When you’re on the road, whether locally or internationally, sometimes you just need that little device, gadget or thingamajig to make your work life easier. These tools are not just for road warriors, but for anyone who appreciates elegant lifehacks.
Here are eight of my favorites:
Breffo spiders are absolutely amazing. Simple, but super cool. You can mold one into a stand for your iPad, iPod, Droid, mobile phone or whatever else it can wrap itself around. My only advice: Do not play around and set one up to look like a giant spider to scare your friend on a dark night. It will scare them, and you won’t like the outcome (nor will your friend).
LoJack for Laptops. When my laptop was stolen a few years back, how I wished for LoJack-type technology to get the data back–never mind the laptop. Now it’s here. Instead of a silly cable lock that can be easily snipped, load the LoJack software if you are wandering around anywhere where your machine is out of sight.
Skype Mobile has saved my neck a bunch of times. Last year, Skype sent me a DroidX to test and play with, and having VOIP on a mobile phone simply rocks. When I’m close to my call minute maximum or I just feel like making a free call, the Skype Mobile app via the Verizon cell network cannot be beat. You can IM, call Skype-to-Skype and make international calls at Skype rates (not higher cell phone rates).
iTwin looks like a USB-drive, but it is really a device to set the world free from cables. You plug one half into your computer and the other half into any other computer and you can access your files from your home network or the Internet. Pretty sweet.
ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive just commands respect. Rodney Dangerfield could have gotten respect if he had one of these. You can bake ’em, submerge ’em, drive over them with your Ford F150 pickup truck and still get the data out. We gave a couple away after testing them last year. I used a nonportable one as a boat anchor, an anvil, a meat tenderizer (don’t ask), and a spoof on Will-It-Blend where I crushed a blender. Plus, you can bolt them to the floor and make them hard to steal. But the little portable hard drives from ioSafe are amazing and sleek.
iGo provides a variety of eco-friendly chargers and battery boosts. This iGo device has to be one of my favorites for mobile devices (not laptops). You plug it in and charge it up, then if you’re not near an outlet it will continue to run your device on its internal battery. Hat tip to Matt Kostanecki of Archon Systems.
If you need a portable hard drive with above-average security, check out ROCBIT FXKT. This device has one of the most secure encryption modes available and is both bus-powered and bootable with key-token technology. What does that really mean? The hardware itself is doing the encryption, which makes it more effective and less “hackable.”
The last item I want to share is a neat little compound called Sugru invented by Jane ni Dhulchaointigh. Sugru is like modeling clay, but made from silicone. Once it’s exposed to air, it cures to a tough, flexible silicone overnight.
It is designed to stick to as many other materials as possible. It forms a strong bond to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass and other materials including plastics. A friend of mine used it to pad the corners of his new iPhone. Another made a thin power cord adapter more “grippy.” Trust me and check out the Sugru site for more ideas.
What are your favorite gadgets and devices to enhance your productivity, protect your devices, or just plain help you in your work?