Juggling The Hardware

Juggling Gadgets - Small Business Blog It’s no secret that I am somewhat a gadget junkie. If I was working for some of the blogs that review gadgets constantly, I would probably forget the paycheck now and then. However, I don’t work for any such place, therefore experience a gadget hunger once in a while.

However, as I go along with many of them, I tend to realize that half of the gadgets are useless in 99% of cases. Depending on the work flow, a different set of gadgets is needed, so here’s mine:

  • Lenovo W701 laptop – my main power horse. Despite being exactly what I wanted I regret the purchase from time to time, thinking I should have opted for a smaller machine that would not take up a whole table at Starbucks.
  • Lenovo X61s laptop – the opposite extremity. While I wanted the lightest laptop possible, I didn’t quite realized, until later of course, that 12 inch screen with 1024×768 resolution is a little too small, especially for meetings with clients.
  • Droid/iPhone – or any smart phone for that matter. Surprisingly, I find myself more and more demanding only one thing from my phone – that is making/receiving calls. E-mails, notes, web, news, books and everything else from “on the go” menu has gone to iPad that is just as easy to flip out but has a lot more screen real estate.
  • Four 1TB USB-connected hard drives – too many connections, too slow a speed. I might only need one out of those four (or is it five?) drives, yet they are constantly connected for that “just in case” moment.
  • IBM T42p Windows XP based file server – this would have been a disgrace all by itself, especially given how many Linux servers we are running at Zealus, if not for this: despite all the rumors of Windows being a buggy unstable system and all, it’s been running without reinstall for OVER 2 YEARS straight! OF course, I don’t install a lot of software on it, and, of course, I keep up with patches. And the hardware is amazing too.
  • Gateway FHD 24 inch monitor – it’s like every acid junkie’s wet dream, the colors are so over saturated that my color calibrator gave up. Seriously.

So what am I replacing this zoo with in the course of a next year or so?

  • Lenovo W701 laptop – not going anywhere. It’s a solid performer and I doubt I will be replacing it any time soon. Given its 17 inch screen and 8 GB RAM – it hasn’t exhausted all its capabilities yet
  • Lenovo X61s laptop – I was thinking about Macbook Air, given how slim it is, but by the time Apple will have decided to update the hardware it will again be obsolete, so I wouldn’t even bother. Currently looking at ASUS UL80-J series, the one with 14 inch screen and Core i3 CPU. Alternatively, I just might go for Lenovo’s T410 series.
  • Droid/iPhone – I am keeping my iPhone 3GS at least until the end of the contract anyway, since that’s in February I guess I will be able to see all the offers of this year. But my primary urge is for Motorola Razor, so if you have one laying around – send it my way.
  • Four 1TB USB-connected hard drives + IBM T42p Windows XP based file server – will have to be combined into consumer NAS. There is no other way around this, unless I opt out for entry level server box.
  • Gateway FHD 24 inch monitor – being replaced with new IPS-based Apple Cinema display. Given how hard I am hitting photography now there is little, if any, alternatives left.

Have your own idea? Send it to me before Christmas shopping hits my wallet!


Good Customer Service Equals Bad Sales!

Good Customer Service Equals Bad Sales

Huh? How come? Hear me out, matey! During today’s lunch I went to both J & R and Staples – they are right across from each other in this part of town. There are plenty of sales representatives on the floor. However, whenever I enter J & R the most I get is a little longer then usual eye contact from one of the sales reps. As if he’s saying “Are you sure you don’t need any help? No? Okay, I’ll leave you alone”. Having a professional PC tech background I really appreciate such behavior. Besides, sometimes I just need to dive into the store and look around, touch things. Something I have been missing with the increasing role of web stores in my life.

When I enter Staples the picture gets totally different. Whenever in Staples I always get followed by one or another floor sales reps. They pretend to be adjusting things on the shelves and just pass by me (constantly) avoiding any eye contact whatsoever. Sometimes (probably) the bravest ones approach and ask if there’s anything I might need a help with. When they get my polite decline they still stick around like bad spies from the bad spy movie.

So, today, when I got into Staples, I was immediately followed by yet another sales person. He wasn’t afraid to make eye contact, so I rewarded him with couple of requests of things I was looking for (namely Microsoft Explorer Mouse and specific Fellowes CD tray/shelf that seem to be discontinued). Given that Staples didn’t have neither of things, I thanked and walked out. Perhaps if I wasn’t annoyed that much, I might have spent a little more time in the store and actually bought something (I’ve been known for spontaneous purchases of wired Logitech mice and blank CDs).

Such an experience at Staples has generally made it very undesireable for me to visit their stores. There are still some things that I prefer to buy “live” instead of just ordering them online, but Staples increasingly have made it difficult to indulge.

Given that my supply of stationary hasn’t changed much for last year and half, by the time I will need to visit Staples again – they might be already out of business.

software web

Offline-Online Integration Continues

Whenever new task is taken to online I almost always get happier. Google Docs, Zoho, Microsoft Office Live – all good and all merry. They all have only one drawback – they don’t work if you are not connected. However, with mobile networks getting more widespread and higher speeds the problem with not being connected slowly vanishing. After office application, CRMs and online banking comes image editing and property management. Next summer you may see the return of online grocery shopping (isn’t there already something like this?).We have almost covered all our needs with online services. You don’t even have to open the door anymore to get something. Watch movies online. Read books online. Talk to people and play games. Work, get your money, pay bills – everything could be done from the comfort of your chair. We’re becoming a civilization of most connected lonely people ever.