Gadgets to Make You More Productive
Must-have peripherals that Paul Mah considers to be excellent tools for helping you work more comfortably and efficiently.
In the same vein of my "Top 10 Gifts for the Traveling Executives" post, I've put together a list of gift ideas suited for the small office/home office (SOHO) setup. Get them for a loved one, or simply use the opportunity to spruce up on your hardware lineup to work better in the year ahead.
Apple Wireless Keyboard
The Apple Wireless Keyboard is a classic in terms of its sheer sleekness, while its chiclet keys make cleaning much easier. The full-sized keyboard (sans the numeric keypad) is slim enough to slip into a bag in a pinch, yet its stiff aluminum enclosure ensures zero flex. As a bonus, the latest model uses just two AA batteries.
The Bluelounge CableBox is a deceptively simple-looking box that serves to eliminate unsightly cable dust. The winner of various design awards, the width of the Cablebox also makes it suitable to hide long and wide surge protectors within its confines.
Ergotron Stand Fit
The Ergotron WorkFit series of workstations allows workers to take a sit-or-stand approach when working on their computers. Utilizing the company's "Constant Force" lift technology, minimum effort is required to slide a monitor and keyboard holder into position for working when standing.
ioSafe SoloPRO External Hard Drive
The ioSafe SoloPRO is an extremely rugged external hard disk drive touted to be both fireproof and waterproof. Data is protected at temperatures of up to 1550F for half an hour, while water is kept out even when fully immersed at up to 10ft for 72 hours. The SoloPRO is available with an eSATA and USB 3.0 interface, and can be implemented as a third-tier backup device with modern NAS.
Olympus DR-2300 Digital Audio Recorder
The Olympus DR-2300 is a USB-based professional digital audio recorder for high-performance dictation or use with speech recognition software. Microphone sensitivity is adjustable, making it ideal even in a busy office, while a built-in trackball and button layout allows for single-handed control. The DR-2300 is compatible with Windows XP and above (32/64-bit) and Mac OS X systems (10.4.11 onwards).
Peplink Balance Multi-WAN Router
The Peplink Balance family of multi-WAN routers allows enterprise businesses or SOHOs to make use of more than one Internet connection at the same time. With all configuration done via an easy-to-use Web interface, businesses can gain much higher reliability as well as greater bandwidth from the use of multiple Internet links. I wrote a review of the Peplink 380 Multi-WAN Router on SMB Tech last year.
Plantronics Calisto 835 Speakerphone
The Plantronics Calisto 835 multi-device speakerphone system is optimized for Microsoft Lync and Microsoft OCS 2007, allowing for seamless switching between calls taken from the PC, mobile phone and land line. An included wireless microphone offers freedom of movement when on speakphone, while a 2.4-inch display and touch-sensitive dial pad allows for easy dialing, switching of calls and other call-related functions.
Synology DS712+ NAS
The Synology DS712+ is a high-performance and scalable two-bay NAS designed just for SMB users. It is the most powerful NAS in its class, with dual-Gigabit LAN ports and link aggregation support for up to 180MB/sec read and 105MB/sec write performance. Under the hood, it is powered by the same Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system as the five-bay Synology DS1511+. Two USB ports and an eSATA port allow for expansion, with the latter used to connect an optional DX510 five-drive bay for additional capacity and RAID options.