Favorite Discoveries of 2013

Another year is ending, so here’s my list of the favorite things I discovered in 2013.

  • Here’s The Thing podcast. I heard about it from a tweet from John Siracusa and it’s a fantastic show. Alec Baldwin is a great interviewer and gets the absolute best guests. Sad thing is that most of the new episodes are reposts. I recommend the David Letterman, Billy Joel, Brian Williams, Dwight Gooden, and Robert Lustig episodes.
  • Nest thermostat.  It was a gift from my Dad and I was able to install it in about an hour. It’s keeps a history and learns your behavior and tries to save you money on your electric bill. And I think it’s saved us $30 a month actually. But the killer feature is grabbing your phone, launching the app, and changing the temperature in the house without having to get out of bed.
  • The Walking Dead game. Developed by Telltale Games, who may be the most human game developer out there, this is a superb game. So emotional. Lauren and I played it together (I held the controller) and at times we both teared up. Just wonderful.
  • The iTunes Artwork Finder, by Ben Dobson. To simplify how we watch movies and TV shows, I decided to put all the AVI and MKV files I have into iTunes. That meant using Handbrake to convert to MP4, but iTunes wants cover art for every file. This web site is written by a freelance developer as a tool he used for himself to get album art from the iTunes Store API. Now it searches for Movies, TV, and more. See also iFlicks 2 in the Mac App Store.
  • The Firestone Auto Care franchise in Mount Juliet. I used to work at an office within walking distance of a Firestone, but since changing jobs and moving to a new house I hadn’t found a new place to take my car. This Firestone is never busy, I never need an appointment, and it’s in the adjacent parking lot to the restaurant Cheddar’s, which has a good chicken tenders and a decent bar.
  • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. On 19th Ave in Midtown, I’ve found my new favorite joint. And the last several times I’ve gone there, I’ve ordered the exact same thing: Large white meat plate, Hot, fries and slaw, and banana pudding. My goal is to work up to the Extra Hot, which will undoubtedly murder my taste buds in the best way possible.
  • Super Stickman Golf 2. I’ve played this little game for over 150 hours. I’ve made in-app purchases just to support the developer. I love this little game.
  • Candy Apple flavored Milky Way minis. Found them at Target in the Halloween candy section. They might soon break into my Top 5 candy bars.
  • Olivia Louise Johnson. This year my wife gave birth to our first child, Olivia. She’s such a happy baby. She has a big smile, bright eyes, and the fastest growing fingernails I’ve ever seen. She is alert, she interacts, and she loves to grab at my beard. She’s pretty awesome. She has changed my life for the better.