I'm a firm believer that holidays should have some significance, some meaning which sets them apart from other days. I'm also a firm believer that the meaning in question should not relate to bottom lines or profit margins, so Valentine's Day is a holiday that just (pardon my language, folks) ticks me off! Don't get me wrong – a day set aside to show affection for loved ones isn't a bad thing, but I refuse to buy one more super-sized industrial box of chocolates only to have my husband eat all the good stuff and leave me with the coconut stuff. (Honey, if you're reading this, I want the peanut butter cups!)
So, since it seems certain behemoth card manufacturers who shall remain nameless (I'm looking at you, you know who) have turned Valentine's Day into a money-making machine, I decided to appropriate the day for my own purposes just as they have, and to share my top 5 techie loves. Sure, I love my husband, and I love my son, and I tolerate my family (just kidding, mom—love you!). But what I really love, since we're being so material on the 14th, are the gadgets and other "technobilia" that make my life so doggone easy.
My Techie Loves
5) My pretty, new Dell UltraSharp 1704FPV 17-Inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor With Height Adjustable Stand. Yes, I got that title directly from Dell's site. This thing is, well, ultra sharp. Truth in advertising and all that. It's also pretty flat, which allows for my messy self to put more pieces of scratch paper all over my desk. Goodbye bulky CRT, hello LCD. Love ya.
4) My Plantronics TriStar NC Headset (H81N). If there's one thing I hate, it's seeing the world at an angle because my head is permanently cocked to one side. No lie – I actually thought that tower in Pisa was straight. I kid, really. But this thing is fantastic! No more holding the phone with the ear while trying to operate a mouse or type something while talking. And don't get me started on that duckbill looking thing that's supposed to bridge the gap between your ear and your shoulder. This headset is where it's at! Bonus: No headset-hair, since the headset is single ear. Slight drawback: potential for "dumbo-ear" due to wearing a headset over one ear for eight hours a day.
3) My new cell phone. Folks, I went from a Nokia some model-or another with a black and white display and no extra features to a Samsung a670, with camera, full color display, voice recognition dialing, and too many other features to speak of. Sure, I love it for purely cosmetic reasons, since I didn't change providers (Verizon has always given the best signal). But if loving this phone is wrong, I don't wanna be right. We'll pause for a moment while you finish retching over that last line.
All ready to continue? Great!
2) My Imation USB 2.0 Swivel Flash Drive (256MB), which is admittedly not new, but which I love and will always love. In my job, I routinely have to transfer files between PCs and from PCs to laptops. Before my flash drive days, I would have to use some other medium, like a floppy, to transfer files. Or, I'd have to hook a laptop up to our network and login through a thin client, all for one measly little file. Now, I pop the flash drive in, copy the file, trot it on over to the destination, and slap it in. I'm done in a fraction of the time it might have taken me before. Bonus: It's on a lanyard, so I can look super-geeky if I've got it around my neck. Plus, it's close to my heart. SuperBonus: The flash drive disconnects from the lanyard for easy mobility, so I don't have to mess up my hair taking the lanyard off and putting it back on. Slight drawback: it's only got a 256MB capacity. But, size doesn't matter that much anyway. So long as it does the job.
And, drumroll please…..
1) GOOGLE! Is there anything those crazy guys can't do? I love Google because I can do a reverse phone directory lookup. I love them because I can do an informal reference search to protect myself from potential identity theft. I love them because, no matter what the search term, there's going to be a hit of some kind. I love them because, through Google Scholar, they've made academic research that much easier. But the top two reasons I love them? Desktop Search and Google Alerts. I can't do them justice here, so read up at the provided links. You can also read up on Google's Desktop Search in this article, written by TechTrax guru and all-around swell gal, Dian Chapman.
When you truly love something, you're supposed to let it go. So, I'm letting go of my secrets so you, too, can enjoy the techie things I love. Happy Valentine's Day!