Saturday, January 12, 2008

Must-Haves in Today's Digital World

I am a purse-rummaging pocket patting person. The reason is I must know at all times that I have my essential stuff--billfold, camera, phone. Today I loaded my faithful canine amigo, Ringo, and struck out on a 3+ hour drive to spend a couple of nights with Dad. I stopped, as I always do, at Buckee's in Giddings, TX. If I were to pass it by, I think Ringo would revolt. That is where he gets his walk, and he recognizes the outermost outskirts of town. After we got back on the road and I was happily guzzling my Diet Coke with the best fast-food ice in Texas, I began patting around my general surroundings looking for my phone. I was not going to make a call--am trying NOT to engage in this dangerous pursuit--but rather just needed to know where it was. A cursory check did not yield my iPhone. I began to feel uneasy...looked and rummaged around more. No phone! Now I began to worry. It has fallen out of my pocket before...and I was just at Buckee's! What if it was lying in the parking lot or even in someone else's pocket by now? I pulled over into a parking lot on the edge of the next town and seriously rooted through my belongings. There was my phone, on the floor, passenger side. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and resumed my drive with a lighter heart. But the experience caused me to think. I. really. must. have. that. phone. If I leave the house without it, most times I will go back for it. This device is definitely the one item that I really feel I cannot get along without.

Thinking about other things that I feel so strongly about, I asked myself what computer application I would top my list. For me, it would still be email. I love all the other means of communication that I use, but email still reigns in my life as the one application that I value above all others. Finally I asked myself what Web 2.0 service or presence is the one you would miss the most, the one you would most hate to live without? This was my hardest question. One strong candidate would be, because it holds a history of my recent learning, and allows me to find things I need and reconstruct previous experiences. Other candidates would be networking sites such as Twitter, blogs, wikis, As much as I love Twitter and think it is important, I am going to demote it to highly desirable and declare a three way tie for things 2.0 that I value: social bookmarking, blogs, and wikis.

Overall, this mental exercise was interesting to me because all these things, with the exception of email, are things that I did not use or value as recently as five years ago. It is one more example of how technology has impacted and will continue to influence my life and the way I live. Wonder about everyone else's must-haves? I would love to hear from people:
1. What is your one (or maybe 2) must-have gadget/hardware/gizmo/appurtenance?
2. Same question, but for computer applications? Again top one, or maybe a couple.
3. Ditto, for Web 2.0 services--and I am very curious about this!


  1. Must have gadget - jump drive!

    Must have PC application - for work, email; for recreation, shockwave/java platform

    Must have web 2.0 - google docs, and a wiki

  2. Gadget=Flash drive

    PC App=spreadsheets, email

    Web 2.0= is great for personal use and for use with students. We at Lehman HS just presented a workshop on this subject. You can register for the online class if you email me.

    Blogs and wikis are also important tools we use often. Content Management Software is in some ways an 2.0 tool and essential for a fully functional Web site.

  3. Must-have gadget: my small external hard drive, so I can work efficiently from work, home and laptop.

    Must-have apps: Dreamweaver and GraphicConverter.

    Web 2.0: Wordpress, web email, Adium.

  4. Hi Mary Ann,

    Fun post!

    Gadget - my wireless MacBook - no question. Can't wait to get the new MacBook Air!

    PC App - I love Excel and Word, but am trying to move to Open/Neo Office out of principle.

    Web 2.0 - E-mail with Google Reader a close second

    Hope you get lots of responses!


  5. Mary Ann, many of us have found ourselves in the very same situation. I am always surprised how "disconnected" I feel without email for sustained periods of time.

    Essential Gadget: Wireless MacBook

    Essential Mac App: Notebook

    Web 2.0: Blogs first, a very close second


  6. Ron from Moose Jaw, SaskJanuary 17, 2008 at 4:38 AM

    Must have Gadget: USB port expander for my laptop

    Must have App: Foxfire

    Web 2.0: Wiki's

  7. For my classes: the wiki

    For me: my sprint mogul, my blog (and everyone else's), the internet and the free apps, microsoft office.

  8. Re. this from MaBell:
    > I would
    > love to hear from people:
    > 1. What is your one (or maybe 2) must-have
    > gadget/hardware/gizmo/appurtenance?

    A high-speed, reliable internet-connected computer, USB Flash drive, digital camera--in that order

    > 2. Same question, but for computer applications?

    e-mail > Office (complementary)--absolutely need both

    > 3. Ditto, for Web 2.0 services--and I am very curious about this!

    None indispensable--yet! I found the blog useful when I was in India--useful to capture my experiences in a way that made it easy to share them with my family and friends around the world. But it's not a necessity for me at all.

  9. Good questions and good responses!

    Gadget: Dell wireless laptop with DVD/CD burner and my flash drive!

    Application: Outlook 2003! I use it for email, scheduling tech trainings, sending reminders by delayed delivery and even storing documents online through Outlook Web Access!

    The other application that I use constantly is SnagIt - screen capture program. I am always creating instructional materials with screenshots in them.

    Web2.0: Delicious and my blog. I would say that Delicious and my flash drive are my top two favorite techie toys!

    -Alix E. Peshette

  10. 1. What is your one (or maybe 2) must-have gadget/hardware/gizmo/appurtenance? my laptop

    2. Same question, but for computer applications? Again top one, or maybe a couple. Photostory is one of my favs both personally and professionally

    3. Ditto, for Web 2.0 services--and I am very curious about this!

    bloglines so I can read the all the blogs I subscribe to