We use many types of devices these days. A few of them are essential while others are considered as luxury. There are things which made transition from the territory of luxurious items to that of essentials. Some devices do look like luxury items but prove to be useful and increase productivity when we actually start using them. Here is the list of such productive luxury items – based on my firsthand experience. You may get feeling that I’m just a retard who likes to overspend his money on gadgets to show off. Trust me, that isn’t true – at least for the things mentioned in this article. So, let’s get started.
1. Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
If you’re like me, you hate cables and wires. They’re bad, they entangle, they get caught in table corners and hooks, they get frayed, and they tie us to something. They are bad bad bad! If I could, I would avoid them altogether and make everything wireless. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible at least for now. Wireless networks are unstable and increase security risks, wireless power transfer is inefficient and so on. But that is not the case when it comes to wireless computer peripherals. You can easily have a wireless mouse and keyboard.
If you use a notebook, it’s always good to have a full keyboard than a trimmed down notebook keyboard. It is plainly painful to fiddle with the Fn key when you have to preview presentation with F5 key or skip a song with media key. If you plan to do any serious work with your notebook which involves image manipulation or multiple window management, mouse is a must. No matter how good your notebook’s trackpad is, if cannot replace mouse!
I personally use Logitech wireless keyboard-mouse combo. It has a tiny receiver which sits in a USB port of notebook without getting into way. It also supports encryption so that no one can steal your passwords by hacking into the communication between keyboard and the receiver.
2. Wireless Router
Again, cables are bad, blah blah blah! Wireless router helps you cut one more chord. However, use of wireless router extends beyond accessing Internet wirelessly. There’s so much you can do with a wireless router. You can run your own home network and connect all your devices to it. It gives you more control over what and who is accessing your network resource. You can do many more things like syncing devices wirelessly, hosting all your data in one place and access it from any device, allow or block a particular type of connection and so on.
Recently, I got myself this excellent router and I realized how much trouble I have been putting myself into. I have created a home network, had LAN gaming parties, played with the Raspberry Pi, made all my movies accessible on any device on the network, synced iPod and phones wirelessly, used iPad as another display for computer (and many more things) with the help of the router.
3. Bluetooth Stereo Headset
I consume a lot of music, like really a lot. So much that people have started complaining that earphones came attached when I was born. And if you are anything like me, you have realized that it’s simply painful to take your phone or music player out of pocket just to pause the music when friend says ‘Hi’. There are lots of other scenarios when being tethered to earphones is inconvenient. Technically, lightweight music player like iPod shuffle would solve most of the problem – you can clip it to clothing and it has music controls. But, what happens when your phone rings? And what about all the voice control features your phone provides? You’re going to miss that with shuffle. Bluetooth headset solves trouble.
A while ago, I got this cute guy. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to compromise with the music quality. You can plug in any pair of earphones or headphones you want and still have microphone and music controls. Plus it supports AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Protocol) which is supported by most of the devices – right from open source Linux to proprietary iOS. Moreover, it is way less expensive than most of the Bluetooth stereo headsets.
4. A TabletA Tablet
Okay, I might be letting myself a bit loose here. First of all, tablets are mostly considered consumption devices and not productivity tools. Secondly, for most of the people, they have nothing more than a thing to show off. Lastly, they are tad expensive. Agreed. But if you want to have some distraction free workspace or a device to do regular tasks like mailing and tweeting with focus, tablets are a good productivity tool. After all, tools are mere objects – it is about the way you make use of them.
I got iPad last summer and it has proven useful for number of tasks like focused reading, focused writing, casual browsing, etc. I also use it as testing machine for the Windows 8 apps I code.
5. Spare Cables and USB Chargers
You have no excuse here. If you take you are one of those guys who carry devices with them (which, I’m sure, is most of us) you must pack a spare charging/sync cable and a USB charger in your backpack. This saves you the trouble of unplugging and packing chargers and cables every time you leave. They’re so cheaply available that I see no reason not to buy and carry an extra copy around.
In my pack, I keep short versions of Apple’s sync cable and regular micro USB cable. Avoid carrying long cables around – they get entangled and take more storage space. I also keep a small USB adapter. So whenever my iPad or phone runs out of battery, I can plug the charger in and fill up the juice.
Do have any recommendations of ‘should have’ items? Let us know via comments.