January 1 is always a little strange. A quiet time after a night out, a time to take the tree down and deal with all the green light cords that started out so neatly applied and wind up a tangled maze of complexity. Time to get rid of all the holiday wrappings and hope the trash pickup is soon.
It is also a time to reflect on all things Apple and how the ecosystem of products has changed our lives in ways we sometimes forget or are barely aware of.
This morning I was in a melancholy mood and needed some music to match. I thought a good idea was for some music by Eric Ewazen, [iTunes link] who writes some pretty deep and mystical compositions. I had already bought some of his tracks from the Apple Store. In the old days, waking up on a holiday and craving some music you don't have was a lost cause.
Now I can get what is admittedly an obscure album of music, download it to my computer, put it on my Sonos system with a few clicks and sync it to my iPhone for my morning jog. Basking in the early morning Arizona light I loved hearing Ewazen's 'Hymn for the Lost and the Living' while contemplating a new year with new challenges. Apple enabled much of what I was able to do, and we take it for granted, but when you stand back from it all you can see how changed our lives are.
Some of my other favorite things from this year include MacSpeech Dictate, software that allows me to reliably dictate my emails, some longer reports, and even some of my TUAW posts. It's truly science fiction in the here and now (or is it 'hear' and now?) and some updates in 2009 made it easier to use and far more accurate.