Technology top 10 | AccountingWEB

Technology top 10

We're over six months into the year, and we're starting to look at some of the top technology tools of 2009?

Is it the Asus 1008HA Seashell? The iPhone 3GS? The Palm Pre? Or something else?

Let me know, and why!

Jon Wilcox, Technology correspondent

ksalter's picture


ksalter | | Permalink

Just awaiting delivery of my wireless USB to VGA device so that my meeting room monitor does not have to be connected to the PC - currently have to move monitor across desk, move desktop PC 3 feet across the room and then all the wires! First seen at CES Las Vegas in January and only now available in UK.

Will report back in due course!

Nokia N95

chatman | | Permalink

My favourite gadget is still the Nokia N95. I know it is a couple of years old, but it has always done everything I want, including everything the new iPhone does (and far more than the previous iPhones), without losing half your screen when you want to type.

It connects my laptop to the internet at broadband speed, it integrates seamlessly with my car speakers, the free sat nav is great, the push e-mail is great and there are loads of handy apps to automate switching to silent for meetings, recording calls etc.

It is the only phone I know of that does everything I need, and it doesn't label me a label-groupie and a salesman's dream, like the iPhone would.

John Stokdyk's picture

Wireless power?

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Thanks for the comments... but I'm wondering whether Kevin's wireless USB monitor will soon be overtaken by wireless power supplies?

I'm still partly of a mind that this is all a huge April fool that has dragged on for a few extra months, but the demos and news reports from the recent TED conference in Oxford suggest it's a viable technology.

We're getting a little away from the idea of the AccountingWEB Top 10 being all gadgets, but that's as it should be. Some of the things that would be on my list would be more nebulous such as Cloud Computing and the arrival of more and more smartphone apps.

If you're interested in this area too, what are the apps that you find most useful?
John Stokdyk, Technology editor

hyderaly's picture

The Touch Pro 2

hyderaly | | Permalink

I have used iPhone(s), Blackberry(s) and Windows Mobile Phones. While I found Blackberry to be solid, no-nonsense, do as it says devices, they struggled with poor processing power to handle apps like TomTom. iPhones are cool (and I hear a TomTom application has been announced) but lack a keyboard. So over the last four years, I have found myself digging out my HTC Universal time and time again. And now there is a device from HTC that does one better on Universal, the Touch Pro 2.

5 row keyboard (and that's saying something), blazing fast performance, Direct Push, Accelerometer, powerful speakers for conference calling, unified communication, facebook integration, TouchFLO technology, impressive horsepower, Microsoft office suite, fastest sync with Outlook, a whole host of apps to do basically whatever you want, TomTom 7... My search for this year's gadget is over.

RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

HTC agree

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

I have a Blackberry for my AccountingWEB phone and hate the keyboard with a passion. I'm ham fisted at the best of times - my hands are bigger than most mens' - and can't get on with it at all. But I LOVE my old HTC Tytn II and wouldn't "upgrade" it for anything. I use it to pick up mail whan I'm lecturing and check things online. Huge screen, Proper keyboard, proper gadget in my view.

But I've now fallen in love with a new toy. Bought one for my hubby for holiday....the Sony eReader. OMG it is so gorgeous. Got loads of classics for free from Gutenberg. I think it reads PDF's so I might sneak the Finance Act on to it when he's not looking. The price of e-books is scandalous, but if classics etc are free then that gives me loads of choice.

Becky Midgley's picture

Stop press!

Becky Midgley | | Permalink

Editor stuns subs desk by using 'OMG' in post! Rebecca, we're shocked!

John Stokdyk's picture

Well, someone has to mention Twitter...

John Stokdyk | | Permalink it might as well be me!

Definitely the technology phenom of 2008-09 and it's even helped to stimulate the smartphone market. The uses to which Twitter can be put for business and pleasure are as diverse as the millions who use the service, and I particularly like the way it blends commerce and leisure.

What grabbed me about the service was when Stephen Fry got stuck in that lift in Febraury and let us know about it via his iPhone (and even posted a picture to TwitPic). A similar technique works well with my BlackBerry - I can be at a big industry speech or conference and post up quick quotes and observations without having to fire up the PC.

And as a working journalist, I have to admit that the commentary you get from other Tweeters in the know can be a great antidote to the official line put out at these events.

My view is that the tools themselves, though interesting, aren't particularly important - it's what you do with them that counts.
John Stokdyk, Technology editor

John Stokdyk's picture

Further nominations and debates

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

We've also had a couple of suggestions via my Any Answers post - including some intensive lobbying for Powermonkey from editor Rebecca Benneyworth (repeated above).

