It’s 6:18 a.m. Friday morning.
I’ve been awake since 4:34 a.m.
I think I just might be on the way to getting my morning routine back. (When I first wrote this sentence the helpful autocorrect changed what I typed to “mourning routine”, perhaps that is a sign? 🙂 )
In today’s post I thought it might be interesting to look back through my Amazon purchase history and write a bit about a few things that I’ve purchased that have either made my life better or more enjoyable. Perhaps I’ll also throw in a few things that turned out the other way as well.
We All Buy Stuff
First lets talk about the immediate feeling I get when I go to Amazon and click on the “orders” page. As I scroll through the pages of things I’ve bought, I get a sense of “man, I sure do buy a lot of stuff.”
Most of it was necessary. The packing cubes before Budapest. A neutral density filter for filming. Some Christmas gifts. The items on this list.
I guess I shouldn’t feel ashamed for simply purchasing things that I need, but there is a sense of wonder when I realize how much “stuff” I buy.
I guess we all buy things. The key then is to do our best to not purchase things that we don’t need. I’ve bought a number of things that I didn’t need. Recently even, the psychology behind such decisions is probably pretty interesting. All I’ll say is its a good thing that Amazon has a good return policy.
Now let’s talk about a few things I’ve purchased.
Things I’m Really Happy I Purchased
Let’s start out with a number of things that I’m really happy I bought. Just because I am happy I purchased them doesn’t mean you need to go out and do the same. In fact I’d recommend not… if you didn’t need one of these items before reading this, you probably don’t need it now.
This is the one item that sparked this entire post. After thinking about how I could work it into a post (because I really do want to tell you about it) the question arose “how many other things do you appreciate as much as this?”
So, the bidet… If you don’t know what it is I’ll spare you the details. They are popular in many other parts of the world, but for some reason haven’t been super popular here in the states.
I first started hearing about bidets on a podcast that I listen to – No Dumb Questions. One of the hosts was telling the other host that he really liked his bidet and thought the other host should invest in one. Both of these guys (Destin Sandlin and Matt Whittman) are people I respect quite a bit, so hearing them talk about it really piqued my curiosity.
A few weeks later I was listening to another of my favorite podcasts called Life Stocks. Tyler Stanton was trying to convince his co-host Bryan Allain of the incredibleness of the bidet.
I kind of assumed the universe was trying to tell me something so I ordered a bidet from Amazon. The installation was pretty simple… and before long I had an opportunity to see how it worked. After a bit of practice I am pleased to report that I do prefer the bidet method of clean up.
That’s all I’ll say about that.
Moving on to more “normal” things. A number of years ago I heard a photographer talking about how he had purchased a pistol case to put his flash equipment in. It was much cheaper than the “official case” from the manufacturer, and did quite well in protecting his gear.
At that point I was in the process of trying to learn some strobist methods, and I had a couple of flashes to protect and carry around. So I did some research and found a pistol case on Amazon. It is made by Plano and was pretty reasonably priced.
It did exactly what I needed it to.
A few months later I needed something to hold a number of mics and some sound equipment at church. I bought another case and it did exactly what I needed it to.
More recently (a couple of days ago actually) I needed a case to house some podcasting equipment. Once again I realized that one of these pistol cases would work perfectly… so I have another one on the way.
If you need to store and then transport semi fragile items or electronics, as long as it’ll fit within the case, you just might find that a pistol case suits your needs perfectly.
Some Purchases That Didn’t Turn Out So Well
GoPro Hero Cameras
I’ve had a bit of a fascination with the GoPro cameras for a very long time. In 2013 I bought the, at that point, cutting edge GoPro Hero3 Black edition. It came with a water housing, and some attachments.
I was sure it was the next great thing for my photography career. The best use case I had for it was the occasional time-lapse. I made a couple of decent time-lapses with it, but most days it sat in my closet.
I eventually sold it in one of my yearly purges of “all the things I don’t need or use enough.”
Fast forward to 2018 and the GoPro Hero7 was announced. It has something called “HyperSmooth Video Stabilization.” GoPro has touted it as the gimbal killer (a gimbal is a device that helps capture smooth video footage). Not long after it was announced I bought one.
The stabilization IS incredible. It was almost magic to walk with the camera and even without being particularly careful about keeping things steady, still ending up with incredibly smooth footage.
There were three main reasons that I ended up returning the camera before my 30 days was up. The first reason was that I just didn’t use it as much as I had convinced myself I would. In the right circumstances it would be a great, useful camera. The second reason is the image… no matter what I did there was always at least a little bit of a fisheye look to the image. That drives me batty.
The third and main reason that I returned the GoPro was a little announcement from the folks over at DJI… the DJI Osmo Pocket. The biggest thing that I noticed in all of the reviews of the Osmo Pocket was the image didn’t have the fisheye look that I despised with the GoPro.
I currently have the DJI Osmo Pocket in my arsenal, however it suffers from one major flaw that caused me to not use it in public in Budapest, and makes it not very useful for any situations where silence is a good thing. There is no way, currently, to silence the “BEEP” that happens every time the record button is pressed. DJI says it’ll be fixed in firmware, but I’m still waiting for that firmware.
Oh… did I mention that I bought another GoPro on sale for Black Friday last fall? That one has also moved along to someone else who hopefully will use it more than I would have.
Microsoft Surface Headphones
Shortly after the beginning of the year a strange thing happened in the office. My boss bought a new pair of noise canceling headphones. He sold his old pair to my coworker. Having a good pair of headphones in an office is really handy. Trying to concentrate while other people are singing, whistling, tapping their feet, or just on a call with a client… is difficult. Some music and a good pair of headphones is pretty much a necessity.
Obviously it didn’t take me too long to start doing research on the top noise canceling headphones available. For me it came down to basically three pairs of headphones. The Microsoft Surface headphones (because they can connect to more than one device at a time), the Sony WH1000XM3s (MKBHD’s current favorites) and the Bose QC35s (my bosses choice).
After a few days of research I decided on the Microsoft Surface headphones. Then I waited impatiently the couple of days till they showed up at my place. The first two days or so they were incredible. Bluetooth is really nice. Not having to be connected by a cord simplifies life. Active noise canceling is likewise is super handy.
A couple of things happened that made me realize that I probably didn’t actually need these headphones.
First of all I kept getting scared. I’d be working in my office at home, listening to something and concentrating on what I was working on… All of a sudden I would feel the presence of another human being in my personal space. It was either my brother or my sister, but I still jumped half way out of my skin. The noise cancelation made it impossible to hear people sneaking up behind me.
Second of all… the sound was mediocre at best. I’ve been using a pair of Audio Technical ATH-M30Xs for years. They sound much better than the Surface headphones do.
It didn’t take too long for me to realize that I essentially spent $329 on something that I really didn’t need. Not only did I not really need noise cancelation, the headphones I already had sounded better.
The Bluetooth part of the equation is something that I miss. Not having to worry about cords is quite nice, but its just a tiny part of the equation. I have a cheap pair of Bluetooth earbuds that I wear when I workout. They are perfect for that. When I’m at my desk, or sitting in my chair in my room, the headphone cord really doesn’t get in the way.
If you’re interested in the video from this past week, you can watch that right over here – Spring Time == Break Time Outdoors.
And that’s just about it… I hope you have a wonderful week!
P.S. Please disregard any typos or unclear places in today’s post… I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning (headed out turkey hunting with my brother and nephew) and haven’t been able to comb through things as carefully as I’d have liked. 🙂