A year ago (with some encouragement from friends and family) I decided to start the OmarKnows Newsletter. Many of you know that I’ve been blogging for the last 14 or so years, but last year I decided to focus on reviewing items that I purchase in the normal course of my life and share those perspectives. I started a newsletter (you can sign up here - or visit omarknows.com) to make my reviews more accessible, but also to force me into a schedule and rhythm. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to post a review almost every week for the past 12 months (43 reviews in total)! It’s my new Sunday morning ritual!
As of today, I have 180 subscribers and have averaged a 70% open rate and 12% click rate. That’s pretty great as it means a lot of you like what I’m writing about. Most of the growth to-date has been 100% word of mouth and I really appreciate all the folks that have shared the newsletter!
The blog side of things has also been pretty positive with 27,000 visitors this past year and 44,000 page views.
The thing is, not only have I enjoyed writing, but I love the feedback I’ve been getting from friends and family who have subscribed. I love the emails I get and words of encouragement.
In that vein, I though I would post an annual look back at what I’ve written about and any thoughts on the reviews. For those of you that joined recently, this will give you a quick overview of anything you may have missed.
What I use 2015 - a post of all the stuff I use that’s important
How I make Coffee - A history of how I’ve made coffee over the past few years. We love our Wilfa machine. How to hit Inbox Zero every time you check email - I did not publish this to my newsletter as it’s not really a review, and more of a How-To but I thought I’d include here in case you are interested.
Software You Need a Budget - ★★★★★ - my budgeting / financial management / software.
1Password - ★★★★★ - Software you must have to manage your passwords
Limefuel USB Charger - ★★★★★- still love these chargers
Logitech Harmony Smart Control - ★★★★★- could not be happier with this remote. It’s worked flawlessly since the day we got it, and I’m considering upgrading to there latest model and using them for our 2 other TVs.
Google Chromecast - ★★★★★ - Since Amazon has come out with the Fire TV Sick, I much prefer it. The only issues with the Fire TV Stick that I have trouble with are the fact that it needs occasional rebooting (which the Fire TV does not) and I can’t get HBO on it since Comcast HBO is not supported. Hopefully when HBO Now is release, this is moot.
Doxie Flip - ★★★★★ - In this past year I have scanned 1300 4x6 photos from my childhood with the Doxie Flip. I continue to use it for the occasional photo someone gives us. Very handy.
Fluxmob BOLT Portable Battery Backup and Wall Charger - ★★★★★ - I keep this in my bag at all times. In the past week though my charger died. For $60 I’m pretty unhappy about that.
Sony RX100M3 - ★★★★★ - This little camera is still a marvel. I have since gotten a Fuji X100T and am using that as my daily camera which means the Sony isn’t seeing much action these days.
Normal Ears – custom 3d printed headphones - ★★★★☆- I’ve since stared using my Bose headphones a lot more, but I still keep these in my daily bag.
Microsoft Band - ★★★☆☆ - I stopped wearing this guy a long time ago. It got uncomfortable and I got a bit tired of it.
Dropcam - ★★★★★ - These things are really incredible. We’ve used them a number of times on vacations to check up on our house. The alerts are handy too for when packages get delivered.
Amazon Fire TV Stick - ★★★★★ - Better than a Chromecast. The Fire TV is still better than the Stick if you have room for it.
Tile - ★★★★☆ - have come in handy to find our keys!
Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard Cover - ★★★★☆- no changes here, my wife is still using this on vacations.
Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones - ★★★★★ - These are one of my favorite purchases of the past year. I just came back from a vacation where I used them a few times a day. Highly recommended.
Kuhn Rikon Dual Edge Slice and Serve - ★★★★★ - this continued to be a useful addition to our kitchen
Supermechanical Range Smart Thermometer - ★★★★☆ - neat toy, can’t say I’m using it much any more.
Epicurean Utensils - ★★★★★ - our go to utensil
Duralex glass food storage - ★★★★★- still love, best food storage system
Joseph Joseph Salad Bowl - ★★★★★ - still love, used almost every day
Menu Dining Bottle Grinder - ★★★★★ - still love
Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner - ★★★★★- still love, used almost every day to clean lettuce
Home simplehuman Sensor Mirror - ★★★★★ - Lora uses this nearly every day. We’ve charged it 3 times in the past year. Totally amazeballs.
S’Well Water Bottles - ★★★★★- these are still amazing. We have 6 of them, and we got small ones for our kids. LOVE these things. I’ve since backed the Kickstarter Fred Bottle, and am looking forward to reviewing that.
Vornado 660 Whole Room Air Circulator - ★★★★★- we used this every day in the summer and just started it up again as we’ve had a few warm days.
Wool Comforters - ★★★★★ - had this for a few years now and we still love our wool duvet
Simplehuman Sensor Pump - ★★★★★- love
Picturewall – A wall full of photos in a box - ★★★★★ - love. It’s the one thing most visitors to our home comment on
Leifheit Wall Dryer - ★★★★★ - awesome
August Smart Lock - ★★★☆☆ - still like, but still needs improvement. August came out with a small plug in wifi device that lets you control the lock outside your home. Also there have been numerous software improvements and auto-unlocking is very reliable now. Still not 100% though.
Dyson Cordless Vacuum Cleaners - ★★★★★ - love
Battery Recycling Container - ★★★★☆ - love
The Week Magazine - ★★★★★ - we have moved 100% to the digital edition which I read on my iPad.
Kenu Airframe – Mounting your Phone in your Car - ★★★★★ - We have one for every car and I continue to use this almost every day. Since getting the iPhone 6 Plus I had to upgrade to their larger edition.
The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made? - ★★★★★ - many friends are sporting these now. Lora loves their t-shirts!
Capsule Wallet - ★★★★★ - still my daily carry wallet. Love this thing, and the quality is fantastic.
Trakdot – GSM location based luggage tracking - ★★★☆☆ - reliability has improved and it works flawlessly in the US. Not sure if international coverage / bugs have improved.
Hard Sided Spinner Luggage – Victorinox Spectra 2.0 - ★★★★★ - these bags are bomb proof. After a year of trips, we continue to think they are the best luggage for the price.