Reverse engineer. Blogger. Investor. Photographer Hiker. Kayaker.

The best of 2008 as told by me

It is only mid-November but I’m confident in my choices for this years “Best of 2008 as told by Colin Devroe”. This isn’t a list based on popularity, consensus, or a set of rules. They are simply works that I feel should be awarded with the recognition of being the best that I’ve personally found this year. Having been a geek since the age of 14 I feel that I’m expert enough to make this list. Besides, this is my site so eat it.

In no particular order I present – the best of the Web 2008.

The Best Blog: Daring Fireball

John Gruber’s blog will, it seems, always win this award from me. I toyed with the idea of awarding Daring Fireball with Best Journalism but I don’t want to take anything away from the writers that are writing about much more important topics than the goings-on of the Apple community and marketplace.

The Best New Blog: The Big Picture

Boston.com’s The Big Picture is easily the best new blog of 2008. Jason Kottke agrees with me, or I agree with him maybe. The photos are always stunning and the topics always seem perfectly aligned with my particular interests at the time of publishing. Even though I’ve read Andy Baio’s interview with the author, Alan Taylor, I still don’t know how this blog is as consistently awesome as it is.

The Best Blog Redesign: Jason Santa Maria

Jason’s latest redesign for his personal site is inspiring. Each of his posts, as he so choses, are designed specifically to empower the content he is posting. Example. Example. Example. His site has made me rethink my random headers on this site and I’ve now begun development of a much more intelligent way to allow my site to choose the headers. And that is just a start. Jason’s blog is also one of the only blogs that I purposefully leave the Google Reader interface to read the article as he intends, on his site. Brilliant.

The Best Blogging Platform: WordPress

My love for WordPress isn’t a secret. But Automattic’s effort to continue the momentum of this open source project has certainly been a big win for it. Regular, scheduled, feature and bug fix rich updates to an already industry-standard-setting piece of software is refreshing in every way possible. Kudos to every single developer that works on WordPress.

The Best Feed Reader: Google Reader

I’ve wrote about Google Reader a few times. I know that this is a touchy subject for some – because we all have very different ways of keeping up-to-date with our subscriptions – but I feel that Google deserves the recognition of building what has quickly become the most popular feed reader on any platform. NetNewswire held that title for a very long time, and deservedly so, but I believe the throne was usurped this year.

Side note: Boy do I miss Ranchero in its original form.

The Best Company: Apple, Inc.

I’m sorry but I have to give this award to Apple for their apparent take-over of the entire mobile, computing, and music industries. Regardless of relative size and market-share as of this moment, I believe that we’ve all seen what it looks like to rip these things out from other holders. In a few years Apple will be on top of every single list not just the “this year’s top” lists. I’m not sure how this will effect Apple overall but right now I’m happy that it is happening. Check back in 5 years to see if Apple makes my Worst Of 2013 list when I hate Apple for being like Microsoft, or something.

The Best Mobile Twitter Client: Hahlo

For me this is a no brainer. Being an iPhone-owner means that I have many, many applications at my disposal for posting and keeping up-to-date on Twitter. Whether we’re talking about iPhone applications or web applications built for the iPhone – Hahlo is far and away the best mobile Twitter client.

The Best Twitter Account: @MarsPhoenix

Duh. The Mars Phoenix Twitter account is the only somewhat-non-human account on Twitter that I follow that I’m not directly related with in some way. I’m sure there are other great Twitter accounts that are out of my own echo-chamber but this just strikes me as the obvious choice because of the way it has fundamentally changed the way that NASA delivers its news about their programs.

The Best iPhone application: Handshake & Ocarina

Two bests? Yes. These two are tied for very different reasons. Handshake is probably the iPhone application that I feel should have been part of the iPhone all-along more than any other application that I have installed. Being able to share contacts with other iPhone users through the air is awesome. Ocarina just simply makes me happy in a way that no other iPhone application has done. I can’t play a lick of music with the thing. But the ability to listen to other people who are equally horrible Ocarina players makes this application get a dedicated spot on my iPhone’s home screen.

How’s that for subjective!

The Best Application: Coda

I don’t do near the same amount of programming as I once did. However, the one application that completely changed the way that I do programming has got to be Coda. It’s single-window environment has made working much more enjoyable, less frustrating, and much more focused than ever before. The latest update which allows other developers to extend its text-editing functionality will, I think, improve the built-in text editor at a much quicker pace. I’m really happy about that.

The Best Browser: Fluid

I don’t know what else to call Fluid and it needs to be on my list somewhere.  My normal browser of choice (that is, the browser that I use to ‘surf’ the Web) is Safari. But as far as creating a single site browser for my favorite applications; Hahlo, Brighkite, Gmail, Google Docs, and Basecamp – Fluid is the best choice.

The Best Preference Pane: Connect 360

This selection could also be categorized as The Best Way To Save Money By Not Buying An AppleTV. If you have an Xbox 360 and a Macintosh – I suggest purchasing a copy of Connect 360. You can use your Xbox 360 to view photos and videos and listen to music on the television in your living room. Painless. Perfect.

The Best Email Client: GMail

I switched to GMail this year, using the aforementioned Fluid, and haven’t looked back. My main reason for switching was because Mail.app was slowing down a lot. On my first-generation black Macbook, using Mail.app with IMAP for 3 email accounts, Mail.app was incredibly sluggish.  I’m fairly certain I could have done something to improve the performance of Mail.app – and I do appreciate its synergy with the Ma
c OS – but GMail has won me over with its speed and operator searches. To be specific, I use Gmail for domains and so does Viddler.

The Best Messaging Client: iChat

I do not know why people on the Macintosh use anything else besides iChat. Not mentioning any names, most of the other clients do far too much or suck up too much memory or have features that just do not work. iChat works, is simple, has small foot print, and has generally every feature I could ever want in a messaging client.

The Best Keyboard: Apple’s wired keyboard.

How did a keyboard make this list of obviously Internet-related things? If you don’t ask, I don’t have to come up with an answer. My Macbook’s keyboard is crazy-fantastic. Since I connect to an external monitor while working in my office, I needed a keyboard that would offer the same level of crazy-fantasticness. Apple’s new wired keyboard does that. It has not only reduced the noise of typing – which I appreciate – but it has done it in a way that has not taken away from the tactile response that I have come to love.

In an effort to get this list out the door – this is not an exhaustive list. I didn’t keep a list throughout the year so this is an off-the-top-of-my-head list.  I fully plan to add a few more ‘categories’ to this list, especially if you care to suggest any in the comments, and will hopefully have a much more revised list for 2009.  I will do one of these every year.

Thanks to everyone who made the list this year because, in some way, you made my technology experience much more enjoyable. You probably already have my money – but now you have my public applause too.

Suggestions, comments? Add them below!