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A Techie's Top 5: Jon Mitchell of ReadWrite Calls Out His Favorite Gadgets

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By , dealnews contributor

The folks at ReadWrite (formerly ReadWriteWeb) cover breaking technology news with ample zest and zeal, largely because they've got a staff chock full of young, smart reporters who know their gadgets and gizmos. One of those young tech lions is Jon Mitchell, who reports from the heart of all things Internet in San Francisco.

We asked Mitchell to contribute to our ongoing Techie Top 5 series, and he responded with an enthusiastic, "Sure, I'll play." Since joining ReadWrite last year, Jon writes about social networking, productivity, and how tech affects people, and there's no swaying him from his favorite tools for each. Read on, and you'll see what we mean.

Apple iPhone 5 64GB
($399 with a 2-year contract)
When we first contacted Mitchell, he had an iPhone 4. By the time we followed up with him, he'd bought an iPhone 5. This device (and his iPod) might as well be stapled to his body, as he relies on them so much. "My iPhone is my most personal computer and it's my Swiss Army knife," he says. "I count on it." Among his favorite apps for the iPhone 5 are Drafts, Evernote, and Pocket.

2012 American Standard Fender Telecaster
(From $999 with free shipping)
As a man with thousand and thousands of songs on his MP3 player, Mitchell has a thing for music. Though brand new, his Fender traces its timeless design to 1950. Rock heroes from Joe Strummer of The Clash to Bruce Springsteen (who plays an early version, called an Esquire) made the Telecaster famous. "Mine is translucent red with a black pickguard, a standard Fender 6-piece bridge, and custom shop Tele pickups," Mitchell says proudly. "I'm a music student who fell into writing, so I'd say I'm a lapsed semi-pro hobbyist." (We think he's being modest, having graduated Brown with an independent concentration in Music & Mind.)

Apple iPod Classic 160GB MP3 Player
($228.99 with free shipping, a low by $10)
Remember how we said that Mitchell loves music? His iPod classic at last count contains 28,869 songs, give or take a few new picks from the last couple of hours. While that's enough songs to fill an entire basement with CDs, Mitchell's iPod is only about 70 percent full, rocking with everything from Radiohead to Outkast. "Call me old-fashioned, but I want all my music with me at once," he says. "My iPod will always be by my side."

Amazon Kindle 6" WiFi eBook Reader (4th Generation)
(From $89 with free shipping)
Sure, it's decidedly low-tech in an age of Retina displays and tablets that can do everything short of recite the Gettysburg Address in Esperanto. But Mitchell stands by his 4th generation Kindle because it's cheap and runs a month on a single charge. "This is the ideal e-reader, if you ask me," Mitchell says. "It's cheap and simple, but the battery lasts forever, the buttons are satisfying, and the screen feels just like print."

Apple MacBook Air Intel Core i7 2.0GHz 13" Notebook
($1,674.99 with free shipping, a low by $24)
We asked Mitchell if he'd consider subbing this pick for something a bit more unusual or novel — and he politely declined. When we again asked him to consider something else, he began to sound more like a man in love than a tech writer. First, he explained that he fell for computers as a kid when his parents brought home the family's very first Mac. As for the MacBook Air (model no. Z0ND0001S), "I've had this computer since right after it came out," he explained. "And this is the computer I've always wanted. The form factor is perfect for a writer, but it's also powerful enough to serve as a primary machine for light to moderate use. It's an extension of me to help me get things done." It also has wicked-fast flash storage and weighs less than 3 lbs.

Curious to know what other gadgets our favorite techies can't live without? Check out the must-have lists from GottaBeMobile's Josh Smith and CNET's Molly Wood and more.



Lou Carlozo is a dealnews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth. Prior to that he was the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

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