Wow. 2014. I don't know about you, but for my family and me, it's been one heck of a year. It's also been a big year for projects and in this article, I'm going to run down the big projects we did in DIY-IT in the hopes that they will serve as inspiration going into 2015.
Here are many of the projects I've been involved in. Rather than present the articles in purely reverse chronological order, I'm ordering them in a way that would make sense if you're just diving in now and discovering them.
This was a big year for hacking productivity. In the attempt to squeeze 30 hours of work into every 24-hour day, it became necessary to find ways to do more, more effectively. Here are a few articles that may also help you get more done.
- My top productivity tools and tricks for managing my daily workflow
- It's on the list: an essential guide for IT folks managing daily life
- I finally figured out how to use Google Keep with Evernote
- Using the Force: A gentleman's guide to surviving workshops
The big Mac project
In early November of 2013, I bought an iMac and then proceeded to push it as far as it would go. Here are some of the stories about how much I could get it to do. I'll start with the original 2013 pieces, just for perspective, and then take you into the entire series.
- Maxed-out iMac: just how far can we push this thing? (from 2013)
- Why I bought a tricked out iMac instead of a Mac Pro (from 2013)
- Why I chose a maxed-out iMac over a powerful PC (from 2013)
- Making it work: Four displays on a monster iMac
- Using Parallels in Coherence mode on a four-monitor iMac
- Why Apple's Swift might be the new BASIC, and that's no small thing
- 10 great apps too powerful for the Mac app store
- After all this time, how can OS X Mavericks STILL be this bad?
- How to decide if it's time to upgrade to OS X Yosemite
- When Yosemite went wonky: Fixing an OS X systems failure
From Office 365 to Gmail
As shocking as it might be for an old diehard Outlook user to admit, I've grown tired of Outlook. It's not that Outlook isn't a great product, it's that there are better productivity choices for me. This year, I moved from Office 365 to Gmail. As you can see from one of the earliest articles, back in March, I was still very much involved with Office 365. Six months later, not so much.
- Office 365 after a year: Worth it or not?
- Why I bit the bullet and finally switched from Outlook to Gmail
- Your questions answered: Why I switched from Outlook to Gmail
- Two weeks later: My switch from Outlook to Gmail
- Six Clicks: Very handy! Six helpful add-ons for Gmail
- Nine questions about Google's new Inbox by Gmail
One of the more interesting trends this year has been the growth of the low-cost Chromebook. I've been doing some exploration of them, and have found that I often recommend a Chromebook instead of a Windows machine. Here are some of those stories.
- Milestone: I'm recommending Chromebooks instead of Windows laptops for civilians
- The business case for Chromebooks in a Mac lab
- How to decide between a $199 Windows notebook and a Chromebook
Exploring Windows Phone
Reasoning that I had never had used Windows Phone, it seemed unfair to write about it, either positively or negatively. With a loaner from Microsoft, I spent a couple of months digging into Windows Phone and getting to know it. The verdict? Well, better than I expected.
- Windows Phone 8.1: What if it's actually good?
- First impressions: Lumia Icon Windows Phone (unboxing)
- Six Clicks: Six ways Windows Phone is better than iPhone
- Windows Phone app challenge: Can it stand up to the big boys?
- Windows Phone: The final review
The business of software
As a former software company entrepreneur, I often get questions about getting started in the software business. This year, I answered some of those questions with some instructive articles.
- So you have an app idea and want to make a bajillion bucks
- Selling software: Where have all the business models gone?
- The changing markets for software: the freemium cloud model may be your best choice
Google Voice revisited
This year, after seeing all the reader letters I was getting on the subject, the editors and I decided it would be time to revisit my earlier Google Voice series and update it. Here are the updated articles.
- Google Voice: The ultimate how-to guide
- Google Voice: Just because you can port your number, should you?
- Google Voice: The ultimate Android how-to
- Google Voice: What if Google cancels Google Voice?
- Google Voice: The SMS guide
- Google Voice: In the car with Android
- Taking a Google Voice office to the extreme with Ooma
- Google Voice and Skype: Rethinking GV and the landline handset solution
- Dear Google: we need a quality reverse phone number lookup for Google Voice
- Moving from Google Voice to Hangouts for SMS
Well, that's about it for 2014. It's time to wind things down in preparation of a quiet transition from 2014 to 2015. We've got a lot more coming to you next year, including our new Automating Android series that will debut in January.