TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2022
It was possible! Another year! complete. Go team!
Many things are associated with the end of the year, including holidays, family, food, reflection, and family. It also means that it’s time to celebrate the end of the year in these parts. TechCrunch’s Favorite Things.
Team TechCrunch compiles a list each year of the most notable things from the past 12 months. We don’t limit the definition of “thing” as we do not want to restrict it. It could be a game that took up all your time, a gadget that made your job easier, or a song that stayed in your head for weeks. Podcasts. People. Concepts. It’s a flexible approach that we deliberately use, which leads to an eclectic range of concepts. Very good stuff.
Why do we do it? I’m not sure. It started one year ago and was a lot of fun. Now it’s almost a tradition. People often ask why we don’t do this. -_(tsu)_/-
Perhaps it will inspire you to think of last-minute gift ideas, or maybe you’ll discover something you’d like to explore for yourself. Enjoy, no matter what the situation may be.
Greg Kumparak | Editor
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
My four-year old son expressed interest in video games. I wanted him to have a game that we could play together. Kirby and The Forgotten Land was recommended by a friend. It’s a great suggestion.
It would be a great game to play alone, but it is a solid and well-designed platformer. It’s a masterpiece for a child playing with it. Player 1 is Kirby, and Player 2 is “Bandana waddle Dee”. My son insists on being Kirby, and he’s only four so he wins. The Player 2 role that I’ve been perma-assigned doesn’t feel like a sidekick. You can’t gobble down enemies to take on their powers. However, you can kick butt while subtly being a guardian angel/healer for Player 1.
We haven’t been able to beat the last few levels despite having played for months. Instead of continuing to play through our favorite levels from the first half, he is not interested in the game ending. I am, however, not in any rush.
Kyle Wiggers | Senior Reporter
The Steam Deck by Valve is now less difficult to find than it was in the past. We can thank the gaming gods. It was a gift that I bought a few months ago and has single-handedly brought me back to gaming.
For the simplicity and ease of the experience, I have always preferred console gaming. I tried PC gaming briefly and, while it does have its advantages, I spent hours resetting RAM, messing around with drivers, and trying to figure which mods were crashing Skyrim. The Steam Deck’s advantage is that it doesn’t require much tinkering to get it up and running. It’s a Linux-running computer, after all. You can install mods and custom utilities, but especially if you have a large game library that lives on Steam, the Deck will manage the background management processes with ease, giving you a familiar experience for long-time console gamers.
Compatibility is my only niggle. Although the compatibility layer for Windows games on Steam Deck, Proton, does a great job, every once in a while I encounter a fatal error that takes eons of troubleshooting. Borderlands 3 was the latest example. It refused to launch despite my best efforts. Valve is credited for providing regular updates to Proton and Steam has a generous return policy.
“Crying in H Mart
Although I’m late to the party, Michelle Zauner’s “Crying in H Mart”, which I purchased at a Boston community bookstore, is a book I am thoroughly enjoying. Zauner’s memoire, which recounts her childhood as the daughter to a Korean immigrant mother with terminal cancer, is a wonderful and tragically detailed read. Zauner takes us through her childhood in Eugene, Oregon. Her desire to escape the isolation of the suburbs fuelled her anger and rebellion against her mother. Zauner then guides us through her young adulthood, as she tries to pick up the pieces and get her mother out of her way.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t be remiss if the chapters didn’t highlight the exotic-sounding dishes. Zauner and her mother were both gastronomes. It was one of their few shared passions. Zauner includes many Korean delicacies such as jjamppong (spicy mixed up seafood noodle soup), and gyeranjjim, which are steamed eggs. “Crying at H Mart” has inspired quite a few dinners in our household over the past few months. I’m sure it will continue for many years.
This game is now a prestigious title among the greatest games of all time. However, this game stood out in a year filled with great games. Elden Ring, awe-inspiring and generous, further affirmed the potential for games that are truly original and inspired art.
Warhammer 40K novels
Normally, I am concerned with the 19th-century western Canon aspect. But this year (I was curious to see the fan film “Astartes”), I picked up a book in the Horus Heresy prequel series for Warhammer 40K, a fandom that I have always detested. I felt like a fool. It’s amazing and these books are great: tragic space operas with decades of established lore. It’s impossible to find many of these books in print, but that’s why I have…
Kobo Libra 2 ( origami case)
There are many e-readers out there, but this one is my favorite. It has a great display, adjustable light, easy customization and loading, and a clever folding cover that does triple duty as protection and stand. This thing has probably 8,000 pages.
This is a specific weekly desk calendar
I have tried many things to improve my time tracking and scheduling meetings and appointments. I forget everything. This weekly paper desk calendar worked for me. Although it is simple, it has the exact style and size I need. It helped me stay organized during a very busy year. I can also use the paper to make shopping lists and other stuff if I tear it off. This is what I value in my life.
