My Yearly Top Ten List

Everyone is doing top ten lists for the end of the year. I’d like to publish mine. Below are the ten tech/geek things I do not want to live without.

My 60 gb video iPod. I use this thing every day. It is almost three years old, scratched and dinged, but is still the thing I do not leave the house without. It plugs into my car stereo when I’m driving and keeps me sane at my desk at work with noise-canceling headphones and has saved many a party along the way.

My ergonomic keyboard. Yes, the bulky Microsoft version in that fabulous putty color. I type a lot as a writer and as a geek, and this keyboard has saved me a lot of pain in my shoulders and hands over the years.

Flash/Thumb drives. I’ve had my butt saved more times than I can count because I had something backed up on a flash drive that I was carrying. Everything from programs to presentations to critical files have become easily portable and sharable with the development of the stable flash drive.

My laptop. It doesn’t matter what laptop, as long as I have one. I’m blessed to have three at the moment, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. My favorite by far is my beat up Gateway M275 convertible tablet, which has gone to hell and back on airplanes, in presentations, in cars, on public transit, and in every coffee shop I have ever passed. Its Intel-based wifi is the most seamless and best delivery of wifi I’ve ever had. I’ve used it so much that I’ve worn the letters off the keys (I call it a “security feature”). My shiny new flamingo pink Dell 1525, even with its souped-up innards, can’t compare to that little Gateway when it comes to speed and finding hotspots.

Google. From google search, google desktop, google reader, google groups, google docs, and gmail, I have everything I need right at my fingertips. Stable, reliable, and always useful. “Google is my friend,” I always tell my students.

My widescreen Apple Cinema Display. Although I use four computers regularly, and not all of them have this, the one with the Apple Cinema Display gets all my attention. 22″ of true wide screen gives me all the room I need to have multiple windows open and still see everything I need to see.

My AT&T high-end DSL. We get 6 down and 3.5 mps up on a regular basis, which is good when you have a house full of computers and kids who want to use them. Sometimes I get as much as 8 down, and 4 mps up, especially in the off-hours. For now, we have no bandwidth cap and I hope we don’t ever see one (fat chance of that, but a girl can hope).

Voice-Activated software. Particularly Dragon Naturally Speaking, in my case. I’m facing shoulder surgery later this week and will not be able to use my right arm/hand for two weeks or more. I would be completely out of touch if it weren’t for things like voice activated software. Even Via Voice, as lame as it is, is at least a semblance of useful for people facing short-term disability.

Audio Books. They are a great way to leave the world behind, and to pass the time when traveling or trying to avoid real work. I listen to them in the car, at home, on planes, even in my office when I need a break from all the student angst in the lab (especially during finals).

Facebook and Yahoo Instant Messenger. It’s how I keep up with my kids and husband during the day and when we are separated. I’m blessed to have a flexible job that allows me to have this type of contact with my kids during the day, since they are schooled at home. Facebook lets me see who their friends are and who they are talking to, and YIM gives me instant access to them when they are online. A mother’s dream!

That’s my list. What’s yours?