Derek recommends things

Rough draft, so v1 or something

The other day I was out with friends in the suburbs of Seattle — wine country. One of them, and I won't name names, couldn’t google a destination because she’d long run out of data for the month. She’s still on a cell plan with her parents and though running out happens often, it's part of her personality to not really care about changing things. It's a thing that happens, nothing more. Surely a cellular plan from 2005 is better than a plan from 2022, yeah?

Anyway, that’s that the kind of thing that I, if I had my druthers, would dutifully handhold. "Let's get you on a new plan NOW!"

But! I've been working on my own thing lately: cut back on suggesting things that I care about a little TOO much. Like making sure you always have enough data! Or always buying toilet paper in bulk from Costco!

I'd recently stumbled upon lists of things in this style for products people recommend. But I'd like to include thought technologies as well.

So, on with some recommendations!

Upgrade your damn iCloud storage

I'm obsessed with clearing those little red notification dots on all my apps, and others’ phones affects me, too. If a good friend has one of the Settings app...I'm gonna have to check to see what it's from. Mostly, they let me.

The amount of friends and family members that forever ignore their 'iCloud storage is full' warnings really gets my goat. "If you drop your phone in the ocean, nearly every photo and message you likely want to keep until you die will be lost, and there's nothing you'll be able to do to get them back." I understand the feeling of feeling like you're getting nickel-and-dimed by Apple, but we're talking about an actual service: storing and protecting tens to hundreds of gigabytes of photos, usually. And keeping your shit synced. For literally 99¢ for most people and the job is done.

Download and use Airalo when abroad

Buy data from a cellular provider in the country you’re traveling.

For the past five years of iPhones, new MVNO providers have popped up that buy data from each country or regions’ cell companies, and then resell for extremely reasonable rates — sometimes better than what we’re actually paying here in the US. Airalo is an app that does that — you download the app, purchase a data plan for a few gigabytes of data for 3-10 bucks, and then get around the country you're traveling without paying AT&T or T-Mobile or Verizon some outrageous amount. You can keep your phone number from home working (for texts, or calls, or to keep iMessage from getting weird with an email address) and install an additional eSIM for data.

(I honestly have no idea how common the eSIM/Airalo knowledge is.)

You should use a fast phone charger

If you spend a tiny little bit of money on a new charger, you can kick that old stuff to the curb (or keep around as backup just in case I guess) and get to 50% charge in around 30 minutes.

Buy this 20 watt Anker and charge 3 times faster than the old 5 watt charger. You need a USB-C to Lightning cable, but those are included nowadays.

A great coffee grinder

If you drink coffee every day and also use a dripper or pourover or aeropress: buy a good to great conical burr coffee grinder.

The absolute bare minimum: a $54 cuisinart.

Mine, which is great, and has niceties: Ode Brew Grinder.

The Ode is heavy, shuts off automatically when finished grinding, is purpose-built for NOT espresso grind settings, and has a semi-useful knocker built in! It’s $300 and totally worth it. Pair it with my favorite ceramic dripper, the Hario 02. I make 460 grams of great coffee in this every day. Perfect.

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle

Standup is pretty good. Stewart Lee’s standup is great. Stewart Lee’s episodic Comedy Vehicle is amazing. A coworker recommended this around eight years ago, and it's infinitely re-watchable. It’s hard to find, but worth the search.

I can’t really even say anything more, so I won’t.