The fact that I’m a Graduate Student in French Literature would not immediately inform you of the fact that I am also a huge fan of technology. Not only do I love it, but I love to find out how it works, why it’s necessary (if it, indeed, is), and why I use so much of it so much of the time.
My first gadget that I can’t live without may sound obvious: my cell phone. I have an LG Dare, and I absolutely love it. The touch screen is very easy to use, and I use a lot of the applications and features every day. It’s always either in my pocket or in my purse, and I like it that way. If I don’t want to talk to anyone I screen calls (which annoys me unless I’m the one doing it) or just turn it off. But it’s a great phone, and it’s nice to be accessible for work and family and friends.
My second gadget is my MacBook Pro. Say what you want about Macs (they’re overpriced, they have a game deficiency…they’re overpriced…) but Macs are amazingly easy to use and they endure quite well over time. Also, I’m a writer, and Mac has some very cool word programs that make it easier for a writer to cut, edit, etc. Macs also have many things that would appeal to any creatively-inclined person–music, videos, mp3s–Macs can handle pretty much any type of file.
My third gadget is something that may surprise you. I watch many, many DVDs and videos on my computer, and sometimes the files won’t play. I’m sure that’s happened to some of you, and it’s impossibly frustrating. But I found a player called the VLC Media Player, and it plays anything. And, I mean anything. Mp3s, mpgs, mpegs, wmvs, rars, etc, etc, etc. It’s free to download, and I use it at least three or four times a week to watch something online or something on my external hard drive.
That leads us to my fourth gadget I absolutely couldn’t live without: my external hard drive. It’s a 500g external, and it’s fantastic. I like watching TV while I fall asleep, but I don’t like the programs that are on when I actually end up falling asleep (usually the old men with white hair screaming at the camera about Christ), so I plug in my external hard drive and watch something even more mind-numbing than TV evangelists. Maybe South Park, or Family Guy, or the Simpsons. I can fall asleep and not have to set a Sleep timer on the TV.
The fifth gadget is something that has only recently been available, but I recommend it to anyone who loves to read but doesn’t have the budget to buy a paperback once or twice a month. The Barnes and Noble Nook is incredible. It holds up to 1500 titles, and it remembers your spot in every single one. E-books will never replace the good ole’ paperbacks and hardbacks for me, but at this point in my life–broke grad student, that says quite enough–it’s a great way to read fantastic books for sometimes half the price. A book in stores costs anywhere from $10-20, and online in E-book form the same book may cost anywhere from $5-10. It’s a great money-saver, time-saver, and space-saver. You can carry up to 1500 books in one great little machine.
Any techie would enjoy any of these, but I would definitely recommend the Nook to anyone on a short budget who likes to read. The initial cost my stretch you, but after that you’ll save a ton with the ebook format.