2018! We made it! Keep it up, earth! We are Number One! We are the number one!
Like every year, TechCrunch employees – our authors, our illustrators, our editors, and more – have teamed up to make a mega list of our favorite things of 2018.
"Things" are rather loosely defined here. "Things" can be a book, a game, a concept, a thought, an album, or something else. It may be something that first appeared in 2018, or it may be something that we have had for a while, but have found a new recognition for this year. We have tried to limit it to things that you may enjoy (such as no people from our own lives) – but beyond that, if it made a positive impact on our lives in 201
Here's how it works!
Greg Kumparak, Editor
Google's Night Vision Mode
Google has recently added a low-light capture mode to its pixel phones ridiculously good. It's one of those "Hahaha, there's no way it really works, like this at Thaaa OH MY GOD IS WAITING HOW DO YOU DO THIS ". Other phone manufacturers will follow this feature in 2019.
The Magic Combination, the Kindle Oasis with a PopSocket
. I really liked my Kindle Oasis in 2017. It's easy! It is waterproof The battery holds for-freakin-ever! But the more I use it, the less I'm sure it was actually designed for human hands. The back is slippery smooth, with a comical ridge that looks like it should be held tight for a long time, but that's not really the case.
In 2018, I stuck a PopSocket on my back and everything changed – I & # 39; I read more often and much longer. My Kindle has grown from something that lives on my bedside table to something that is always with me. Between the light weight of the oasis and the versatility of the PopSocket, this is the most enjoyable reading experience I've ever had.
I have ever had I commute more this year, with the advantage that I can finally catch up on a thousand podcasts that I want to hear forever.
My favorite at the moment is 99% invisible – Friends have suggested it to me since years and now I'm kinda crazy that I did not start listening earlier. Each episode focuses on something we often overlook. The story of the places around us, the clothes we wear, the tools we use, and so on. You start most episodes with a bit of narration and then face first into a rabbit hole. They present a small dangling thread and then spend the next 20 to 30 minutes tugging at it, until you deal with the thing and make reforms. I am addicted.
Spider-Man for PS4
This game. Only … damn.
I can not remember the last single player game I liked so much. It's the first game that convinced me to pre-order the entire DLC well before I finished the main campaign. It is the first game to which I was withdrawn until 19459003, after completed all the acts, subsidiary tasks and collectibles.
There are too many rights to this game to fit in a bit of blurb like this, but beyond that: webswinging, however. Insomniac Games has developed a webswing system that is intuitive enough to make sense immediately, but so complex that you get more clue and precision every time you play. What could have been deeply frustrating feels very natural instead and wires up in no time. Sequel please.
Devin Coldewey, Writer
The Return of Obra Dinn
Suddenly an interactive picture book, a nerve-wrenching logic puzzle and a beautiful game, pretty much brings back Lucas Pope's return of Obra Dinn every game with trend and is a complete success. Examining the fates of all hands aboard the abandoned Obra Dinn with an artifact that shows you the scenes of their death, you work your way back and forth through a strange, captivating story told in still images, audio fragments, and your imagination. Not for connoisseurs – this game is tough.
I've been disappointed in modern science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for years, and I thought I'd think I'd be lucky with this re-translated novel, which is touted as "Harry Potter meets metaphysics in the hinterland of Russia". A girl is approached by a mysterious stranger who offers access to a mysterious school … but instead of magic, students seem to be systematically thinking broken. I was very pleasantly surprised by the freshness, craziness and intelligence of Vita Nostra, which is not something I've read, and certainly not in the increasingly crowded YA genre, which hardly fits. I recommend it to anyone over the age of 16 who thinks their thoughts are slightly bent.
My Familiar iPhone SE
With everyone in the world taking care of the latest, biggest phones, which score is best and how you can make the most of your virtual assistant "I'm satisfied with my pocket-sized iPhone SE for years, in my opinion, the zenith of Apple's design philosophy. It was discontinued (I suspect because it still showed newer models) and that's a shame. I wish that other things in the tech world worked as well and last as long as this phone.
Catherine Shu, writer
I belong to a group of fans of real crime podcasts who are also parents of young children. We asked ourselves how we can pursue this interest without traumatizing our offspring. Someone suggested bone conduction headphones that send sound vibrations through the bones of your cheeks and jaw and keep your ears open so you can hear the ambient sounds.
