It’s interesting to look back at everything I’ve built, read, installed, purchased, or otherwise experienced throughout the past year. The lists that follow (in no particular order) are my 2019 favorites.
RV Projects and Items
New RV Locks
Since the day I took home the travel trailer, the locks had bothered me. With only a small number of unique key pinnings and different keys for each one, they were inconvenient to use and too insecure. I replaced them with a non-mastered, relatively unique pinning that’s shared among all four locks (one key!).
Victron Dashboard Improvements
Using two great pieces of hardware (a DC-DC PoE injector and a Ubiquiti NanoStation loco M2), I was finally able to resolve the majority of the connectivity issues I had with the data feed from the Victron system. Instead of near-daily resets, I have only had to manually reconnect it twice.
HughesNet Satellite Internet
It’d be tough to justify if not using for work, but I’m glad I have it. Aside from the latency, the speeds are on par with many terrestrial connections. I was very happy to have it at Glacier National Park where the volume of people left Verizon LTE unusable.
This is a few years old now, but 2019 was the year I set it up to run completely on the DC power of the trailer. It’s great for carrying around an entire media library and not dealing with DVDs.
Kenwood KSC-SW11 12V Subwoofer
Another long-desired addition, this improves the audio quality of the entertainment system immensely. Ceiling speakers just don’t provide adequate bass.
Instead of the harsh overhead light or a phone flashlight, I now have the option of something much more subtle and easier on the eyes.
CorrosionX 61002 RejeX
This is basically a wax substitute for the trailer’s exterior. Applied twice per year, it protects the fiberglass, makes it easier to wash, and looks better.
Raspberry Pi 4
These little computers make excellent dedicated devices without a huge expense. I haven’t yet posted any projects using them, but I will.
Lepow 15” Portable Screen
This laptop-sized screen works exceptionally well as a secondary screen or a primary screen for an embedded system. It’s USB-powered and fairly inexpensive.
Canon EOS M6
After my Canon EOS 1D Mk III died a couple years ago, I held back on replacing it (repairing would cost more than it‘s worth). Not wanting to pay the price of a new SLR, I investigated the mirrorless line and settled on this one. With an adapter, it works with all of my lenses, and the image quality beats that old SLR easily.
Polaris RZR 900 Trail
What’s not to love? Lacking a good non-winter activity between RV trips, we’d just stay at home. This gets us out into the mountains.
Midland MXT275 15W GMRS MicroMobile Radio
Cell phones don’t work well in the mountains, and handheld radios need regular charging. Powered from the RZR itself, this fulfills our communication needs at a low price.
Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk
RZR accessories are not cheap, Polaris’s official storage box selling at north of $200. For 1/4 of that and a few HVAC zip ties, this box fits perfectly and has more storage space.
RoadPro 12V Portable Stove
Spring and Fall rides can be a bit chilly. This 12V hot box is the difference between a cold sandwich and a hot meal while on the trail.
Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher
The last Adobe product I purchased was CS5. I resent their subscription model that locks me out of everything the moment I stop paying, so I was ecstatic when the Affinity products came along. They work for everything I need and in many areas are superior to their counterparts in the Adobe lineup.
Capture One Pro
I loved Aperture. I still do. But it was time to move on from the abandoned program to something new, something with a future. I still prefer Aperture’s flow, but Capture One redeems itself with editing tools that used to require leaving Aperture.
No matter which applications I use for video, I always end up coming back to Compressor for the final encoding. It’s consistently able to produce both better quality compression and a smaller size.
I’m not as productive in any other editor as I am in PhpStorm. Between an accurate autocomplete, the in-memory index of the code, and the XDebug integration, it greatly speeds up writing.
Terraria is my go-to relaxation game. To me it’s like digital 2D LEGOs. Sometimes I replicate creations of others, sometimes I make my own, and sometimes I fight monsters. The 1.3 update finally made its way to mobile in 2019 and has renewed my enjoyment of it.
This one is a recent find, and I love it. It allows me to listen to virtually any local radio station via their direct feed rather than having to use their absolute garbage apps.
I subscribe to a decent number of RSS feeds, which are my favorite way to aggregate news and articles. Reeder is my app of choice for actually reading them, and Reeder 4 is new for 2019.
The majority of all posts within the past year here are written in it. Everything I write is in Markdown before ultimately getting formatted for viewing.
This is the app for a media center. It works without an internet connection, offers a polished and thoughtful UI, and works on every iOS platform.
MEKO Universal Stylus
While not necessary on an iOS device, a stylus can really save your fingertips on some games. This one is different from most in that it’s not a rubber tip, which are prone to ripping. It includes spare tips.
Google is the largest threat to privacy online, something few value as much as they should. DDG is a privacy-centric search engine that increasingly returns equal or better results than Google (especially recently).
A self-hosted analytics suite for the privacy-conscious. For me, it’s worth it by far to keep that data to myself than to outsource it to something like Google Analytics.
Paid email is worth it. Your data isn’t exposed to advertisers and other unknown services, and you get features not provided by free services such as email aliases. I credit aliases with my ability to keep marketing emails to a minimum.
I deliberately do not post the majority of the books I read despite reading several per month because they offer a far bigger snapshot of me than I’m comfortable disclosing.
Three Body Series
An excellent sci-fi series with a unique take on alien contact and the future of humanity.
One Second After Series
A quick, enjoyable read. They’re not completely accurate on the technical level, but the basic premise is enough to provoke some thought and assessment of your own emergency provisions.
iGage Weatherproof Paper
Yes, paper maps are still a thing. This paper is amazing for printing custom topographic maps.
Wago 221 Wire Nuts
These wire nuts are incredibly useful, allowing the combining of any mix of stranded and solid conductors within the AWG range that can fit.
Wirefy Heat Shrink Crimp Connectors
High quality adhesive-lined heat shrink crimp connectors of various types and sizes. All DC wiring I do ultimately uses some of these.