Tools I Use (part II of II): Hardware

Here’s the other half of the Tools I Use post.  Friday was about the software I use, today is about the hardware.  Again, in no particular order:

Split Keyboard: I type so much that I need something ergonomic.  I tried a split keyboard when I worked for the FBI doing a lot of typing and it became a must-have.  I never have pain in my wrists from typing unless I am on my laptop a lot, or have to use someone else’s keyboard.

USB headset: As mentioned on Friday, I use Skype… so this headset is how I answer the phone or make calls out.  I love how it is hands-free so I can be on a call and take notes the entire time.

Optical mouse with a scroll wheel: You know the mouse that has that wheel on the top, so you can easily scroll up and down a website?  If I don’t have the wheel I’m apt to go nutz.  Seriously.  I hate using a mouse that does not have the scroll wheel.

UPS: This is that big battery backup that you plug all your stuff into… I’ve had a few brownouts and my UPS easily keeps my computer up.  There’s nothing fun about an electrical problem that causes your machine to reboot… my UPS is awesome.

Two monitors: I cannot do it with one monitor anymore… I have one that is 19″ wide and another that is 22″ wide, and I use all of it.  One day I’ll have four monitors… if you don’t think you can use two monitors you simply haven’t tried.  When I’m on the road and have to use just my laptop monitor I really feel the limitation.

Palm Treo: This is my phone… I don’t know if my next one will be an iPhone (sexy but crappy phone service), a BlackBerry (which I can use on my Sprint account), or a Palm Pre… but for now this does what I want.  I should note that I DO NOT do email or surf the web on my phone… I had to draw the line somewhere and this was it.  I don’t want email to get at me 24×7!

Thumb Drives: When I’m on the road I rely on my thumb drives to transfer my presentations. I didn’t think they were a big deal but I use them all the time when on the road.

Magellan GPS: I call this my “Lady,” and she is crucial to my travels.  I bought a 4″ wide for $175 (it was a floor model) and have loved it from day one.  My Lady has saved me on many trips, and the amount of stress from navigating a new city has gone from 100 to 0 from that day on.

Honorable Mention: Dymo Twin Turbo LabelWriter: Since I got my LinkedIn DVDs in, and started shipping them, this has become my new best friend.  I bought the twin since it prints two different labels… on the left is the shipping label (with your name and my return address) and on the right is the stamps… it is SO awesome to be able to fulfill all of my DVDs from my desk, without having to go to the post office (as long as it the package goes domestic).

What hardware tools do you live by?

3 thoughts on “Tools I Use (part II of II): Hardware”

  1. Wow! You got two monitors? That is just slick! 🙂 I think I need that. Anyway I want to share mine:

    An ACER Emachine: Core Duo2, 4GB RAM, DVD Writer, 6-ion battery, an A4 headset and a 320GB Western Digital External Hard Drive — This is for my on-the-spot editing. So
    I could edit my videos even at Starbucks.

    A Sony SR200 HDD Camcorder (40GB) for my video documentaries with Bluetooth Microphone so even if the speaker is right across the street I could still capture the audio with no problems on my camcorder.

    A Sony Tripod with remote control for documentary interviews.

    A Sony DCR-HC42 Mini DV Camcorder as back-up camcorder for my other events.

    I’m planning to buy a 1TB external hard drive soon. I think you should buy one of those Jason so you could store all your files there and take it anywhere you want. 😉

  2. Part I and II – all great advise and i too live by and with most of them.

    The BEST in productivity is in my humble opinion…

    DUAL MONITORS – Jason said it best… if you don’t use two monitors, you haven’t tried it and the productivity improvement is great! Bill Gates (yes – the MS Bill Gates) wrote about the use of 2 monitors a few years back. I added mine about 1 yr ago.

    The other items are great, but I think anyone and everyone will gain immeidate benefit from having dualies to see work.

  3. Hi, Jason,

    This is a fun topic! I love your tools. Mine also include two printers for my home office: one HP laser jet printer for economy of printing costs, and one HP Business Inkjet 1200 (color/black& white) that does duplex printing. I teach courses locally, and I really use them both a lot.

    I love the ideal of two monitors…I’ll give that one some more thought!



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