Gadgets to Make You More Productive

    In the midst of considering large-scale infrastructure upgrades or managing new server deployments, it's often the small things that matter when it comes to individual productivity. Hopefully, you're not still struggling with an unresponsive ball-mouse from the garage sale two years ago, or squinting at a flickering CRT display?

    To help move things along, our Paul Mah has highlighted some must-have peripherals that he considers to be excellent tools for helping the SMB executive work more comfortably and efficiently. Nothing scientific here — just Paul's favorites.

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    Click through for a closer look at peripherals that make our Paul Mah (and hopefully yourself) more productive.

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    I use a wireless mouse at my desk and on my laptop when out and about.The cord of a wired mouse has a nasty of habit of tangling up into an unsightly mess and gets in the way during presentations.One time-honed argument against a wireless mouse is the constant need to change batteries.However, I can attest that I’m averaging multiple months on each battery change – even with 10 to 12 hours of use a day.In fact, some claims about the newer wireless mice are that they work for more than a year, effectively making this a moot concern. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 comes with BlueTrack technology that promises to work on a wide range of surfaces – from a wool rug to the polished veneer of your desktop — while eliminating the need for a mouse pad.

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    Need an additional USB port?Why not get the Belkin In-Desk USB Hub, which comes in a cylindrical shape and will slot nicely into that grommet hole in your desk.That’s killing two birds with one stone: Get that unsightly plastic widget out of the way and connect up to four USB devices to it with plug-and-play ease.

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    As someone really particular about the keyboard I use, I’ve found the Apple Wireless Keyboard comes with three attributes that are available with no other models I’ve seen.And trust me, I’ve really looked. The Apple Wireless Keyboard uses Bluetooth, comes with beautiful chiclet keys and is compact, yet equipped with full-sized keys.And of course, it looks really good on your desk, too.

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    Unless you’re an engineer or game developer, most executives nowadays are likely to be working directly from a laptop.Well, nothing like a large wide-screen LCD monitor to show the big picture, so to speak.Beyond its 23-inch display, the P2350-1 comes with a nifty resolution of 1920 x 1080, which provides much greater detail than most laptops.

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    If you’ve read my blog on investing in monitor stands, you will know that I’m a big fan of multi-monitor setups.So it’s vital to properly position your display in an ergonomic position that doesn’t result in unnecessary eyestrain.The Ergotron LX Desk Mount does just that, allowing you to work in comfort over longer periods of time.

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    It might be necessary at times to do a video chat or record a short video. The built-in webcams of most laptops, however, don’t produce terribly good quality. The Logitech Webcam C905, however, comes with high-quality Carl Zeiss optics and true 2-megapixel lens. In addition, its advanced autofocus works to eliminate fuzzy images that should reduce unnecessary tweaking or having to reshoot.

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    I’ve had my share of trying to decipher voice recordings or scratchy-sounding videos.There are times when the built-in speakers of a laptop just don’t cut it, and you need something that can go louder.The Expressionist Bass provides a much more powerful sound in a relatively compact footprint. And because the subwoofer is built right into the base of each speaker, you get powerful base without having to contend with an additional footrest.

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    I will admit that I never understood the value in a business card scanner until I started writing and find myself having to cope with hordes of PR folks.It’s great to have as much information as possible in one’s address book, but who has the time to type in everything?Enter DYMO CardScan Executive for automated update into Outlook.Of course, the system isn’t cheap.But if you attend lots of conferences, it’s an investment that will pay off.

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