Paul Scholes also popped up with a suggestion for Mailsafe, a program that intercepts every email within MS Exchange and archives it. "So now, if anyone wants to access every email in/out the office on client A's PAYE affairs for 2009 it's a few clicks away," says Paul. "Such a relief & no more archive Outlook folders or clients telling us we didn't tell them about something."

One of the trends that is emerging in our internal conversations about the top 10 is the emergence of "infill" tools like this. They may not be breakthrough technology as such, but they plug functional gaps or add features that make other tools that much more useful. The Powermonkey falls into that category, as does the Laptop USB KVM highlighted a few months back by Kevin Salter's AccountantsPowerTools site. It's a little mutant network card that makes it possible to link to and operate a second PC from one screen and keyboard - I'm using it now to type this while checking my email on a different PC.

We've made fun of USB gizmos in the past, but I'm thinking there's a strong case for nominating the universal serial bus interface in its own right. So much that used to be a pain is now greatly simplified - even if you occasionally need to find a different cord to make the final connection.

The other contenders we're currently debating include:

  • 3G broadband modems
  • Mobile apps
  • Netbooks
  • Remote access (WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect etc).
  • Smartphones (iPhone 3GS, HTC Touch Pro 2, BlackBerry Bold, Nokia N95).

Have your say now, as we'll be finalising the AccountingWEB Technology Top 10 for 2009 over the weekend of 15-17 August.
John Stokdyk, Technology editor

brianjleach's picture

HTC Agree

brianjleach | | Permalink

I have also used an HTC TyTn II for many years.

It has so many apps it's bursting at the seams but I wish someone would write one like the iPhone app which graphically shows where your train is on the line at any moment. It can be done via a web page but it's not as neat.

It also has my GPS which runs a treat.

However might have to look at the Touch Pro!!

Brian Leach

MatthewMulgrew's picture

Best 2009 Gadget

MatthewMulgrew | | Permalink

Nothing to do with a work related gadget, but mine for this year has to be the Logitech Harmony 1100 all in one remote control. For the first time since I got into gadgets, this one controls my TV, Sat Box, Theatre Sound System, DVD and Philips WACS700 (and any combination of them all). It turns on the TV and Sat Box if I want to listen through the TV speakers, simply turns on the Theatre sound when I want that. It automatically finds the correct input when I use my laptop or Wii. It turns all of these (obviously not the laptop itself!) off and turns my music system/radio on. All of this at one touch of a button on a colour touch screen. The setting up has to be done via a computer and is time consuming - you have to take it stage by stage, but the support from Logitech is second to none, including searching their user database for others who have the same equipment and adding that to yours. Six remote controls , 12 batteries now redundant. Heaven

ksalter's picture

USB to VGA adapter

ksalter | | Permalink

On my return from holiday the wireless USB to VGA adapter was sat on my desk ......and duly installed and running within 15 minutes. No more moving a PC so that the monitor can be moved onto a desk for a meeting - or similarly moving it to set up a works extremely well..... the only downside being that the "box" that the monitor VGA lead plugs into is mains powered - and therefore another wire has appeared!

Highly recommended for those that do have problems with access to a PC - can also be used to add a second (or third!) monitor to a PC configuration.

Richard Messik's picture

Top 10 gadgets

Richard Messik | | Permalink

It has to be the Iphone which is without doubt the best mobile phone and pda that I have used. I also agree that the Sony ebook reader is pretty neat!


chatman | | Permalink

It doesn't do much compared to other phones.

Jon Wilcox's picture

The USB interface itself?

Jon Wilcox | | Permalink

Mr Stokdyk may have a valid and strong point in pointing out some of the solid technologies that utilises the USB interface, but to actually suggest it should be held in regard as one of the top 10 technologies for this year is, I'm afraid, way off the mark.

If we're going to be holding up the USB interface as a top technology, then surely we must add the 3.5mm mini-jack, the three-point plug, and other such interfaces...

The fact the original version of USB first appeared in 1996, and the second in 2000, should just debunk any arguement for its inclusion in 2009.  Even the third specification of USB (dubbed 'SuperSpeed USB') was released in 2008.

What does everyone else think?



Jon Wilcox
Technology correspondent

Jon Wilcox's picture

The Tech Top 10 is now Live!

Jon Wilcox | | Permalink

Hi everyone,

In case you haven't noticed, the AWEB Technology Top 10 for 2009 is now live! Don't forget to post your thoughts on the list, and what you felt should have featured.




Jon Wilcox
Technology Correspondent

Use a barter website

Henry_AIMS | | Permalink

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