Busy managers don't always have time to be chained to a desk. They need tools to stay mobile and take care of business. Today's technology makes it easier than ever for managers to stay in touch and keep on top of business. From smartphones to privacy filters, check out these gadgets that no manager should be caught without.
1. Notebook computer: Don't try to function without one of these. Laptops let you carry your work with you wherever you go and stay connected with the office and Internet at all times. Invest in the latest Core 2 Duo models with at least 100 GB hard disk space, 1 GB RAM, Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi/3G capabilities, and a DVD/CDRW drive.
2. Smartphone: 36 percent of gadget fans rated the handheld smartphone as the one tool they couldn't do without. Essentially, smartphone is a phone with a mini laptop inside. It fits in your pocket, which puts an end to having to lug around a laptop bag all day. Blackberry, iPAQ and Treo are perennial favorites, but the iPhone, Samsung F700 and LG Prada are worth checking out as well.
3. Personal Digital Assistant: PDAs have come a long way. Originally designed as personal organizers, they now offer word processing, email and internet access as well. Use yours to keep on top of your schedule and communications on the go.
4. Mobile phone: Don't get caught without this lifeline. It's a must have item to keep in touch with the office. Be sure to choose a model and rate plan that offers messaging and internet access.
5. Data card: 3G or WiFi, data cards are necessary for connecting to the internet on the go. 3G services can be pricey, but they're faster and easier to connect with than than WiFi.
6. WiFi scanner: This gadget comes in handy when you're traveling and need to connect immediately. It allows you to check if you're in a WiFi zone without even opening your laptop.
7. Privacy filter: Keep over the shoulder snoopers at bay! Clip this black opaque plastic bit on to your laptop and keep your screen safe from prying eyes.
8. Bluetooth headset: Headsets are a great device for keeping your hands free while carrying on a conversation. You can talk and work on the computer without having to worry about strain on your neck. Choose from a variety of manufacturers.
9. SIM card back up device: If you're prone to breaking or losing your phone, you're familiar with the pain of losing your SIM information. One fateful drop, and your entire address book is wiped out. Use a SIM card back up device to keep your data safe and available for transfer to a new phone.
10. Travel charger: When you're running low on battery without an outlet in sight, use a travel charger. Products like Charge2Go allow you to draw power from an AA battery for your mobile phone.
11. Spare batteries: When all else fails, turn to your backup. Carry spare batteries for your notebook computer, mobile phone and PDA. Make sure they are fully-charged before you leave.
12. Flash drive: These small devices store from 256 KB to 12 GB, and are fast replacing CDs and other forms of portable storage. They come in flashy shapes and designs, and "unbreakable" packages. Use them for quick and easy transfers between two devices as well as for storage.
13. Password management software: Do you have trouble remembering all of your passwords? Try this USB device on for size. It fills in passwords for you. Also use it to fill in web forms that ask for data, like your name and address.
14. System locks: Are you in the habit of leaving your desk without shutting down your system? Invest in a PC lock. It uses the Bluetooth feature of your mobile phone to lock down automatically when you leave the area.
15. Security software device: If you don't want to put your security software on your computer, you can use a flash drive to hold your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. There are a variety of these "gatekeeper" devices available on the market.
16. Bluetooth in-car phone: Plug your phone into an on-board system that doubles as a charger and use your voice or strategically-placed buttons to operate your phone. This is the ultimate in hands-free talk.
17. Flash memory with easy boot features: The Samsung R&D division has a 4 GB flash drive that uses the ReadyBoost feature in Windows Vista to store information that is otherwise written to the hard disk. Samsung claims that this flash memory stick will boost system performance.
18. Bracelet phone: This piece of high-tech jewelry flashes when you've got an incoming call. It's a handy way to discreetly receive phone calls during a meeting.
19. The keyboard computer: Kiss your PC tower goodbye. The Cybernet ZPC-945SL looks like a plain keyboard, but there's a lot more under those keys: an Intel P4 processor that powers at 3.4 GHz, standard hard drive and DDR memory.
20. Inkless photo printer: If you want to print your photos on the go, check out this new technology in the works from Polaroid. These printers are built into digital cameras and use special paper to print small pictures.
21. Wireless keyboard and mouse: These devices use Bluetooth technology and are convenient for times when you have to work a few feet away from your PC. The mouse has its own rechargeable battery.
Gadgets, or gags?
22. Itch soother: Don't want to be caught scratching mosquito bites in public places? Use this. The Itch Soother uses heat to stop itching and swelling.
23. Alarm clock: This nifty little device is an alarm clock that doubles as a file holder. It's in the shape of a stick figure, with a clock for a face and clips for hands.
24. Pen holder: Wrangle your pens and pencils into one neat space. This pen holder also has a display with a clock and calendar.
25. The no-ink pen: This pen writes without ink or refills. It uses an alloy that leaves an unerasable, pencil-like mark. Never get caught with a dried up pen again.
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