Paul Sawers | Senior Reporter, U.K.
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
I had intended to recommend the Kobo Libra 2 E-reader, but Devin, my colleague beat me to it. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus was the next on my list. Although I bought it during the initial lockdown to replace a Garmin watch with a simpler design, I have realized its true value over the past 12 month as I started traveling again.
My old entry-level Garmin Forerunner35 was great for tracking distance, pace, and speed during my runs. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus allows you to map out your route through the Garmin mobile application and send it to your watch. This will provide turn-by-turn navigation so I don’t get lost.
I can also download Spotify playlists directly to my wrist. If I want to listen or play music, I don’t have to carry around a heavy smartphone. Garmin offers a variety of watches with different features at different price points. But having directions, podcasts, and music on my wrist is a game-changer.
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” (podcast).
This podcast was a great find for me.
The podcast “We Didn’t Start the Fire” takes the lyrics of the 1989 Billy Joel chart-topper and turns them into an episode that explores the subject matter.
Although it is true that a podcast about history is bound to the lyrics of one song from more than 30 years back is somewhat arbitrary, this is a good thing as it opens doors to new paths we might not have otherwise. It covers everything, from famous public figures like Richard Nixon and Joe DiMaggio to movies, music, wars, and even the polyester fibre known by Dacron.
They also manage to get a interview with Billy Joel for one episode. He explains why he included certain historical people and events. The podcast features input from subject-matter experts but it is the dynamic and “banter” between Katie Puckrik, Tom Fordyce that makes this podcast work. They are often asked to discuss complex and obscure topics and bring it all alive.
“Lucifer on a Sofa” (Spoon album).
It’s difficult for me to listen to new music these days. I tend to revert to songs from the 1960s to the early 2000s. Spoon is known for not releasing a bad album, and “Lucifer on the Sofa”, another excellent Spoon album, was a mix of amazing melodies with hooks that created a new, original classic.
“Watermelon” (song taken from Dinner in America).
Although it’s not an all-time great song, I hesitated about including it. It’s still a fantastic song for many reasons. “Watermelon” is an original composition taken from the movie “Dinner in America”, which was released theatrically this year. It’s well worth a look.
The song was written by Emily Skeggs (one of the main actors in movie), in one day. Skeggs had never before written a song. Watermelon is a two-minute, punk-rock ditty. It reminds me that songs don’t require a lot of production or instrument mastery. It’s a little earworm that has been sung in my household for most 2022.
Natasha Lomas | Senior Reporter
Stranger Things Season 4
Stranger Things’ fourth season was not what I expected. There was so much creepiness and a resonant riffing about 80s nostalgia. And the kids are, erm, quite grown up these days. The show managed to keep me interested and offer some great new characters. There was also a few spine-tingling moments (injecting a Kate Bush song into the ears of Gen Z was a genius stroke of genius). The ending was a bit too exposition-heavy for my taste, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Let’s see what happens in the fifth and final season.
I don’t know what role the fediverse is going to play in shaping (reshaping) this world. Although the internet has changed the way people communicate, I’m not sure what role the fediverse will play in shaping (reshaping) the future. In a year where the world’s wealthiest* manbaby spent an eye-watering amount to remove any opinions from Twitter, I’m glad that there is an alternative like Mastodon. One that is more able to resist being captured by billionaires. It was a tweet, or was it a tot? ): Protocols, not products!
*On the plus side, Musk may not be the richest person in the world, but it is clear that he is the Chief Twit.
Hooper’s beta (YouTube Channel).
You can climb smarter, be stronger, and avoid injury by not doing stupid or pointless things. Hooper’s Beta is a YouTube channel that focuses on science and technique. Jason Hooper, a climber and physical therapist, uses this philosophy to help people understand how to improve their technique and avoid injury. He’s not afraid to experiment with his body in a slightly unwise way, such as eating only Huel for 30 day to see if it’s suitable for climbers’ nutrition needs.
Anna Heim | TC Reporter
Chilly Gonzales sings, “Music is back!”
He is referring to live music, which many of you missed during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. I attended a lot of gigs to make up for it. TechCrunch is not relevant to any of them, except for one: ABBA Voyage.
Although you may have heard of the show’s use of virtual avatars created by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, it is quite different to actually see them in person. It was hard to believe that it would feel uncanny or unethical. But it doesn’t. This is probably because ABBA’s band members had their say and introduced their younger virtual selves in a fun way that blends in well with the rest the show which also features a live band. If you’re in London in the next few months, you still have time to see it in person.