I bought a pair of wireless Trekz Air and they have totally changed my life. Well, that's an exaggeration, but I love to hear things while listening to my toddler, his deliveries, or the traffic. Not surprisingly, the sound quality does not match traditional headphones, but it's more than clear enough for spoken words. Trekz Air is lightweight and a great option for people who find earplugs uncomfortable but do not want to take earphones with them. The vibrations tickle at first, but you get used to it.
Paprika (the app, not the spice)
Before they downloaded peppers, this meant they had to print fat, flour and any traces of Salmonella on my iPhone , Paprika makes things easier by downloading recipes, cutting out 2,000 wordsets and publishing dozens of photos published by many food sites, and sorting ingredients and instructions into organized sections. You can also keep an inventory of what you already own and compare it to your meals or menus to automatically create shopping lists for groceries. The iOS and Android apps cost a reasonable price of $ 4.99.
NPR's Believed Podcast
It's often heard painfully, but it's one of the major podcasts released this year. In interviews with survivors, their parents, advocates, and law enforcement officials, radio broadcasters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith of Michigan Radio are investigating not only how Larry Nassar has sexually abused hundreds of girls and women for so many years, but also how he young victims eventually found their voices and brought him to court. (For children raising children, the episodes "Gaslighting" and "The Parents" are indispensable.)
BBC Radio 3 Slow Radio Episode "Forgotten Sounds"
The episode captures many of the sounds that once formed the ambient sounds of everyday life, but it disappears as technology advances, including typewriters, presses, and looms. All are combined by the composer Iain Chambers into a gentle medley that is great for background noise when you find the music too distracting while working.
Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
Lee, a designer, breaks down the aesthetic elements that evoke a sense of contentment, wonder, and joy: lush bouquets and bright colors, balloons hovering in the air, gardens hidden in the neighborhoods, sunshine against bright yellow walls, a stupid pair of socks, the perfect harmony of a Rockettes kickline. Her book is a solid argument for combining good design and social well-being while serving as a guide on how to create more moments of transcendence and happiness in your life.
Rookie on Love, edited by Tavi Gevinson
I'm more than a decade older than the age limit, but I loved rookie, the online magazine published by Tavi Gevinson for teens, because it was something like me in high school yearning for me and I was just happy that it existed. It also brought to the fore a stunning group of young writers and artists, including Jenny Zhang, Hazel Cills, Petra Collins and Rachel Hodgson (just to name a very short list).
Although the site has recently announced it will not post any new content This year, Rookie on Love was also released, an anthology of essays, interviews and comics about all kinds of love – romantic, platonic, family, self – and heartbreaker. It is as remarkable as the Rookie Yearbook series, cementing the legacy that Gevinson and her colleagues have built over the past seven years.
 Photo of Leonora (Ellie) Enking
Do you want a plant that will not kill you can? Screw succulents. Get a bougainvillea instead. I bought four in the pot, and I feel like a gardening genius. The light pink perennial flowers give my balcony on cold and gray days a happy note.
Romain Dillet, writer
2018 was an interesting year for people living in Paris. In 2017, I used the Paris bike sharing system (Vélib) all the time, but could not do it anymore, as the new provider made the whole system unusable.
After many trips with Ofo and Mobike I became frustrated with the unpredictable nature of the levitating services. Will I find a bike? Is the bike broken? To be honest, these motorcycles tend to suck.
So I switched to a VanMoof Smart X and I love this bike. It's a solid, networked bike that requires no attention.
This weekend, you may want to leave your cell phone in your pocket and talk to people in your area. After countless examples of Facebook missteps, multiple digital wellness dashboards, and many #quitfacebook hashtags, it's time to take action.
If you were waiting for social networks, advertising companies, and addictive engagement tricks to compromise your social behavior you have it. A tiny red number should not keep you from having an interesting conversation with your family, your neighbor, your Uber driver, or the person waiting in line at a concert.
I'm not perfect on it front. The goal is not to achieve perfection – being mediocre for something is OK. But talking a little more to the people around you is better than deleting your Instagram feed several times a day.
Natasha Lomas, Writer
Open DMs on Twitter
] It's a bit of a hate favorite favorite because the noise-to-signal ratio of my Twitter account is unstoppable suffered a (small) hit after opening DMs this year. All in all, however, it has been worth blasting out some spam PR / worthless crypto-pitches / arbitrary "suspicious" photo messages (which Twitter is already displaying on Twitter) to filter some interesting new signals by direct message.
