subwayLike a speeding subway 2006 has sailed right past us. Along the way there were a couple of technologies that I embraced and have begun using extensively. There were a lot of pieces of hardware and software that I experimented with and came into contact with this year.  To make the list, the technologies have to be something that I really ended up integrating into my life somehow. They didn’t have to necessarily originate in 2006 either. There were many things that came to mind but most of those were simply interesting in passing, but didn’t really change my life at all. So here are the things that I consider the top tech of 2006:

1. Sony Reader – I have to say that Sony is beginning to fade from being the top technology company that they used to be. They certainly have some nice hardware like the PSP and I like some of the Vaio laptops. I’ve long wanted a better way to read electronic books and the Sony Reader is the perfect device for doing just that. I can say that I’ve read at least 4 books on the reader and it’s as good as reading a paperback book, plus it gives me the high tech high I so love! Read my full review here.

2. Microsoft Zune – Microsoft has certainly managed to drum up it’s share of haters and lovers. I for the most part really like Microsoft and their products. The iPod is an impressive device and is clearly the dominating mp3 player. I’ve owned 3 or 4 iPods and liked each one (not the Nano as much though). I can honestly say I like the Zune more than the iPod though. There are still some features that I wish the Zune had, but they aren’t that big a deal to me. I’ve really began using the Zune a lot to watch video podcasts and even a movie or two. I almost always have the Zune with me and I haven’t listened to the radio in my truck hardly at all since I got it. It’s certainly a device that I have integrated into my lifestyle.

3. Windows Media Center – Yes, I know another Microsoft product. Early in the year I really began using Media Center a lot. I’ve had a PC in my living room with Media Center since the end of 2005 but it was in January or so that it really took over my TV. I even got my wife, who protested at first to having another computer in the living room, to really liking it. Yes, you can do the same and a bit more with a Tivo, but to my understanding, you have to pay a monthly fee for it. We use the Media Center to record TV, watch DVD’s, look at weather, listen to music, surf the internet and play games on as well. My kids have got to the point where they know how to record shows and look for up coming things they want to see. It’s certainly something that’s heavily integrated into my family’s life. I’m looking forward to moving up to the Vista version of Windows Media Center, it looks even better than the current version.

4. Treo 650 – I’m a late adopter of the whole smart phone craze. The Treo650 came out sometime in 2004 I believe and before that there was the Treo600 and some others. Sometime in the last year my work purchased a Treo650 and a data plan for it. Now I look back and wonder how I got along without it! Instant access to email and the web (not that I do a lot of surfing on that tiny screen) is just plain cool. There are several apps that I use regularly as well, like Google Maps. Brandon and I found this while lost somewhere in San Diego and it really works well. The documents to go is useful as well (of course this has been around for awhile). I’ve never been much of a text messaging person, but I’ve done a lot more of it since getting the Treo650. Now I just wish Alltel would come out with the Treo700p!

Honorable mention goes to podcasting. It kinda goes hand in hand with the Zune, but even before the Zune I had began in 2006 to listen to a lot more podcasts than I had previously.

So those are my highlights of 2006 and technologies that have really taken leaps forward in my life.

Some things I played with but didn’t fully embrace:

  • UMPC’s – I had one of the Samsung Q1 ultra mobile pc’s but it just wasn’t something that I really embraced. I don’t thing their time has yet come.
  • XBox360 – I want one, but gaming is just not one of those things I really do and have a lot of time for.
  • Linux – It’s sharp and fast and free, but just not ready for prime time yet.
  • SATA drives – I’ve used a couple of them, but I think this year will be their time to take off.
  • – I actually go there a lot, but there’s just too many hot heads and too many silly posts. Slashdot is too far the other way for me.  Can we get somewhere in the middle please?

What’s something that I would like to check out? Nintendo Wii for sure. I’ve played the Bowling on the Wii and it’s a whole big bag of fun. Who would have guessed it?

What about you? What kind of technologies did you get into this year? What are you looking forward to in 2007?