A Techie's Top 5: A Gaming Editor Dishes on His Favorite Gadgets
If you want to blog in the tech world with any measure of success, you have to be productive: New gadgets, games, and gizmos come out by the minute, it seems. But even in a world where productivity and success seem to go hand in hand, you'd have a tough time finding someone as prolific as Mike Schramm. He's worked in the Joystiq Network for years now as a lead blogger and senior editor on WoW.com, and was one of the founding editors of Massively. Currently, he serves as a contributing editor with Joystiq, and also writes and podcasts for various outlets, including The Unofficial Apple Weblog.
That's just for starters, by the way. Schramm also has his own blog and website, where he writes about anything from his dislike of pizza as a kid to his Top 10 Games of 2012. (XCOM: Enemy Unknown finished in the number one spot.) Schramm's one busy guy, but he graciously accepted our invitation to submit a list to Techie Top 5 — a list, as it turns out, that has six items on it. Read on as Schramm reveals all.
Xbox 360 250GB Gaming Console
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As an Apple guy, Schramm does a lot of iOS gaming. But he also owns a gaming PC, and an Xbox console. "When I just want to sit on the couch and play a great game, I turn to my favorite console," he says. "I'm a big fan of Xbox Live and all of the downloadable games there, but despite all the innovations we'll undoubtedly see in the next console generation, I think my favorite way to play games — real, dedicated games — is to put in a disc and watch it load up on my HDTV."
Sennheiser PMX 680 Adidas Sports Headphones
($38.54 with free shipping, a low by $6)
Anyone who writes about tech for long enough gets to try a near limitless supply of headphones. Schramm says that his Sennheisers are "the best pair of headphones" he's ever purchased. "Music sounds terrific in these phones, which sit comfortably right inside my ear and provide some amazing sound." He loves to use them when out running in conjunction with an iPhone app called Runmeter (free for iOS), which tracks his distances and times. "I've gone on hundreds of runs with these headphones at this point, and they remain sturdy and wonderful."
Flip minoHD Video Camera
(from $169.99 with free shipping, a low by $28)
This is the very camera Schramm uses to film HD clips for his blog site. "These days, most of my video and photos just come directly from the iPhone, but this great little camera has remained in my bag for years now," Schramm says. "I pull it out whenever I need to shoot some quick and impressive HD video. I was sorry to see Flip go as a brand, not necessarily because we needed them, but just because I appreciated their devices' sense of purpose: one button, point and shoot, with a USB plug on the top that went straight into my computer. They're not making these any more, but I'm glad I still have mine."
Blue Snowball Microphone
($60.14 with free shipping, a low by $1)
This bulbous little microphone boasts impressive fidelity for something that fits on your desk and plugs into your laptop by a simple USB cable. "I made this purchase back when I officially decided that podcasting was something I'd do for a long time, and it was money well spent," Schramm says. "The Blue Snowball is an astoundingly inexpensive mic for its quality; in fact, all of Blue's mics are terrific. Through conference calls, podcasts, live video streams, and late-night hotel room recordings, this little microphone has served me well in many situations. There was that one time I tried to take it on a plane and the TSA person mistook it for a bomb. ("It's a microphone," I had to explain. "For recording my voice.") But other than that one misunderstanding, the Snowball has been nothing but great."
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Gadget guys and gals tend to have their own personal sentimental favorites, and Schramm has owned his Multitool, made by the Portland-based Gerber, longer than just about any other. "I bought this back in high school when I helped to build sets for local productions, and in all the many years since it's never been far from me — whether it was opening boxes, screwing together IKEA cabinets, stripping wires, or just cracking open a bottle of beer. Sure, it's not Bluetooth enabled, and it's never had an IP address, but it's been one of the most helpful pieces of gear I've ever owned. I've now used it for more of my life than not."
And honorable mention goes to Schramm's iPhone 5, which he'd have us include on his official list, but for our moratorium we'll only mention it here as it's an ever-popular product. "I really do love my iPhone and all of the many, many things it does for me," he says. "It's my absolute favorite gadget."