E-mail is of course an alternative channel. However, the level of inbox noise makes it difficult to break this type of "alien signal". Dito LinkedIn, which offers the messaging function to even paying users or existing contacts. Twitter offers – at least for now – a decent alternative in which interesting strangers can whisper in the ear. However, it is unpredictable what might happen to the caliber and cadence of these alien signals in the future. Just as Slack once claimed to increase productivity until it became a self-replicating, attention-grabbing virus, communication technologies work until they break down on company overuse (and / or growth goals …).
Travis Bernard, Audience Development [19659006Sonos51SurroundSoundSet
My sound system stopped working this year. That's why I chose a Sonos system. The price was a turnaround at first, but after using it in recent months, I can honestly say it's worth the steep price. The sound is outstanding, but more impressive is that building a 5.1 surround system took only 30 minutes.
Megan Rose Dickey, writer
OWL Two-Way Dash Cam
It's an ever-active camera for my car that gives me the reassurance that no one is watching my windows crashed or dragged my car.
Otter, a transcription service
These transcriptions are the best. This tool has become my goal for transcribing recorded interviews.
Super Mario Party for Nintendo Switch
It's a kind of fun, pick-up-and-play game that's great for groups – even if half The group is usually not very good for games.
Brian Heater, writer
Hell-On by Neko Case
"God is not a contract or a man / God is an indefinite flood ", is one of the grand opening series that resembles Patti Smith's" Gloria "and Nick Cave's" In My Arms ".
I do not know how, but with seven records in her solo career, the New Pornographer is getting better and better. Hell-On is a complicated layered and deeply personal expression of an immensely talented singer-songwriter. If you have not spoiled this, congratulations. Disable all Internet alerts and view them immediately. I am sorry that you are such a beautiful Brainfuck. Fortunately, the trailer does not approach. While there are all the social commentaries you would expect from the directorial debut of coup frontman Boots Riley, the film explores the issues in a surprisingly eerie way.
Muse 2 Headset
I can meditate badly. How really bad. I may be the only person in the world who actually gets MORE scared when I'm sitting quietly with my thoughts. I had mixed results with apps (lately Calm was my starting point), and while initially resisting the idea of playing the process, I found this wearable to be a useful tool for regaining my focus. even if he does not wear it.
Nancy by Olivia Jaimes
Nancy, Olivia Jaimes & # 39; taking the octogenarian newspaper strip feels too well for this world. Or at least too good for the hate-spewing comments that follow on GoComics.com. You see, newspaper strips are like Ghostbusters or Star Wars. People want something new that is somehow the same as the original. Jaimes has the unenviable task of being the first woman to work on Ernie Bushmiller's popular strip, and some of the angry corners of the Internet were not so friendly, so she forced anonymity. It is not for lack of brilliance. Their appearance on the strip is often funny and often meta – exactly what we would want for Nancy and Sluggo.
I travel a lot and I make about 75 percent of my film in airplanes. It turns out that you run out of reasonable movie options pretty quickly. Luckily, I discovered this Showtime series at the beginning of a 16-hour flight back from Hong Kong and watched the whole thing from front to back in one leg that was pressing on one leg. It's the only show that has kept my ever shorter attention span since the Twin Peaks reunion last year. Sharp Objects leans less to the strange, but has enough links and turns to make it one of the most appealing series lately.
Sarah Perez, writer
DoublePane for macOS
I've been using this as a window manager for years when I need to switch from two screens to 1. I realized how important it was to me this year, when it was one of the first installations on a new Mac.
This $ 1100 Case for my iPhone XR
I mean, I put my phone a lot and it's not cracked yet Spend 3x more for Apple's version.
(Also +1 to what Greg has said about PopSockets)
Bryce Durbin, Illustrator
All responses from Michael Kupperman
Michael Kupperman is known for funny, absurd comics like Snake & # 39; n & # 39; Bacon and Mark Twains Autobiography 1910-2010, but the author op This graphic memoir is about his own family history. His father is a "quiz kid" Joel Kupperman, who became world-famous in his youth but retired from the limelight after puberty. The memoirs are beautifully rendered in black and white drawings, while Kupperman tells his father's life story to understand his own. Buy it here.
