You’ve daydreamed of the ease of a George Jetson-style life, but what most likely jolted you from your reverie was that infuriatingly complex computer sitting on your desk. In many ways, technology has made our lives more difficult, but there are always exceptions. Technology actually exists that can help us streamline our work, save time, automate tasks—and just have fun. Advisor Today has picked out five gadgets to make your day—at work and home—that much better.
Let’s start in the morning. Want to find an extra 15 minutes in the a.m.? Skip the trip to Starbucks and the long wait in line (to pay for and to pick up your coffee). Instead, channel that inner barrista and open a café in your office. That’s right, you can ditch the Mr. Coffee that has been sputtering out weak, tepid coffee into a chipped carafe for the last 10 years. Instead, install a no-hassle Tassimo Premium Hot Beverage System. Just pop in a packaged, premeasured “disc,” press a button and voilá: a fresh cup of coffee—or tea, espresso, hot chocolate, latte or cappuccino. No wait, no mess, no clean up. Your assistant will thank you, your clients will thank you and your wallet will thank you. Oh, and remember to get some cool coffee cups to stack next to this sleek machine.
Tassimo Premium Hot Beverage System: $169
T discs: $3.99 - $9.95 ( )
I go, you go, we all go
You’re rushing across town to a midmorning presentation, and you need your laptop, cell phone and PDA. What you can’t have is any of them losing juice just when you need them most. It’s time to welcome the iGo Everywhere 130 Universal Notebook Power Adapter into your life. The company calls it an “all-in-one power solution for your mobile gear from any power source.” So, keeping your laptop and other mobile devices charged will no longer be a nightmare of tangled wires, missing adapters and too few plugs. With interchangeable power tips, the Everywhere 130 allows you to plug whichever brand device you have (Dell computer? Yep. Nokia phone? Sure. PalmPilot? Why not!) into the wall, your car or an airplane seat. And the dual-power accessory that comes with it allows you to charge two devices at once.
iGo Everywhere 130: $149.99 ()
Enough of the earbuds!
It’s lunchtime and you’d like nothing more than to close your office door, enjoy a deli sandwich and recharge your own batteries. What better way to do that than to drop your iPod (You do have one, don’t you?) into an Altec Lansing inMotion iM7? We may not know what “highly advanced neodymium drivers and tweeters” are, but we were sold on this set-up the second we found out that it is, in fact, a portable boom box with a remote. So, put your iPod on “shuffle” and listen to a few of the 15,000 songs you have loaded on it. Or, download the latest podcast from AdvisorToday.com’s Podcast Series: Building a More Successful Practice and get some great sales ideas from the best in the business.
Networking that works
You’ve just returned from a great afternoon of networking with a fistful of business cards. But those cards will only work for you if you have easy access to them. The answer: CardScan Executive. This little beauty scans up to 40 business cards a minute, putting the contact information in a format that is compatible with your contact management system (Outlook, ACT!, Lotus Notes, GoldMine, etc.). It’s also compatible with Palm handhelds, BlackBerrys and even your smartphone. Its no-hassle “interpretive technology” distinguishes titles from names, street addresses from email addresses, and phone numbers from fax numbers. So, within minutes you’ll have full digital access to all those new prospects.
CardScan Executive: $209.99 (www.cardscan.com)
The “World” in 7 inches
OK. Now it’s “me” time. You get home from the office and the kids have commandeered the flat screen with their Xbox. Well, pour yourself something cool, and head out to your deck. It’s time to watch the World Cup on your Archos AV 700 Mobile Digital Video Recorder. You may not have been in the stands of the Olympiastadion in Berlin for the final, but you can sure enjoy the game (over and over again) from the comfort of your chaise. The Archos 700 records directly from your TV, VCR, DVD player, cable or satellite box (with set schedules, if you wish) and then displays it on a 7-inch-wide LCD screen. In fact, you don’t need to settle for watching just the final—or semifinals; you can pack 400 hours of video onto this device. So, go ahead, indulge and put all the games on it! It also doubles as an MP3 player, and can store up to 1 million photos—so don’t forget to take it (and your Altec Lansing boom box) on your summer vacation.
Archos AV 700 Mobile DVR: 40 GB – $499.95; 100 GB – $599.95 (www.archos.com)