April 7, 2011

Bonus - "Where do I go to research new tech?"

I call it my “ugly pile.”

It’s a small stack of gadgets sitting in a darkened corner of my basement. This is where all my failed tech goes to roost – the stuff I bought that didn’t quite work out the way I hoped. The Rocket eBook reader that was before it’s time. The X10 media streamer that couldn’t stream. I’d throw it all away, but I can’t really admit defeat.

You see, I’m a bit (ok a lot) of a gear head. Cameras. Laptops. Media thingies. I love it all because it makes my life easier or better. Crying child? Read a book on the tablet. On the go? Stream a movie over the Internet to my phone.

I keep the ugly pile small by doing a whole lot of research, whether it’s a new laptop or a bag that holds everything. Before I hit retail, I want to know everything I can. Here’s where I look:

Researching gadgets.
With gadgets, I’m trying to find out every last detail of the user experience – how does the gadget feel, how does the interface work. Here’s where I look:
·      Start – Google Search for reviews
·      Forums – Retailer Forums like Amazon and Future Shop
·      Retailers – Future Shop, Best Buy, Newegg
·      Blogs – Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable
·      Social Media: Ask a question via Twitter or Facebook

Researching camera equipment.
I come armed with specific questions about cameras and camera accessories. How does it do this? How does it do that?

·      Start – My favourite photographer sites/blogs like strobist.com, joemcnally.com/blog, blog.chasejarvis.com/blog
·      Forums – Digital Photography Review (a must), Google Search for reviews
·      Retailers – B&H, Adorama, Vistek, Henry’s, Camera Canada
·      Social Media – Flickr is a great place to ask questions of professionals
·      Other – Ask people who know cameras – friends, photographers, etc.

Researching computers.
After figuring out what I need it for, I look for what’s going to be important in next generation stuff (no $399 laptop specials need apply) and what little extras exist to surprise me.
·      Start – Search gadget blogs like Gizmodo and Engadget for new trends
·      Forums – I love Google Product Search. I search for products, then read retailer reviews
·      Retailers – Depends on what I find in my forum search
·      Social Media – I’ll use a Facebook forum like the Intel Canada page
·      Other – Friends, friends and friends. Call ‘em up and ask for their experience

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