Meet my friends The Friends
Meet my friends The friends are supposed to be a recap podcast about friends, but you do not need to know or know the sitcom of the 90s, where you can enjoy.
Tom Scharpling (who also hosts The Best Show) is trying to lead a slippery ship that seems to be losing weight due to his altercation with his engineers. Jokes about musical features, sound effects, bumpers, and fake advertisements for ridiculous companies and products are created throughout the series. Unlike the big Best Show, each MMFTF episode lasts about 15 minutes.
Jordan Crook, Editor
Nanette by Hannah Gadsby
I'm a big fan of stand-up comedy, but not a special has ever touched my heart like Nanette did. Hannah Gadsby imagines what a standup special can be. It gives the audience bites for bite information, whether it is the sad reality of the legends of art history or their own personal stories, while also telling the underlying meaning of the special. Conclusion: is that funny? Yes. Very. Is it more than funny to do something more meaningful? In fact, and with a combination of authenticity and grace that are rarely paired so well.
Red Dead Redemption 2
When the holidays are a time for rest Reflection and reflection means for the New Year to face new challenges. Red Dead Redemption 2 is great for both. It's a relaxed, beautiful game that sometimes feels more like a movie than a game, and yet the sheer volume of the game is certainly a huge undertaking. It follows the story of a man, Arthur Morgan, but also the story of time and place.
Growing up, my parents' bed was always the best bed in the house. Not only was it a huge California King (which feels like a cruise ship for a six-year-old), but it was beautiful with the most luxurious soft sheets. The older I get, the more I feel compelled to make my bed just as luxurious, and Brooklinen has paved the way. The mix-and-match sheet sets are adorable and they feel great. Besides, they are pretty affordable.
Lucas Matney, writer
I'm the one who would call most intelligent speaker users. Although I lived in a flat with few separate rooms, I was addicted and had an apartment with twice as many intelligent speakers as doors.
So I was very fascinated by the HomePod when it came out. I've already been an Apple Music user as support for other devices has been expanded, but I really enjoyed the possibilities of the HomePod beyond its nepotistic relationship with Apple Music. The voice command isolation uses similar expensive speakers and the speaker is incredibly well balanced, with solid bass and volume that suits my needs. Siri's skills are there, and hopefully Apple will be a little more aggressive, which is what Siri-enabled bits will need in the next iOS release. Overall, I'm still a big fan of Siri's most-used hardware home.
Logitech Harmony Home Hub
Combining home theater devices into a single intelligent system is often the most frustrating technical task you can try. This year, I purchased a Harmony Home Hub for about $ 50, making things much easier. The idea of controlling all your equipment with your phone is theoretically sometimes better than in practice. However, with the IFTTT app, you can create custom Google Assistant or Alexa controls for the Harmony Hub so you can easily switch between audio and audio video outputs. I still keep my remote controls close, but I can make a good part of what I want with my voice.
The perfect flight attendant. I spent a lot of time on VR headsets and for the most part it was time I wished I could come back. That being said, on my last long-haul flights, I really enjoyed traveling with Facebook's Oculus Go headset. A lack of self-esteem is something that Santa Claus can not put under the tree, but for 7 or 8 hours with a VR headset attached to your face when ironing movies on a plane is a magical border, though You can settle for ending with it Until the end of your flight, you'll be ridiculed in about a dozen tweets.
Anthony Ha, writer
Friends – and regular listeners of our original content podcast – I know it takes a lot to get more to stay as a season of a television program, even a show that I enjoy. (There's just so much else to see!) But this year I've finally caught up with the two or three seasons of HBO's The Leftovers, and I can confidently say it's one of the best shows ever made.
Apart from maybe Twin Peaks, I can not imagine the silly humor and existential desperation, the surreal and the everyday, mixed so effectively. Carrie Coon is a great performer showing Nora Durst, a woman whose entire family disappeared in the mysterious Sudden Departure. When Justin Theroux sings "Homeward Bound," this is probably the most emotionally devastating karaoke performance you'll ever see.  Forest
Like all people whose working lives went online, my concentration was shot to hell, so I like to try anything that's reasonably decent, less distracting and to make more productive.
The Pomodoro technique (basically: you work at 25-minute intervals without interruption and then take brief breaks) is not ideal for reporting ideal for other, longer-formatted fonts, such as fiction. And although there are many Pomodoro timers in the App Store, Forest has become my favorite, thanks to its playful design and cheerful cuddling.