My pain was eased by having an AirTag in my suitcase when it was lost in transit. The airline didn’t know where it had gone for days, but I knew all along and was able retrieve it from a room full of other lost items. As a frequent traveller, I am certain that I will always keep one AirTag in each item of my luggage. Spoiler alert for my family: Some of your will find one under their Christmas tree this year!
Tim De Chant | Climate Reporter
iPad Pro Magic Keyboard
I was a little snide when people began talking about iPads replacing their laptops a few years back. I prefer my computers to be fully-featured. Although I have owned MacBooks since 2006, I still use a desktop Mac as my primary computer. So I decided that the iPad-as laptop trend wasn’t right for me. I tried it a few times, but the experience was lacking. Then I purchased a Magic Keyboard.
Yes, typing is easier with a real keyboard. The Magic Keyboard has made a significant difference in almost every other area. Since the age of 22, I have used a Mac almost every day. My brain doesn’t register keyboard shortcuts anymore. It would be an understatement to say that my previous iPad experiments were lacking command-. The Magic Keyboard allows me to copy, paste, select and undo text, compose messages, switch between apps, and so on without touching the screen.
Disrupt this year, I decided to re-do the experiment with an M1 iPad Pro, and Magic Keyboard. Just in case, I brought my MacBook Pro. I shouldn’t have.
Alex Wilhelm | Editor in Chief of TechCrunch
I work from a small structure in our backyard, so I often run back and forth from the house. This means that I have to slip into and out of flip-flops almost every day. These shoes are not recommended for use in extreme weather conditions. Crocs are the answer. After seeing a Bloomberg reporter wearing pink Crocs I decided to buy one. I bought them. In pink. Now I can run back and forth in pink, my feet better protected against snow, mud, and rain. Crocs are awesome. Accept your imperfections! Wear what you find comfortable
What’s good? Knowing what’s happening. What’s good and what’s bad? It is difficult to know what is happening. It’s important to understand what’s going on behind the headlines. This is where I hope to find it. TechCrunch can help out. Do I shamelessly promote our work behind a paywall in a whimsical and fun post. Yes. Do I feel bad? No. Media is expensive to build, and our subscription services kick maximum ass. Check us out!
Amanda Silberling | Reporter
Defunctland’s YouTube documentary “Disney Channel’s Topic: A History Mystery”
These are the things I have seen in the past week. Maybe I had a really great week in media. That is why I feel confident and not too exaggerated in stating that the “Disney Channel’s Theme : A History Mystery” documentary by Defunctland is the best feature-length film this year.
Kevin Purjurer, who is behind Defunctland makes detailed, well-researched videos on theme parks gone wrong. Yet, this hour-and a half-long documentary about a four note Disney Channel jingle serves as a bizarrely profound insight into what makes art and what duty memory serves to artists. You won’t be able to spoil anything (yes there are spoilers), but you can watch the entire thing and you’ll see what I mean. This is genius. I promise I’m not doing anything.
I was a Teenage Exocolonist
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist – A narrative life sim that follows your character, a teenage exocolonist. Your 20-year space journey took you from Earth to a new planet. The game starts when you are 10 years old, as you step out of the spaceship for your first time. As you and your friends struggle with the reality that it might be a bad idea to land on an alien planet, and subjugate the creatures there, you can decide how you want to live your life.
See !?!?!? real-world parallels The best thing about this game was its infinite replayability. I spent the weekend in a manic fog state trying to find the “good” ending. There are so many endings. You can be a fascist, horrible soldier! A criminal! A farmer! An astronaut! An engineer who accidentally allows genocide by not asking enough question! Normal things happen in our normal lives.
This game is for those who want a strange mashup between Hades, Undertale, and Stardew valley. But you should not stop playing it. It has taken over my life. After four attempts, I finally got a “good” end, so I think I can now calm down and clean my apartment.
You know when you feel depressed. Then you go and see a man playing bagpipes in front a projection of a Wikipedia screenshot that reads “list of nontraditional use of bagpipes”. pic.twitter.com/V1Ydrenrbj
— amanda silberling (@asilbwrites) December 9, 2022
I attended the comedy live show of a Twitter meme account. Yes, it is absurd. But it only gets more bizarre the more you think about. How can you make absurd internet content entertaining and real?
Annie Rauwerda, the Depths of Wikipedia creator, is a literal genius. Her meme pages/empire has the conceit that she explores Wikipedia rabbit holes and uncovers really funny fun facts like how Julius Pringle, Pringles’ mascot, got his name from a rogue Wikipedia editing that no one caught. I went to one of her shows last Thursday not knowing what to expect. I was amazed at how a man built a “”Pringles ringle“Onstage and a professional musician bagpipe player exemplify their craft in front a projector with “List of nontraditional pipe usage” Wikipedia article. She even got the Philly chicken guy To act out the events 1904 Olympic men’s marathonThis page is a Wikipedia page.
