My favorites from 2014: Mel Martin

So many apps and gadgets - where to begin?

Well, let's start with some apps.

Topaz Impression for Mac

Expensive at U.S. $99.00, but this app beautifully transforms your images into what looks like fine art. The amount of control you have over your image is breathtaking. Canvas, charcoal, oils, just about any medium and surface imaginable. On the iOS side, Waterlogue does something similar but not as full featured for only U.S. $2.99 (!!) It was also a favorite of our own Steve Sande.

Reflect+ for iOS

I love this $1.99 app. Take an image and add water. It doesn't look synthesized, unless you want it to. A beautiful app that is easy to use. You can also add bird flocks, hot air balloons, stars, the milky way and other beautifully rendered objects. There is a lot of control, and it is easy to use, yet gives sophisticated results.

X-Plane 10 for iOS

The creators of the best Mac flight simulator have gone and done the same for iOS. It's free, although you can buy extra aircraft. The graphics are stunning, and the flight model is realistic.

RavPower Wireless File Hub

This is a great and innovative piece of hardware. It works with your laptop, or any iOS device. It's a battery backup, a wireless router that works as a WiFi hotspot, a NAS file server (network attached storage), and a media streamer. For $44.95 it's an amazing product. I use it to load movies on an SD card and take them on trips so I can stream them to my iPad. You hook up to the device via WiFi, and it connects to a primary WiFi connection and passes through email and any other internet traffic while you watch, and while it charges your iDevice. Perfect.

Word Lens for iOS

Absolutely amazing. Point your camera at a sign or menu in a foreign language and you get the translation. It's not just the translation. The sign remains looking the same. You have to see it to appreciate what has been accomplished here. Great for travel, or just getting along in a mixed language environment.

So that's my list. Can't wait to see what 2015 brings.