Thanks for all the responses!
Today, we’ll post the most interesting stories attached to the products, and two of the most popular categories of useful products. Tomorrow, the rest, from $800 racks to $3 clips.
Most Interesting Stories
Two months ago I had surgery to correct a herniated disk on my lower back. This meant that I would spend a lot of time lying down to recover. Knowing this, I purchased a Palm TX so that I could wirelessly surf the net. The Palm OS is antiquated but its browser is fast and the TX is small. I spent six weeks recovering and the TX allowed me to continue to browse my favorite websites. So I was able to stay current on the latest tech news even though I was unable to use a full sized computer. It really helped me through what would have otherwise been a monotonous period of time. There are probably newer, better devices but the TX did its job.
I am a welder/pipefitter and work out of a company truck I take home at night. I drive all over the place at times, often to work sites I have never been to before within a range of about 100 miles around Boston, MA.
Finding job sites can be tricky, as can finding good radio stations playing MUSIC.
I have had a budget laptop for a while and finally decided to put it in the truck.
Fabbed up a mount with a swing arm (welding/fabricating experience is good) and hooked up my GPS and old iRock (transmits speaker output on short range fm radio signal) and now have excellent point to point mapping AND an mp3 player with 40gb of storage.
But all of those are things I had.
The purchase was a DC power inverter.
Laptop goes on in the am and stays on all day- mapping, music and occasionally even internet use and never a worry about running out of power for the laptop.
Bought this little card (OCZ Trifecta) figuring it would be handy as a SD card. Well it became quickly indispensable as the ability to snap photos from my camera and load it directly into my computer through its USB connections was a godsend. No more having to deal with bloated software from kodak and even better if I need a micro SD card, BAM, I got one handy.
It’s my 4gb USB flash drive. It’s just so much more convenient than a CD or floppy, and holds more, too. I’ve got files from work backed up on it, files from my last job, tv shows, 200+ MP3s (just plug it into the PC at work, and I can listen to my music without putting files on the PC, or lugging in CDs). If I need to clean up a family member’s sluggish PC, I just load AdAware, Spybot, etc… on it and get right down to business.
I’m just waiting for the 8gb ones to come down. I got the 4gb one for $30 about 6 months ago, upgraded from the 2gb I carried before. It’s a great invention!
Even though you joked about USB drives my 1 gig USB flash drive is
damn handy. I carry it around with apps and utils for fixing
computers. It also has portable instant messaging, firefox and keepass
with all my passwords. Then if I get a computer with no network
connection I can use it to move drivers to quickly. All in a package
as small as my house key and cost $13.
The removable IDE drive bay/drawer I bought this past spring has been a
lifesaver for making quick backups of my main system’s other drives.
The best part is that it was only $20 @ CompUSA. I no longer fear my
RAID0 going down, or any sensitive data being left on a system that
could theoretically be compromised. I can completely format the
system, reload my OSes and all of my documents & program data, and be back on my feet within an hour or so. With how cheap storage is these days, there really is no excuse for not having backups of your system(s).
external USB 2.5″ Hard drive for backup and mobility of software
solutions to help with fixing computers.
pqi Intelligent-Stick USB flash drive Product link
Any flash drive is useful, but only if you have it with you when you need it. I know some people keep larger flash drives on their keychain or around their neck on a string, but that’s not convenient for me. This one is thin enough to keep in my wallet, so I always have it with me.
BYTECC IDE-to-USB adapter: Product link
Anyone who’s been a computer geek for long will probably have older IDE drives sitting around that are too small/slow/noisy to bother keeping in their machine, but too good to throw away. This device made it convenient for me to use the ones I had for occasionally backing up data, storing files I don’t need often, and transporting data to friends’ machines. It’s also really convenient for hooking a friend’s HD to my PC without having to open my case.
Sure, you could do these things with an external USB HDD enclosure, but this is more convenient, cheaper, takes up less space, and it also works with optical and 2.5″ IDE drives.
My newest toys have been 2 flash drives , one for my Vista Ready Boost and the other, for my wife for her Quicken
Backups. Sure beats backing up using a floppy or burning a cd.
Last night I purchased a Seagate external 160 gig hd to back up my daughters new Mac book as she is off to college in a week. Only took about an hour to complete and now I have some piece of mind about her having data loss. The Seagate was only $60 bucks and came w/ backup software. I was so impressed that I ordered an other external hd enclosure from Newegg this morning for $25 and will install one of my old drives that is laying around in my computer bone yard for my own backup.
I can honestly say an I/O device has to be the most useful thing, and that is simply because if you don’t have a good way to tell them computer what you want it to do, and the computer to tell you what it has done, then it doesn’t matter what anything else is.
Now the thing that i find the oddest is that an I/O device will often be the 1st thing to be put on the chopping block when it comes to getting the price down of a new system.
So without further ado , I name the Monitor the most Useful thing you can buy for your computer.
Buying a quality monitor makes your life so much better, your eyes thank you with a quality one, and you can do so much more with a larger desktop.
I recently upgraded to a 22″ Wide screen, 2ms response time, and 3000:1 (dynamic) contrast ratio. Life is Good.
The most useful thing I bought is the big LCD screen or the Dual monitor setup. It saves my eyes and increased my productivity a lot. Not to mention the games looks great.
So far, only ONE thing has made my life better, and that’s my monitor, which now I find too small, actually:-P It’s a dell 2407wfp which has made things much more efficient. I can reference notes and type my essay at the same time. I can have AIM, volume control, firefox, music player, and a tabbed aim convo up all at the same time without overlapping, leading to better efficiency. It’s also better for watching movies and playing the xbox. It can only get better with another one, so I can have all the above + a movie playing at the same time. Or maybe a third so I can do all that and write an essay as well.
A 20″ LCD monitor to complement my existing 17″. If you’re trying to get some work done, the extra screen real-estate is valuable. If you’re just playing games/surfing, it’s not as useful.
A second monitor: My video cards had dual outputs long before I had two monitors. After buying the second monitor I wondered why it took me so long to do it. I use it all the time.
For me, it’s been going to a multi-monitors set-up. I have 3 x 19″ LCDs, and the increased desktop space has really increased my productivity.
By far, the most useful item I ever bought for the computer was a LCD
stand for a 17″ monitor.
The one that came with the monitor was too low and gave me neck pains.
When I replaced the 17″ LCD for a 19″ kept using the stand instead of
the one that came with the 19″.