This year I wrote 55 reviews on Gibberish. That’s about average, some years I’ve written in the high 60s and some years in the low 40s. I hit a few dry spells throughout the year as I moved, or bought less stuff due to budgetary concerns. I also spent a lot of time (and money) starting up a few side efforts that I never talked about or reviewed here, like button making or my pre-shave oil business. Both of those endeavors required a lot of research and purchasing that just didn’t seem super appropriate for Gibberish.
Anyway, I like to look back and evaluate the best and worst things I reviewed all year. Here we go!
The Best Gibberish Gadget of 2012: Double Edge Safety Razor Shaving
This is a whole class of gadgets, products, and techniques, but shaving represents the most substantial change in my everyday life this year. I used to hate shaving, like really really hate it and now I find shaving very enjoyable.
Double edge razor shaving has a lot that caters to my personality. There is a ton of stuff to learn, and shaving this way requires technique and discipline. There are many classes of products (like blades), and then you have to learn about the attributes of those blades, and then experience them in combination with your other products, your technique, and your body. Shaving is awesome, and very very personal.
Best gadget runner-up
The Light Flow LED Notification App for Android devices. This app allows you to customize the color, blink frequency, sound and vibration for alerts and notifications. It seems really dumb, but this app saves me from obsessively checking my Galaxy Nexus phone to see if I’ve received an email, text, or GTalk message. You can also assign special colors to individuals, so the communications I get from Sedagive? always get my attention before anyone else.
Light Flow has some bugs and glitches, but overall it’s an amazing app. I highly recommend it if your Android phone has a multi-color notification LED.
The Worst Gibberish Gadget of 2012: Coffee Joulies
I know my negative reviews are on the right track when apologists stream in to defend their products. Coffee Joulies are supposed to cool your hot coffee to a reasonable level and then keep it there using a special phase-changing substance trapped inside coffee bean-shaped receptacles. Unfortunately, they are overpriced, very large and cumbersome, and frankly don’t work. I did a series of informal tests and found that they don’t perform well in regular ceramic mugs.
Some of the feedback I received (especially the hostile feedback that was moderated or emailed to me directly) said I was “doing it wrong,” and that Joulies are best in covered, insulated mugs. Then what the fuck do I need Joulies for? An insulated mug already keeps my coffee hot. That’s dumb as shit, and so are Joulies.
I have an especially dark spot in my heart for them because Sedagive? got them for me as a gift, and that came at a time of uncertainty about her job. It was a big deal for her to spring the cash for these, and to have them turn out to be snake oil makes me especially upset.
Worst gadget runner-up
Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Alcohol Free Mouth Wash. Short and sweet: this mouth wash reacted with my teeth and turned them brown. I freaked out and thought there was something wrong with my teeth. No amount of brushing would make the stains go away, and I thought I could use the mouthwash to help reduce the brown crap on my teeth, thus pushing me into a vicious cycle. I eventually used a dental scraping tool to remove the worst of the stains and then it was a waiting game until my teeth returned to normal.
It turns out I’m not the only one who had an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the Crest Pro-Health mouthwash. I’d rate this as the absolute worst gadget this year, but not everyone reacts to the special fluoride in the product, whereas Joulies suck for everyone.