2014 Year-End Review of Enduring Tech


Over the years I’ve published several posts about various devices. Frequently, I’ll return to the original posts and add notes describing my experiences with those gadgets that include details such as whether or not I still use them or if they turned out to be as useful as advertised.

For this post I’ve chosen to highlight the devices that I still use, at least a few times each year, that have endured and remain useful. Though I’ve acquired some excellent gadgets in 2014 I’ve chosen to exclude those here as those items have not yet been used for an extended period.

Unfortunately this won’t include every device worthy of this recognition – only those that I’ve previously highlighted in this blog. In addition, I chose not to write about all of the devices that have since failed, or failed to live up to expectations – those experiences are typically available in the older posts.

But my search for technology that works well, and meets or exceeds expectations, is the reason that I maintain this blog. Over the years I’ve chosen to share several experiences in the hopes that they’ll either serve as good recommendations or, unfortunately, as suggestions to avoid certain products (or at least know what to expect from them).

I’ll begin with the oldest item first.


iPod nano (1st Generation)


My iPod nano was not my first portable, digital music player but it was my first Apple iPod and this little device has served me well. I received it from my father as a college graduation gift and for many years, until I purchased my first iPod touch (and later an iPhone) it was my only digital music player.

In this case I don’t have a link to a blog post that serves as a review of this device, only a later post discussing a case and a software mod. But it’s certainly worth mentioning.

Over the years it’s had some minor issues. A couple of times I had to simply wipe the device and start over to resolve some sync/storage issues, though that’s a rare problem. The most significant issue was that the battery stopped holding a charge for more than a day but the fix was relatively simple – I was able to purchase a replacement battery from Amazon.com that continues to work perfectly.

It’s amazing, and great, that this little device continues to work as well as it did the first day that I received it. Sure, it pales in comparison to current generation iPods in terms of its capabilities but what it can do it still does well.


A Good, Inexpensive Pair of Headphones (JVC HA-S150-RX)

A Good, Inexpensive Pair of Headphones (JVC HA-S150-RX)

These headphones are still working just as well as the day I bought them. I still keep a pair at home and another at work. For the price and quality they’re tough to beat.


Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Scanner

Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Scanner

I have no complaints. It continues to work perfectly though I typically only use it on very rare occasions.

GL1 OBD-II to iPhone/iPad/iPod touch

Despite having a built-in 30-pin connector it still works perfectly with newer iPhones via a 30-pin to Lightning adapter. In fact, I recently used it to clear out an engine code in my vehicle.

Utilitech Pro LED 40W Equivalent and an X10 Wall Switch

Utilitech Pro LED Bulb

Instead of an X10 wall switch this light is now connected to a Z-Wave wall switch but the light is still using the same LED bulb that I installed in 2011.

Using a Terk HDTVO Antenna


Even though the antenna has been slightly damaged (most likely from birds sitting on part of it repeatedly), and even though I’ve taken no effort to re-align it recently, it’s still pulling in over-the-air channels just fine.

Apple TV (2nd Generation) Impression – Four Months Later

My impression of the Apple TV has actually improved since I wrote this post. Over the past year I’ve had the chance to try out other devices such as a Roku and a Google Chromecast (and more recently a Fire TV Stick).

We’ve also added a 3rd Generation Apple TV but interestingly enough, the 2nd Gen device seems to be far more reliable. The 3rd Gen has suffered from numerous problems ever since it received the iOS 8 update. The 2nd Gen device is too old for the update, which actually appears to be a good thing.

DIGISTOR USB 2.0 Blu-Ray Burner – Mac

Blu-Ray Burner

The drive functions fine except for one problem – the internal battery will not charge. However, I suspect this is the result of a bad power adapter (or, sadly, it may be damage that is the result of plugging in the wrong power adapter). The battery won’t charge but the device still reads and writes Blu-Ray discs without any problems.

Monoprice Communicator C1 (SATA HDD Docking Station)

Monoprice Communicator C1

It still works. There’s not much to write about it as its function is relatively simple.

Using a 4X2 True Matrix HDMI 1.3a Powered Switch w/ Remote (Rev. 3.0)

This switch is used almost every day. I have five devices that connect via HDMI. Without the switch I would not be able to leave them connected to the TV, which has three HDMI ports.

