Simply the best: My gadget picks for 2008


It’s easy to forget that we at CrunchGear are taking part in a mild, nebbish, and highly organized form of hedonism. We become inured to the lures of technology, and like rheumy-eyed Caligulas we survey the mass of writhing, oiled bodies and yearn for something new, something to break the hard bolus of cynicism and distrust we have growing inside us like a dark, terrible pearl.

To offset this, I’ve picked a few great pieces of kit that I’ve enjoyed this year including one pink and cuddly one that has essentially taken over my life.


Robot Dreams – This book by Sara Varon has become a favorite around the house, so much so that I’ve read it about twenty times in the past few weeks. There are no words, just pictures, so it’s easy for younger kids to build a story around the poignant tale of a dog who builds a robot and then loses him on the beach. It’s a commentary on friendship, technology, and crazy raccoons that is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

SodaStream – If you really want to feel like you’re living through a depression why not make your own seltzer? SodaStream, which Doug reviewed here is a handy little system that includes a CO2 cartridge and some bottles. You fill the bottles with water, press a button, and viola! Seltzer! We’ve completely stopped buying store-bought seltzer and we are all the better for it.

JVC Everio GZ-HD40U – I love the JVC Everio line and this camera has been my tried and true friend for the past few months. She may be a bit bulky, but she’s got 120GB of storage space and takes great video.
Haan Floor Steamer – I don’t know how these Haan floor steamers work but the one we have seems to make it easy to clean hardwood floor and tile. I’m usually the floor cleaning guy – I love the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap – so I was used to crawling around cleaning all of the rooms and halls in our house. With the Haan I can just bathe the floors in 212 degree heat. You still need to sweep first because dust bunnies become a nasty paste when the steam hits them but the results are pretty nice. You also don’t need any more oil soap because the cleaner uses only water. That kind of makes me sad.

Milla Sadie Biggs – She’s a sweetie.

Canon Rebel XSi – I just upgraded my Rebel XT and I’m glad to say that the XSi is more of the same and then some. It’s not a major upgrade, to be sure, but the extra megapixels, focus systems, and bigger screen make for a nice improvement over the runty XT.


Logitech MX Revolution – When I die, you can bury me with this mouse. After years of using a dirty, old Microsoft mouse I upgraded last week and will never look back. The laser works on glass, the buttons are responsive, and the scroll wheel has an unlocking system that turns pornography browsing into a walk on the beach.

Samsung Innov8 – This is an odd one to add because I haven’t been able to find it in the States but this is a Series 60 world phone with 8-megapixel camera and it’s not made by Nokia. The Samsung Innov8 is a good, solid cellphone that rivals the N95 in features and quality.

Good PR People – There has been a lot of sass coming from the TC sites lately and I wanted to make it clear that I don’t think all PR people are overpaid lobbyists but only the ones who still cling to the outdated notions of exclusivity and dirty dealings. Everything except the book in this list was pitched to me by a PR person so gentle and loving that the relationship seemed consensual. Like the Ommatokoita elongata to the Greenland shark, PR people are the symbiotic parasites that cling to our eyes and eat our corneas while leading us dull-witted reporters to more prey. Thanks!

And with that I wish you all a happy holiday and hope you share plenty of hugs, not drugs, this year.