Beaconfire Survey: Tech Gadgets

Editor’s note: Photo Credit: Periodically, we do a survey of Beaconfire staff to get impressions on a variety of non-profit technology issues. All opinions expressed here are solely those of their authors. This week, we thought we’d ask: What’s one tech toy or gadget everyone should have?

Andrew, Project Manager: Portable GPS, so you always know where you are during your adventures – big or small.

Michael, Principal Consultant: Let’s get real, no matter what tech gadget you have, the underlying need is POWER. That’s why my absolute favorite tech gadget is iGo. No matter where I am or what gadget needs juice, iGo fires me up.

If it only had an adaptor for my motorcycle, I’d be in heaven.

Milo, Marketing Consultant: It’s hard to exaggerate all the myriad little ways that smartphones make your life easier (pass time on the metro, keep track of tasks, send email, etc.). While their market penetration is still relatively low (<10%), smartphone usage is going to become more and more ubiquitous as cheaper and more advanced models are released.

Lynn, Principal Consultant: When you’re standing in front of a closed restaurant while the friend you were meeting has already figured it out and found a table at another eatery wondering why you’re not answering your cell phone (because it’s on your office desk, sigh), what other answer is there? What on earth did we do before cell phones!

Kate, Administrative Assistant: Cell phone. Let’s be honest with ourselves.

Miro, Software Engineer: A military grade GPS device, accurate to a foot, with driving directions. Cause you can’t get where you’re going in life without first knowing where you are.

Taylor, Software Engineer: After being delayed at the Miami airport for 6 hours and having no way of communicating with my (non-Spanish speaking) friend who was anxiously awaiting my arrival in San Jose, I am going to have to say cellphones.

Eric, Senior Consultant: For me, it’s the Blackberry. When the computer is off, it’s email and web browser (the first passable phone browser I’ve ever had) and when the computer is on, it’s a broadband modem.

Jo, Production Specialist: My favorite gadget that I actually own is my linux-compatible MP3 player, which lets me take all my music wherever I go, but these are at the top of my wish list:

  • A GPS system for my car, because I have a habit of getting very lost when I drive in DC or Baltimore; it would be nice to have someone give me directions instead of me fumbling with a map.
  • A Kindle, so I can read the news on the Metro without carrying a bulky newspaper, and when I finish the news, I can switch to any book that I’m reading.

Tim, Functional Consultant: I have tried and tried, and can’t think of a single gadget that I use that comes anywhere near being as indispensable as by cell phone. Nothing fancy though; I really liked having a Smartphone for a while, and being able to check email and browse the Web on the Metro, but I can easily live without that. What I can’t live without is a basic cell phone.

Elizabeth, Senior Consultant: In “I can’t live without it” order:

  • Palm Tungsten T3 (I’m such a Luddite!)
  • Cell phone
  • iPod
  • TiVO

Adebo, Software Engineer: The cell phone is a good one. But for TV viewers, I have to go with the TiVo. Nothing beats being able to skip ALL commercials, and watching what you want, when you want.

Amy, Functional Consultant: One gadget that has worked its way into my subconscious is TIVO. The ability to pause and rewind tv is fabulous – particularly for watching sports. Only one of my tvs has it but I invariably find myself trying to use the rewind button on the ones that don’t have it.

Erika, Operations Manaer: My favorite tech gadget is the wireless card in my computer that allows me to be sitting in a comfy chair in my living room instead of at the desk in my office upstairs. If I didn’t burn so easily, I’d be sitting outside enjoying the weather.

Cara, Project Manager: I agree DVRs and Cell Phones. I needed to give up my precious TiVo for a regular DVR and the usability of the DVR is a sad sad second compared to TiVo but I still wouldn’t like to be without it.

Rahul, Tech Lead: In the same manner, I use my iPod touch as my computer at home. I rarely use my laptop except if it’s work related and I can do just about anything through it’s Safari browser, including checking Outlook Web Access, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Google News Reader, and of course Slashdot and Engadget. The best part of it now are the hacked applications like the book reader which I have a few books on now. No need to get a Kindle or the Sony eBook reader.

When I do get the iPhone 3g, I will still use the iTouch as a PC.

Shiloh, Productional Specialist: I have to agree that cell phones are the biggest gadget I can’t live without. My combo cell phone, mp3 player, fm radio and pedometer (which you wouldn’t think you’d use, but I check it daily) has everything I want while I wander around DC.

The other “tech gadget” I can’t live without is my Tune-A-Fish shower radio. Gotta have my NPR in the morning.

John Brian, Marketing Consultant: I love my GPS and my digital camera, but I’ve got to give props to weird things you can plug into your USB port, like a missile launcher, vacuum, and pencil sharpener. Taking the cake is a beverage chiller, ensuring that your soft drink is on an unstable surface mere feet from your computer.

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