All we want for Christmas...
We're a demanding bunch at IT PRO. Here's a run down of what we'd like to find in our Christmas stockings come the morning of 25 December.
My personal laptop is ancient. Fair enough, I also have a Samsung netbook (purchased last year) and and MacBook, but my laptop still needs upgrading.
It's an old Compaq brick of a machine. It can't run off battery power alone anymore so is far from portable on a number of levels. And it's very sluggish and temperamental.
He's nicknamed Peter Puter. But I think it might be time for me and Peter to part ways, sad though it is. I'm crossing my figures for Peter II. But I promise never to forget the good times I had with Peter I.
One USB stick to rule them all
I'm fed up of never having a USB stick handy when I need one. And then having to borrow one from somebody, resulting in me ending up with what is akin to a USB stick breeding farm on my desk at work and at home.
If only I had one USB stick that knew its place was to be wherever I was. Like man's best friend, it would follow me loyally around. I can dream
Alan Lu, Reviews Editor
I'm pretty happy with most of the tech gear I already have, so there's not much I really want. There's still some technology that tickles my fancy, although much of it won't be quite as extravagant as the goodies requested by my IT PRO colleagues.
I'm not sure why I want an iPad, since I already have a smartphone and an ultra portable laptop. Is it because it's the best device yet invented for browsing the web while lounging on a sofa? Is it because I feel compelled to play Angry Birds HD? Is it because it's way better than the other, embarrassingly bad tablets released so far? Or that I feel strangely compelled to keep up with the Joneses? All I know is that I want one.
I would never buy a solid state disk (SSD) myself. Although they have many advantages over traditional hard disks, such as increased reliability due to their lack of moving parts and their incredible speed, they're also far more expensive while having considerably less storage capacity. If someone would buy me an SSD for Christmas, as well as an adapter allowing me to use both an SSD and a hard disk inside my laptop at the same (albeit at the expense of a built-in optical drive), I certainly wouldn't say no. I like to have my cake and eat it too. Yum.
The Spotify streaming music service lets anyone with an internet-connected Mac or PC listen to millions of tracks for free. It's a great service and one that I use regularly to discover new music. I want more though specifically the Spotify Premium service. It not only allows you to listen to music free of the advertisements that fund the free service, it also allows you to listen to music offline, whether on a computer or a smartphone. 10 a month is a small price to keep me happy.
The North Face ETip gloves
Unless you've been away in a tropical tax haven for the past few weeks, you can't have failed to notice the frigid weather that has gripped the UK. Unfortunately, as well as blocking driveways, crippling public transport networks and causing other chaos, the cold makes it rather inconvenient to use a touch screen smartphone without numbing one's fingers.
Firebox's touch screen gloves have slivers of conductive material woven into the fingertips so you can use a touch screen without exposing your fingers to the cold. Unfortunately they're a poor fit and don't work very well scrolling and tapping is more tricky than walking across a frozen London pavement so forget about typing a text or email message. Plus, the acrylic material irritates my sensitive skin.
A far better set of touch screen gloves are the ETip gloves from outdoor clothing specialist The North Face. At 26 they're twice the price of Firebox's gloves, but they're far more effective since the entire finger tip of the thumb and forefinger are made out of conductive material so typing and multitouch gestures are actually easy to achieve. The garish appearance isn't to my taste, and they don't fit my dainty hands quite right, but they're the best touch screen gloves I've seen yet.
If Santa knows what's best for him, he'll get me a pair.
If there's one thing I like more than technology, it's eating. There are many fine restaurants in the world, but so little time. That's where the Zagat smartphone app comes in handy. Zagat is an international restaurant review guide with reviews submitted by the members themselves. Although the odd duff review isn't unknown, the reviews are surprisingly authoritative and reliable overall, making it a dependable guide to the best places to eat in London and many other major Western cities.
The Zagat app not only provides offline access to its reviews database, it allows you to submit your own reviews and find restaurants near your current location using GPS. A separate app, currently only available for Android, allows you to find restaurants in any given location, not by GPS, but by simply drawing a circle around your area using your fingers. Hopefully it'll be making its way to proper smartphones, like the iPhone, shortly.
Zagat members tend to favour haute cuisine rather than budget-friendly eateries, but you can save me the cost of an overpriced double espresso and an amuse bouche by buying me a one year subscription to the Zagat app for Christmas. It costs just 6 a year on the iTunes App Store. Cheers Santa!
Jennifer Scott, Assistant News Editor
As the resident storage obsessive at IT PRO don't worry, I already get taken the mick out of enough for this I must say top of my list for what I want Father Christmas to leave under the tree is a Drobo.
I am not picky about which model. Give me the pretty starter four bay Drobo with Firewire and USB 2.0 connections or give me the eight bay shiny Drobo Pro, I would still be leaping around with storage glee.
Not only are these some of the most stylish storage products for the small businesses (or excessive personal use for the likes of me), they are simple to use and massively reliable.
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