As usual, I’ve reused and recycled way too many Amazon Prime packages this year. I’m going to #thread my top 10 purchases in 2021.
These are items I have actually purchased with my own money during 2021. Photos are of the actual items in my possession (I may go back and add obvious stock photos later for the items I didn’t catch in action). .
No seller or manufacturer has asked for a review, provided any incentives, or otherwise interfered with these orders or this post. If you buy through my links here, I may receive a commission.
In no particular order….
Fellow Prismo pressure filter for Aeropress
If you’ve used the Aeropress hand coffee press but wish you didn’t have to deal with paper filters and leaks… or maybe you would like a bit more pressure and flavor extraction… the Prismo is for you. it replaces the screw-on bottom and any paper or steel filter you might have used before with a pressure valve cap and stainless steel filter. it takes pretty much no extra space, and is easy to clean between uses.
A $25 attachment for a $25 coffeemaker may seem extreme, but the convenience is worth it, and both items’ prices do go down from time to time.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Tote Bag, currently $31.95 (other bundles available)
Fellow Prismo Attachment for AeroPress Coffee Maker, currently $25
Also pictured, Able DISK for Aeropress, $15
CR2032 lithium batteries
In my time at Cisco, we’d have the topic of replacement lithium batteries come up every few months on the mailers. And as someone who buys old computers, I run into dead CMOS batteries quite frequently. if you can find them in stock at a local store, you’re looking at $2-3 each, so I recommend buying them in bulk to get that price down to $1. They should have a shelf life of 10 years, although I’ve found that certain uses (like Audi key fobs) do really want a fresher battery.
20 Energizer CR2032 lithium batteries, currently $18.18.
Replacement headphone ear pads
About two years ago I started using my Bose QC35 headphones for more than just plane trips, and found the ear pads starting to dissolve. Rather than pitching the headphones or putting tape over the disintegrating “protein leather” and foam, I discovered a thriving industry in replacement ear pads for high end consumer headphones. For about $15-20 you can replace them, and put them on subscribe-and-save to get a reminder when you should swap out daily driver earpds.
After a couple of years, you’ll probably find the headband piece starting to give out, and i recently replaced this decaying part on my QC35 as well.
Wicked Cushions QC35 replacement ear pads, currently $18.95
Accessory House QC35 replacement ear pads and headband pad, currently $32.99
Bulk lens wipes
I’ve been buying these for years to clean phone screens, car displays, and of course glasses. I usually have a handful of them in my car glove compartment for “emergencies,” and in a pinch they’re good as finger wipes if you get your hands messy in a thrift store or electronics surplus shop (or with a beverage instability incident).
You can find smaller quantities at local big box retailers, but once you find a brand you like, it’s worth it to buy in bulk.
A green alternative is small microfiber cloths and a cleaning solution, but that may not be as great if your car gets hot or if you want to get through airport security smoothly.
Zeiss pre-moistened lens wipes, box of 200, currently $12.95
Inaba Churu cat treats
These won’t be useful if you don’t have a cat, but if you do, it’ll mean hours of entertainment for you and pleasure for the cat. These are tapioca-style fish and chicken flavored treats in a single serving packet, and as you can tell from the manufacturer’s videos on Youtube, they are very persuasive to cats.
We’ve also found that they’re great for disguising powdered/crushed medications, in case you have a cat who’s taking after a family member in terms of health and medication.
INABA Churu Tuna & Chicken Cat Treats, Pack of 50, currently $35.99
Fast charge 100W USB-C cables
I recently got a used Dell widescreen USB-C Power Delivery monitor, and while it won’t power my Thinkpad P50, it does fine with my Macbook Air and passably well with my Dell XPS 15 9570. So i decided to get a couple of long full-power cables, just in case I needed to get close to the 90W limit on the USB-PD port on the monitor.
The Fasgear cables are fairly simple, with the fast charge chip integrated and a right-end connector on one side. This turned out to be more useful for my Macbook and XPS 15 than the Thinkpad, but only you know if you want a right angle connector. When my shelving is reorganized, the cables are long enough to run to a laptop stand on the side shelf, but I can use a velcro wrap to keep the cable in line while the laptops are on my desk.
