasure of the pen, but almost all of my note-taking these days is done in Evernote.
2. My favorite health app: 23andMe
My upcoming book will be about personalised healthcare. The personal genomics company, 23andMe, is going to be a part of that. I did my first DNA test this year through 23andMe; and what I discovered is the most exciting technology in my life right now. Stay tuned for more on this topic from me in 2013.
3. My favorite social network: Facebook
Of The Big 3 social networks, I use Facebook the most. I use Twitter regularly (more so for tracking, than tweeting) and Google+ sporadically. As a tool for professional use, Facebook is clunky and sometimes even flakey. But it’s where I have the most engaged network and it allows me to write the longer, more thoughtful posts that suit my thinking style.
4. My favorite music app: Spotify
As a lifelong music fan – and now (very) amateur musician, in that I’m learning the guitar – Spotify is one of my most used apps. The ability to stream whole albums and access new music from third party apps like Pitchfork and We Are Hunted, is what makes Spotify a must-have for me. The lack of some of the biggest names, like the Beatles and Pink Floyd, is a lingering #firstworldproblems annoyance. But otherwise, Spotify rocks.
5. My favorite Twitter app: Ost
Despite not being a prolific tweeter (just as I’m not a prolific loudmouth), I use Twitter a lot for the purpose of news and information tracking. For that, a new – still private alpha – app has been a revelation for me this year. It started out being called State, but is now known as Ost (I have no idea what the new name means). Simply put, Ost allows me to monitor multiple pages of topical Twitter content. So, for example, I have a page for Genomics – which includes columns of individual Twitter users (like the @23andme account), Twitter lists (I typically subscribe to existing lists, rather than try and re-create the wheel with my own lists), hashtags and Twitter searches. Ost also supports App.net and a couple of other services, but Twitter is what I mainly use it for.
6. My favorite mobile app: Instapaper
Every day when I go to my local cafe, I browse through the communal newspaper and then open up Instapaper on my iPhone. There I have a bunch of Web articles that I’ve saved for reading later. I also like that I can press the little heart icon to automatically save an article into Evernote – very handy for research.
7. My favorite productivity app: Byword
I’m writing this post in Byword, a minimalist yet classy word processing app for Mac. I will also be using this app to write my book.
8. My Best LittleCo: Goodreads
I’ve been really impressed with Goodreads, the book social network, this year. It seems to be growing strongly, but more importantly the book content and networking on this site is second to none (IMHO). It still needs a major re-design, but apart from that it’s a wonderful destination site for bookworms. As well, I think it will be a very useful promotional service for me when I publish my book.
9. My Best BigCo: Apple
OK this isn’t an “app,” but given my ReadWriteWeb history it behoves me to select my favorite BigCo of the year. I’ve been impressed with Amazon and Google this year. And personally I love that I can now buy my clothing on Amazon, so I get a lot of benefit out of Amazon.com other than just filling up my Kindle. But when it comes down to it, I only need to look around my home office to see which BigCo is my favorite: iPhone, iMac, iPad, iFanboy…
10. My most promising for 2013: Fitbit
Last but not least, here’s my pick for most promising for next year: Fitbit. Not so much for its products, such as the Fitbit One pedometer I just bought and the wifi scales which I also have now. More for its online health tracking portal and my personal Fitbit data, which I’m hoping to be able to increasingly use on third party sites over 2013. Personal health is a crowded market though and I’m keen to test out some of the other apps in the health tracking space: UP, Basis, Nike+, etc.
There you have it, FWIW, my picks for the top 10 tech products and companies of 2012!