What was your BEST tech purchase ever?

In a similar vein to recent threads such as this one, I got to thinking about the best tech purchase I think I ever made.

Back in 2006 I was listening to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast and when he started talking about the Podsafe Music Network and Podshow’s hosting, it was the kick I needed to start my own podcast, which I launched in August of that year. But to do this, I needed some kit.

I went into a local musical equipment retailer called The Rock Shop — think walls of guitars, a corner full of drums, and lots and lots of electronics. I asked the sales assistant to sell me “a microphone to record my voice to my PC for a podcast.” Given the year, I was surprised he didn’t bat an eyelid and proceeded to talk me through my options. I spent something like NZD$300 that day and walked out with:

AKG D 88 S dynamic microphone
Behringer Eurorack UB502 four channel mixer
A rather too long XLR cable

Despite the PC being replaced by a series of 5 different Macs, the only real equipment change that I’ve made for audio recording in 14 years was the necessary USB interface (Behringer U-Control UCA222) to connect the mixer to the Mac when the audio-in port disappeared. Although my recording these days is limited to occasional guest spots, it was as recent as last year that I was again complemented on my “great sounding audio.” I’m never in the slightest tempted by Marco Arment’s microphone reviews nor anyone else’s recommendations.

I bet plenty of people have similar stories of items of tech you’ve purchased that lasted way longer than you anticipated, or served you way better than you imagined, or survived rough treatment to live another day, or maybe they’ve been handed down through generations and served many people. What was your BEST tech purchase ever?

A footnote to my story is that when I recently decided to purchase a “field recorder” I went back to the same shop which is not that far from where it was 14 years ago. None of the staff members had been there as long as 14 years, though.


The Harmon Kardon Soundsticks that I bought with a Quicksilver G4 in 2002 are still going. I moved them off of my desk last year. Now they are in the kitchen attached to a Raspberry Pi Zero running as an Airplay receiver.


Kindle Oasis.

Probably the device I’ve enjoyed the most – not because of what it is but because of what it contains.


Our Roomba is one of my best tech purchases. It vacuums the downstairs everyday, and I move it upstairs on weekends. With a dog and cat and both of us having allergies, it’s been a fantastic investment.


LOL, I bought a generation 1 Roomba when it first came out, and it ignored the beacon gizmo and dived right down the basement stairs. I think it was disgusted with our kitchen floor and wanted to escape.

I hope the tech has improved since then.


Yep! Does a great job.
If your cat happens to be sitting in front of the beacon, it will still take a dive into the sunroom.

I have the 980, which shows a map of the area vacuumed, and surprisingly, has a map of WiFi coverage, which is handy too.


I think that my MacBook Pro 13” which I ran for more than 7 years. Absolute bargain.

I only retired it because I needed more RAM.


[quote=“JohnAtl, post:4, topic:20155, full:true”]
Our Roomba is one of my best tech purchases…

Same here. Roomba 965. I added it to HomeKit, so when if leave home on weekdays in the morning, it does it’s thing.

Mac SE with 20 MB hard drive…freshmen year…1987-88. Absolutely loved that computer. Revolutionary at the time. Biggest regret is I didn’t keep it safe. Post college, parents moved a few times and somewhere in there I lost track of it. Also lost a drum set and baseball card collection along the way, but that Mac I wish I still had.


Technically it’s my parents best Tech purchase ever… my Commodore 64 in 1982.


This is what got me hooked on programming - an introduction to assembly language via my C64 and an Action Replay cartridge I must have saved up quite a while for (iirc).


Same goes for me. I read many times more with my Kindle than I ever did before. It may not be the tech purchase that has brought me the most joy, but it’s certainly one that has impacted my life the most by virtue of the books I’ve read as a result of the purchase.


I invested lawn-mowing money in Borland C++.

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Still one of the best manuals I’ve ever seen. (The DOS version.)

Okay, let’s go way back then.
My Netronics Elf II was my first computer, and a kit I built. It had TV graphics (the Enterprise shown in the photo), and I taught myself to program machine language for its 1802 processor. I went on to build a 2k memory expander, wrote animations, music and games for it, used it as a phone dialer, etc. It got some love a couple of years ago at a retroTECH exhibit at Georgia Tech where I’m working on my PhD. This purchase influenced the rest of my life.


Best Mac purchase: Mac mini 2012 2.3 Quad-Core.

Outlasted any other Mac I’ve had. Ran rock solid and reliable machine all the way so far. And basically just great value for money:

Got this for almost 20% off within 6 weeks after it was released. Though it officially uses 1600MHz RAM, it took the 16GB of 1333MHz RAM I already had from my previous 2011 mini and ran great. Though it didn’t officially support 4k resolutions, it worked with 4k display I purchased later. Upgradeable SSD. Could even put a 2nd hard drive in for little money. More powerful than the 2014 successor, which I - even as a perennial “upgrader” person - didn’t upgrade to.

Supported the most recent release of macOS for 8 years (2012 until the release of Big Sur this week)., and should still receive security updates for another two years, to make it 10 years.

Best upgrade: My first SSD drive. I think it was a Intel X-25M.

Took OS performance to a whole new level. Never did a computer upgrade improve performance so amazingly.

Best peripheral: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M:

Again, bought this shortly after it was released in 2009. Also rock-solid hardware. Amazingly and unexpectedly received a 64bit driver/software update from Fujitsu this year, to make it compatible with Cataline and Big Sur.

Above all, a joy to use. While a scanner is rather a productive tool than a “fun” product, the ease, simplicity and reliability make it a joy to use.

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my Borland C++ came free with my Dell computer back in the 90s


My Synology NAS. At the time, it was nearly an impulse buy because I wanted something that could house my media library when I got sick of having 100s of DVDs, but I’ve found in addition to handling the media library through Plex, it’s an amazing redundant, scalable backup solution, it runs a surveillance system, it handles pretty much all my files (and all of my wife’s on her computer) so nothing is on the Mac except applications and essential files, and it does it all without any issue at all. It’s on for months at a stretch and it just sits in the basement, doing what it does. I’ve often thought the best technologies are the most transparent, that’s what this thing is. I rarely even think about it, but man life would suck without it. I have already decided that if this thing ever breaks, I need to immediately replace it.


I took ages to buy a robot vacuum cleaner. Mainly because each time I went to a store I asked the question: Can this replace a traditional vacuum? The answer was always: no.
They need to do more research.

I got a Roborock S5Max recently. He (yes, he!) is called Isaac (after Asimov).
Even the FBH is impressed, though she still calls him “it”. (I will miss her one day! :wink: )

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iPhone. 2007. The whole internet and a powerful computer in my pocket.