Just before Christmas I found one of the Scrabble Brands (Amazon marketplace sellers whose names seem pulled from a Scrabble tile bag) who had a similar cable, without the right angle end, but with an LED wattage display.
Fasgear USB-C 100W Power Delivery 3ft 90 Degree cable, currently $10.99
WOTOBEUS USB C cable LED Display 6ft 100W QC5 PPS45W, currently $19.99
Wiper blades for the car
Some people, mostly people who sell wiper blades, say you should replace them every six months. It’s definitely good not to keep the original wipers because, like the original tires, the rubber wears out and loses effectiveness.
I put Rain-X blades on my subscribe-and-save list at 6 months. If I haven’t been driving or am not noticing degradation, I’ll skip them when they come up, and replace at 12 months. I could have my friends at Yoshi replace the blades when they come to fill up my gas tank, but I’ve figured out how not to snap the wiper arm off and I can save a fair bit vs Yoshi or the dealership.
Rain-X Latitude wiper blades, various prices
Fine Print 1 by Stjepan Sejic
This is an acquired taste, but Stjepan is a graphic artist and writer who does amazing work. I got into his fanbase through Sunstone, an adult-themed humorous graphic novel series, and when Fine Print began to appear on his Patreon, I was impressed again. I recently got my preorder of the paper version.
His partner Linda Sejic does similar material with a different style but still worth looking at. I got a few of her books in electronic form from an early-pandemic free promo and will be pulling in a couple of paper books next year.
Hardware Crypto Wallets
If you’ve got, or plan to have, at least $200 worth of crypto in your life, you should invest $70 or so in a hardware wallet. This is a somewhat misleading name, in that the devices hold no currency. Rather, as cryptocurrency resides on the blockchain, the wallet holds your private keys which control access to the currency.
I started in 2018 with a Trezor One, because it was the quickest available option on Amazon. Since then I bought a Ledger Nano S, which came in handy when I misplaced my Trezor during a desk cleaning.
Which should you buy? Look at each site and decide which fits your coin needs best. If you’re doing the big five, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, either will be fine. But if you use any coins outside the top 10 or so, double-check just to be sure that the device supports your coin. And consider getting a spare if you do run into issues like a USB (Unwelcome Sticky beverage) failure or a device loss.
As a bonus suggestion, consider some self-laminating index card holders and index cards to protect your mnemonic phrase (the recovery key that lets you restore your keys or sign messages with your keys). you should store three copies of any mnemonic, in at least two locations, all completely offline. And don’t label them SECRET KEY FOR MY TREZOR WALLET or someone finding them will be able to access and irreversibly take all of your currency–even if they don’t have a Trezor or Ledger wallet.
Rack mount power switch unit
I’m setting up a secondary short “rack” on a shelf in my home office. It will have a UPS with power metering, but I wanted an easier way to control and distribute power from the UPS to the devices, rather than rummaging around behind the UPS to plug and unplug devices.
I decided to go very manual on this expansion. The rack mount PDU I bought is designed for DJs and the like, and it provides a lighted switch for each of 9 AC outlets, so that I can completely shut off certain gear during peak power rate hours, for example. I don’t need the noise filtering or 150 joule dissipation since it will be connected to a UPS, but for about $50 the switching option is a pretty good deal.
Depending on your layout, you might want to use some short power drops to get easier access to the outlets. Another good use for these is if you need to connect obnoxious wall warts; there are short power cords that have a stacking feature, which can give a bit more distance from the outlet for wider warts or large devices that want to be plugged right in to the outlet rather than through a drop cord (wireless extenders, for example).
Pyle PDU Power Strip Surge Protector – 150 Joules,9 Outlets, currently $53.09
Where do we go from here?
As I was browsing the orders, I found a couple of things I forgot that I had ordered, so I’ll be looking around for some of those items.
Did you find any particularly interesting or useful items on Amazon (or other marketplaces) this year that you think other people should check out? Share in the comments and see what other readers find as well.
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