I have never laughed so hard at any comedy show in my entire life.
Natasha Mascarenhas | Senior Reporter
Do you remember how we all developed random hobbies and habits in the early days of COVID-19. I was blessed with a sweet tooth. Since then, I have been trying to eliminate it and empower it.
Hu Chocolate is my latest obsession. It’s an organic sweet that would convert even milk chocolate lovers into dark chocolate. I have tried many flavors, but I prefer their Salty flavor. It’s a great little treat to end your day with and it feels a bit more luxurious than a handful of chocolate chips.
Last year, I recommended Graffeo Coffee Beans as a must-have coffee for anyone who loves java. Cardamom syrup is another option that I offer as a coffee recommendation. I enjoy putting a bit of Holy Kakow brand in my morning cup, or a little more if I need a sweet eveningcap. It has helped me to stop buying fancy lattes outside and added the right amount festiveness to my cup at any time of year.
Tooth & Claw: True stories about animal attacks
The host is a biologist who can guide you through the most bizarre wild animal attacks. His two sidekicks add a sense of humor to the show and make it a fun experience. Enjoy this show on a long run or car trip, but not near children.
Taylor Hatmaker | Senior Reporter
Although I am not a Star Wars fan, this show was amazing and everyone should see it — even those who aren’t familiar with the source material.
It’s a wild ride, which I won’t spoil, that changes settings and tones often, deftly delivers some really moving performances, and I won’t. “Andor” treats its viewers like they are smart enough to deal with subtlety and discomfort (think Black Mirror), and it is well worth the effort. These stories will stay with me for a long time. They were smart, inspiring, and really special.
Aisha Malik | Consumer Reporter
There were many popular new shows, but none that stuck with me as much this year as Hulu’s “The Bear”. — A TV comedy-drama that delights with amazing performances, cinematic storytelling, and sharp writing. The show creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that will draw you in almost instantly. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it is filled with beautiful moments. I won’t spoil any details, but “The Bear”, a comedy and riveting binge-watch show, is a must.
Bryce Durbin | Illustrator
My Favorite – “Tender Is the Nightshift Part One”
The great indiepop band, “The Summer” is on the scene. My Favorite Released new music for the first-time in six years. The brainchild Michael Grace Jr.“Tender Is the Nightshift Part One” opens with an eight-minute dance track (“Dean’s 7th Dream”) featuring Grace’s distinctive arch, despairing lyrics, delicately balanced chill synths, and warm vocals. This EP also features “Second Empire” and its “instrumental-dub” version, as well as other tracks. Let go of your sadness.
Universal Audio SD-1 mic
UA makes a lot great audio gear, but the SD-1 dynamic vocal mic might be their best. It’s a close match for the venerable Shure SM7B in both looks and audio profile, aside from the super slick cream color. It is cheaper, but it does a better job at eliminating bg and room noises. This is the best deal in audio equipment.
WANDRD Roam 9L sling
WANDRD Roam is a great collection of slings. The 9L version is the largest. It can hold a mirrorless camera, a long zoom lens, and a large prime, as well as chargers and batteries. WANDRD is a better choice than other slings because it has a double zip back pocket with an expandable bottom that can hold a laptop.
8BitDo Ultimate Controller
8BitDo’s new Ultimate Controllers (there are a BT and a 2.4GHz version) are just as good or better than their first-party controllers. (That’s the Switch Pro controller and the Xbox controller, fwiw). These controllers come with their own charging docks, as well as customizable back grip buttons.
Miranda Halpern | Data Analyst
Breville Smart Waffle Maker Pro
What’s better than brunch at a restaurant? You can make brunch at home. Making brunch at home. I was astonished when the Breville Smart Waffle Maker Pro came into my life. I borrowed the original model from someone else and loved it so much that I spent two months debating whether I should buy my own. $280 is a large amount of money, let alone for a waffle maker, but it was well worth it. Crispy, fluffy waffles right in your own home, for you and your friends. You’ll be grateful later.
Nalgene 24oz On-The-Fly Lock-Top Tritan Bottle
This is a great option if you are looking for an emotional support water bottle. It’s small enough to fit in your car’s cup holder. The top is lockable so it won’t leak if it’s in your bag. It’s also easy to clean — yes, water bottles need to be cleaned.
“Stick Season” by Noah Kahan
Stomp and Holler is back! This album is a must-have for fans of Vance Joy, the Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, or The Head and The Heart.
Kahan made his debut album, “Busyhead”, in the music industry in 2019. Kahan made his debut album, “Busyhead,” in 2019. The album’s title track, “Stick Season,” features the theme of nostalgia. Tracks like “She Calls Me Back”, “Still” and “Come Over,” show Kahan yearning for more.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.