La Crosse Technology BC-9009 Battery Charger

La Crosse BC-9009 Battery Charger

This was a birthday present from my wife and it’s proved its usefulness on a regular basis. Between the various remotes, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and game controllers the charger has saved a considerable amount of money over the years.

Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries


I’m not convinced that these batteries are as awesome as some claim. In my experience they’ve held up well and I don’t think any have actually failed, but they also do not seem to maintain a charge any better than my older Energizer batteries.

LaCie iamakey v2 (8 GB)


Compared to more recent thumbdrives available the capacity isn’t high. But it still works and that’s a significant statement considering that keeping a thumbdrive alive for four years can be challenging enough. This drive has been on my keyring since the day I received it, so it clearly is a bit rugged.

Moving from an iMac Intel Core 2 Duo to an iMac Intel Core i5

Even though my iMac Intel Core i5 is now several years old it still manages to keep up, despite running OS X Yosemite and performing several tasks including video recording.


Dewalt DC9310 Battery Charger and Black and Decker Firestorm Batteries


Originally purchased to replace a Black and Decker charger that failed, I now own two Dewalt batteries and a Dewalt flashlight in addition to the Black and Decker drill.

Monoprice 5000mAh External Battery Pack

Monoprice 5000mAh Battery

This Monoprice battery still works great. Even though I have a larger capacity Anker battery I still carry this around in my backpack because the Anker battery will not charge my Pebble Smartwatch (most likely because the draw is too small for the Anker battery to detect). I’ve linked to a post showing the first generation Pebble but I’m actually now using a Pebble Steel).

Mediasonic ProBox 2.5″ SATA HDD Hard Drive Enclosure – USB 3.0 (H21-SU3)


We have at least three of these still in the house and, as far as I know, all three are still working though they’re infrequently used.


Secure Home Motion Activated Solar Light (SH-7103-WH)


The first solar powered light I purchased for our carport failed but this one, which is attached to a shed, is still going strong. Almost every night, when we let the dogs run around in the back yard, I have the opportunity to see that the light is still working (and still bright for a solar-powered LED light).

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router N900 Media Stream (EA4500)


I’m still using this router. It’s been reliable, has a good set of features, and provides decent wifi coverage in our home.

Philips Sound Bar (CSS2123)


It provides good sound at a fair price. Gaming consoles and streaming devices work perfectly on the optical input (from the TV to the sound bar). The only problem I have is getting standard OTA broadcasts to work via the optical connection.

Anker Astro3E 10000mAh External Battery


This is a great battery that has served me well on several long drives, among other uses. The only drawback is that it won’t charge my Pebble Smartwatch, but everything else works fine. Strangely, batteries offered by other companies seem to cost considerably more for the same (or less) capacity.

Case Star Clamshell Earbud Case


This is a simple thing, but it’s convenient to be able to pull out a pair of earbuds or a charging cable without first having to untangle them from other cables.

Upgrade Impressions: Replacing MacBook Pro and ASUS Eee PC Hard Drives with Seagate Hybrid Drives

I firmly believe that these drive upgrades helped add an extra kick to these older systems and the drives are still working properly.

FitBit Aria


I have to admit that this is more of a convenience item than something that has proven to be highly useful. It’s certainly convenient to be able to see a history of weight change, but there are other, less expensive ways to track that information.

Using a Belkin Bluetooth Car Hands-Free Kit with an iPhone 5


It’s worked well in my car and also with an iPhone 6, though my wife’s experience was a bit different. Overall, it was certainly convenient though I have a bit of a connection conundrum now that I have a SiriusXM dock connected to my AUX input. Some additional experimentation is required to determine if I can use both of them at the same time.

Pebble Smartwatch


Since then I’ve ‘upgraded’ to a Pebble Steel and, aside from some minor changes, its very similar to the original Pebble. If you need to be aware of important notifications, and want q smartwatch that isn’t feature-rich or a battery-hog, then this may be of interest.

Monster Ntune Headphones


I’m typically not interested in more expensive headphones but I remain impressed with the sound quality that these provide and they also seem to hold up well.




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