Regular dispatches from AccountingWEB gadget devotees including executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris, community correspondent Rachael Power, community manager Henry Osadzinski, and Accountants Power Tools' Kevin Salter.
2011 Gadget Countdown - and the runners up are...
While we collate readers' nominations for the gadgets of the year, Nigel Harris offers his review of what's hot at the moment on planet Gadget.
As befits the year in which we lost Steve Jobs, one of the creators of personal computing and digital music players, Stuff magazine's 2011 top 10 mobile media players was topped by the latest iPhone 4S, and the list featured no less than three other Apple products. The impressive Sony NWZ-A845 from April 2010 still managed the number 4 slot, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
I was going to mention Stuff's recommendations for best laptop, but of course Apple's MacBook Pro was the 2011 winner, the MacBook Air also coming in at number 9, ahead of the evergreen Sony Vaio F Series 3D model. In fact, the main feature of the top 10 was that you don't get much change, if any, from £1,000 from this year's top performers except from the modestly-priced Samsung N230, which the Stuff reviewers reckon is nothing amazing - except that is for its nearly 14 hours of battery life! Accountants on the move who need plenty of unplugged laptop time, take note.
On the other hand, if you're looking for the perfect stocking-filler for the accountant in your life, how about the Canon X Mark I Bluetooth wireless laser scrolling 3-button mouse/keypad/calculator, available at well under the £35 RRP from most online stores. As an added bonus, it's partly made from recycled Canon photocopiers! Great for laptop users.
We could fill a whole article on mobile phone apps, but Business Zone has already done it for us! GarageBand for iPhone is my favourite for the festive season, but if you're looking for something eminently practical, this month Stuff awarded four starts to LinkedIn's much publicised Cardmunch app, perfect for serial networkers: take a photo of a business card using this app and a copy is then uploaded to a team of “manual transcribers” who send you back an electronic version in about 10 minutes, which you can save to your address book along with the image of the card itself and any notes you care to add. It's the BNI member's dream app!
And now for something completely different
Fed up with electronic gadgets? Here are a few totally non-work related gadgets that caught our eye recently. We couldn't miss one of this month's Stuff magazine headlines: “What happens when you put a Ferrari engine in a quad bike?” Just what I was wondering (in fact it's the 3.0 litre 250bhp V8 Lazareth Wazuma V8F and only £168,000 so not likely to be rounding up sheep in a field near you any time soon).
Useful and cool-looking too, how about finding room on your desk for a Sagemcom Sixty digital cordless retro style phone, looks like an old fashioned rotary dial phone but folded out of flat orange (or black, if you must) plastic.
Over on the weird end of gadget world, we spotted the Fridgeezoo Fridge Pets from Japan. These tiny milk carton-shaped gadgets come in four animal styles: polar bears, seals, walruses and penguins. When you open the fridge door, they'll greet you in Japanese. Leave the fridge door open for too long and they'll tell you off (in Japanese, again). There's no English version, but that's part of the appeal I suppose.
But for pure festive, non-business gadget fun - assuming we get a white Christmas - I challenge anyone to better the snowball launching crossbow!