Happy Techsgiving! Top 7 Tech Gadgets I’m Thankful for in 2012

By John Dixon

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided to take a couple minutes to think about what tech gadgets I have been most thankful for in 2012. I’ve seen both consumers and corporate clients really begin to embrace a few technologies over the past year. As a consultant, a lot of these things make life easier for me, my coworkers, and my company.

1. DropBox

…and other online file-sharing/storage solutions. This is more of a selfish item. I use DropBox personally to sync documents and data across various devices. Being on the road much of the time, I’ve assembled a small arsenal of technology to try and find that allusive combination that truly helps me deliver services to my clients. More and more devices sometimes makes it more difficult to stay organized. One platform, like DropBox, that helps me access my documents from any device is a technology that I’ve grown to rely on.

2. SSD Drives

For the first time, I can run several virtual machines and my desktop OS from my laptop, without sacrificing performance. I never thought I would need to do this, but it certainly helps my day-to-day productivity. I run one desktop that is always connected to the VPN of my client project, one for my GreenPages desktop, and my desktop OS to access documents on my local machine. Being able to instantly switch between them has been a huge help to me lately. Sometimes I’ll spin up a new VM to test a concept or a piece of code. The SSD makes all of this possible.

3. Cloud Infrastructure Services

Being able to spin up a virtual environment quickly and for low cost has really been helpful for both me and some of my clients. For example, recently I was able to spin up a J2EE (Tomcat, mysql, Apache) environment for a day to test something for one of my clients. I didn’t need to keep any of the data in the environment, so I used it for a day and shut it down, all for about $2.00 or so. Once the monitoring and management is ironed out, I really think this type of IaaS will be a very attractive alternative for corporate clients, especially development groups and startups.

4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

GreenPages recently adopted this option for desktop computing, and I think it is fantastic. Having an arsenal of technology available to you is one thing, but having the arsenal of technology that you are comfortable using and are excited about is another. BYOD allows employees to get the technology that best fits their working style and expertise. I think this will become more and more important as the trend advances to employ more and more remote resources. And the next generation of workers – those who have grown up with all-the-time connectivity – will almost certainly work more efficiently with BYOD policies instead of TIWYG (This Is What You Get) policies.

5. Cloud Collaboration Platforms

This one is similar to #1, but more along the lines of collaboration. I work in a distributed team where face-to-face communication is not always possible. Being able to share documents and track issues from the same platform is almost necessary when it comes to complex projects.

6. App Stores

I admit, I like Apple stuff. I’ve heard the resentment of the Apple App Store – it’s a closed system, Apple gives only a 30% cut to developers, etc. But how often do you see a small organization or even a single individual effectively competing in the same market/landscape with large corporations? The cool thing about the App Store is that it narrows the focus on quality and experience of the product (the App, in this case). Sometimes the smaller organizations, including some of our clients, can deliver higher quality products and services than the “big guys.” App Stores are cool because they basically level the playing field.

7. Bluetooth In Rental Cars

I travel a decent amount so this is obviously extremely helpful when I am on the road. Another thing I can be thankful for!

What technologies are you Thankful for this year?


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