10 awesome new (and old) things you need

January 21 [Mon], 2013, 8:26
New Year New YorkWere just three weeks into 2013 and its surprising what a difference a year can make. RIM () ison the rise as Apple () , Samsung () is supposedly , and connected home appliances outshined smartphones at CES. Its a brave new world indeed, but here are 10 awesome new (and old) thingsto keep you grounded in 2013 while you put 2012 behind you and try to forget Gangnam Style ever happened.

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1. Digg: Digg? In 2013? Yup its back and its awesome.

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The old Digg is dead and a fantastic river of curated news can now be found in its place. The site has done away with user submissions and the unending sea of obnoxious comments, leaving behind a platform that is infinitely better than its predecessor.

Topics covered range from technology and business to world events and interesting morsels people are unlikely to dig up on their own.

The redesigned site is fantastic and clean, the iOS app is terrific, and I consistently discover great stories there long before they being to gain steam elsewhere on the web.

2. Evernote: There are a few Web services that I regularly recommend to friends and family where after I do, I get a note a few weeks later with the question, How did I ever live with this? Evernote is among those services.

In a nutshell, Evernote is a Web-based service that lets users create and organize notes that automatically sync across all their computers, smartphones and tablets. Despite its popularity on tech blogs, I still find a lot of people who have never heard of the service.

The beauty of Evernote is that everyone uses it in his or her own unique way. It can be used to house Web page clippings, store ideas as they come to you, keep recipes in order, hold to-do lists, make grocery lists, or perform any number of other functions.

3. BlackBerry 10: Whether it ends up being RIMs comeback catalyst or its last hurrah, . Investors are excited, BlackBerry fans are excited, and were excited.

and BGR will be there live to cover all the action as it unfolds.

4. Outgrow.me:Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great crowd-funding sites for entrepreneurs, but theyre also very trendy right now. For every awesome product on each site there are dozens of, well, not-so-awesome products.

Outgrow.me makes it easy to view the best products these two sites have to offer using a great design that is easy to navigate.

As an added bonus, Outgrow.me addresses one of the biggest problems among crowd-funded products. Since a lot of great (and well-funded) products dont ship on time, the site has an option to only view items that are orderable today.

5. Windows Phone: Look, Microsoft () has been giving it the old college try for more than two years now, but . Maybe.

Windows Phone 8 is a supercharged version of Microsofts initialreimaginingof the smartphone experience. Its faster, smoother, moreversatile and it supports better hardware.

There are two great flagship Windows Phones on the market right now and as well as a number of solid low- and mid-range options.

6. Jawbone UP: Fitness gadgets are getting trendy now, but Ive yet to see anything that looks more appealing than Jawbones second iteration of the UP bracelet.

The simple device is worn on your wrist at all times (its waterproof, so you can even shower with it) and it tracks your daily activity including your sleep. Its paired with a fantastic app that features a gorgeous UI and plenty of great functionality.

UPs companion app tracks your steps, calorie burn and sleep to create a Lifeline. You can also track the food you eat by scanning barcodes, taking pictures or inputting items manually, which helps you keep tabs on your calorie intake.

The kicker for the Jawbone UP over rivals is the fact that it doesnt include wireless connectivity, believe it or not. Yes, that means you have to take the band off, pop the cap and connect it to your iPhones audio jack to sync, but it also means the battery lasts between nine and ten days on a charge.

UP is only compatible with iOS for the time being, but Jawbone says its working on an Android app.

7. Republic Wireless: Did you know you can get unlimited smartphone service for $19 a month? Really, truly unlimited calling, messaging and data for $19 a month?

Weve been testing Republic Wireless $19 unlimited smartphone service for several weeks now and so far were impressed. The service is not for power users theres only one smartphone available right now (Motorolas Defy XT) and you wont have access to 4G data speeds but anyone looking for basic smartphone service at a ridiculously low price would be remiss to not give Republic Wireless a look.

8. HTC: Its time to get acquainted with the little smartphone vendor that could.

HTC ()took a beating in 2012 while Samsung and Apple grew bigger than most could have imagined. HTC might not have billions of marketing dollars to constantly slap consumers in the face with ads, but it has a ridiculously talented team that .

With hardware that is second to none and handsets ranging from affordable low-end phones to premium flagship devices, HTC is a brand to watch in 2013.

9. Wirecutter: Founded by former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, Wirecutter is a list of great technology.

The site is basically a gadget buying guide without the stomach-turning, Google-gaming, SEO machine aspect. Instead, its simply a collection of technology products the sites staff enjoys. Imagine that!

Wirecutter is definitely a site worth checking out and .

10. Skype: Sure, everyone knows about Skype on computers and smartphones. I never use it on either. Instead, theres another aspect of Skype not everyone knows about: .

Using compatible handsets, Skype can be set up to work just like any other VoIP homephone service. The only difference is that Skype is much, much cheaper than comparable offerings. Unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada can be had for less than $2.60 a month plus $30 each year for a phone number.

In other words, a year of Skype service costs a little less than two months of Vonage or cable company phone service.

Ive been using Skype for my home phone since last May and I couldnt be happier. The quality is excellent, on par with similar offerings from Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, and the price cant be beat.

I should note, though, that dealing with one of Skypes retail partners eBuyNow was an awful, awful experience. They took forever to get back to me when one of my handsets died and after two months of trying to get a replacement, they just ended up refunding my entire purchase. If you choose Skype for home phone service, buy your handsets elsewhere.

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