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Gallery of giving thanks: the tech I'm most thankful for in 2012

Every year, that certain November day comes along where we pause to reflect upon the things we're grateful for. Accordingly, here is a list of the tech I'm thankful for that made my life all the more enjoyable in 2012!
By Stephen Chapman, Contributor on
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1 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

Alienware M18x R2

The Alienware M18x R2 is one glorious piece of tech! I ordered mine a few months ago with a then-top-of-the-line mobile CPU (Intel Core-i7 3920XM), 2 GPUs (NVIDIA 680Ms, SLI), 32 GB RAM; mSATA, SSD, and HDD for data storage; and all the bells and whistles, like back-lit keyboard, red-anodized shell, etc. A laptop like this has been the laptop of my dreams for countless years now, and to have finally been able to pick one up this year is something I am incredibly grateful for.

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2 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

MacBook Air

Since my office is wherever I want to make it at any given point, the MacBook Air is much better suited for my trips to coffee shops, book stores, bars, and the likes. Those are the places I most enjoy writing these days, but I've also taken to studying mobile development lately -- specifically, iOS -- and my MacBook Air is a terrific on-the-go iOS dev environment. Naturally, it's nowhere near as powerful as the aforementioned Alienware, but it does a great job filling the gaps of quick, local adventures to get some work done!

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Guitars, guitars, guitars

In addition to being a technophile, I'm a musician, and there's plenty of tech to be found therein! Though my collection of guitars isn't what it used to be, these instruments have been around for all these years to provide a certain joy that I'm truly thankful for. And, yes, the guitar in the picture above (a Schecter Gryphon) is of one of the guitars I own, and it's just lovely.

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4 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

iPad

Just about everyone has an iPad these days, but I'm no less thankful for mine today than the first day I picked one up. It's not only provided countless hours of entertainment and productivity, but recently, I've taken to using Facetime with my family that uses Apple products. It's a much more enjoyable experience to see who you're talking to and have that extra layer of interaction.

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5 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

HTC Thunderbolt

Almost 2 years ago, I purchased the HTC Thunderbolt. It was an exciting prospect at the time, and although this phone is showing its age, it's been a wonderful companion and home to on-the-go browsing, gaming, music-listening, and, of course, texting and calling. Sadly, HTC and Verizon really dropped the ball with keeping its Thunderbolt customers satisfied, so I'll most likely be picking up the HTC Droid DNA once it comes out. Having said that, I'm extremely thankful for all the enjoyment and service I've gotten out of my HTC Thunderbolt from day one!

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6 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

PlayStation 3

I first wrote about the PlayStation 3 in my 2011 article proclaiming my tech victories of that year. In it, I discussed how the PS3 was my introduction to modern-day high-end gaming consoles -- something I'd been dreading up to that point, because I'm a PC gamer and I love FPS games (which require serious accuracy; not something you can get from a controller). Well, since that time, the PS3 has become a central hub for entertainment (gaming and movie-watching, specifically) in my household. If all you're looking to do is watch Blu-ray movies, then there are much cheaper alternatives; however, the PS3 has been a wonderful multi-purpose console for me!

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7 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

Nintendo 3DS XL

When they first hit the market last year, I was an early adopter of the Nintendo 3DS. Then, this year, they dropped the 3DS XL on us, which boasts a considerable size difference in screen real estate. Well, I loved my 3DS, but the 3DS XL just took things to the next level. Playing "New Super Mario Bros. 2" was infinitely better on the larger screen, as has been the other 3DS games I've played on it. I've been a Nintendo fan for 20+ years and they've yet to let me down. Next up on my Nintendo wish list is the Wii U!

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8 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

I've always been into photography, but it wasn't until recently losing my last point-and-shoot that made me want to jump into more advanced photography. The T3i isn't the latest and greatest offering, but it doesn't need to be; it's absolutely perfect for someone like me who is looking to learn about the concepts and techniques of advanced photography. Thus far, I've managed to snag a couple of great shots, but the best is definitely yet to come. Regardless, I'm very thankful for this wonderful piece of tech.

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9 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

Wideband Internet

Last year, Time Warner Cable introduced their "Wideband Internet" service to residential customers, and in true techie fashion, I was on it faster than a hobo on a ham sandwich! It's the fastest service available to residential customers in my area, so even though there are much faster speeds elsewhere, 50 Mb/s down keeps me ridiculously satisified. This is, legitimately, the first time I've not wanted a faster download rate. Thank you, technology and Internet!

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10 of 10 Stephen Chapman/ZDNET

Honeywell Fan

Now, before you laugh and wonder what the heck a common household fan is doing in a list of tech to be thankful for, I've added it here to serve the point that we often take for granted the "simple" things. Though simple, this particular fan has allowed me to have countless nights of restful sleep. Why? Because silence is deafening to me and I have to have some sort of white noise going on to sleep. Now, I know there are white noise machines out there, but these fans are ridiculously cheap -- something like $10-15 -- and they last a really long time.

Yes, it's times like this when you come to realize just how much you take for granted and all the progress and growth that had to transpire over the years for everything to be what it is today. So, whether it's a multi-thousand-dollar laptop or a lowly little fan, I'm thankful for any and everything in my life that can be considered tech (and, of course, all the things that aren't tech-related).

To all of you who happen to make it this far in the gallery, I want to wish you and everyone you care about a very happy, contemplative, and restful Thanksgiving. =)

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