There are things that are striking with their pure usefulness, and leave you wonder how you managed without in the past (and makes you panic to the idea of find yourself without in the future!). In fact, the last 10 years were especially rich of those things: here I'll list (in random orderr) some of the technologies that I'm entirely addicted to, but there was a time when I lived without. The list will not be complete, of course: if you want to add your item in the comments, you are welcome to do so!
- Cellular phone
Pretty easy. I have it since 98, does not really need any explanation.
- Mouse wheel
Have you recently had to operate a wheel-less mouse? I keep trying to scroll via a ghost wheel, making everybody hilarous with my disappointment. And now it's getting worse: my wonderful new BT mouse can scroll horizontally, too...
- Broadband Internet at home
Ahh, the joy. The experience. The world at your fingertip.
- Intellinsense & syntax colouring
Ok, I may not appear as the hardcore programmer here: but I LOVE Intellisense, and if possible I love even more syntax colouring (the first thing I do on every VS install is setting in the editor the string color to magenta and the foreground of code regions to light blue: the second is setting the help as an external page). If I know myself, I will love the new Whidbey snippet features in the same way...
- Outlook Search folders & lookout
Two of the most addictive feaures, ever.
- Google groups
I already mentioned my BT mouse; but what about my pocket pc, my phone, my tablet, the GPS antenna? All communicating effortlessly, at the little cost of some battery life shortening... and NO cable entangling everything in the laptop case (but the power chord: Tesla, where are you heirs?)
How bad is walking in some hotel room and see your pocket pc network icon staying still, not detecting any field? And how great to spend long hours in some airport lounge, surfing like crazy at more than reasonable speed? Or during breakfast in the kitchen giving your (almost) father in law the tablet in portrait mode, with the web page of his favourite (Polish!) newspaper already loaded?
Ahh. Thanks Lutz.
- Skype on PocketPC
Being in the States at some conference and speaking carelessly with home, without any worry about how long you spend at the phone? The only problem it doesn't solve is the time zone difference, but I plan to write a full post about it...
- Instant Messaging
Keeping all those people you know just a click away, avoid calls, share links on the spot, organize instant discussions among many parties... well, it's cool. But the coolest of the coolest? Being in a meeting and keeping in touch with colleagues outside via Messenger on the smartphone... yes I'm shamelessly addicted!!!:-)
- Sysinternals apps
In a word: useful.
- Triple blade razors
Still technology, even if there's not first order logic implied. Those magic devices allow me to shave with a frequency that I could only have dreamed in the past. Thank you Filippo for convincing me to try them!
- GPS navigation
My perception of myself in the 3D space is, to say the least, flawed. To say it all, it could seems that I was simply born without that area of the brain that handles directions.. I can get lost promptly and very easily, quality that never miss to amaze everybody. BUT!!! PocketPC + Bluetooth antenna + great navigational software, and the whole thing becomes a non-issue. That gizmo truly changed my life, from always planning a 2-hours overhead for any trip to a previously unknown location to the thoughtless joy of experimenting new routes (and going panic when you realize that the roads changed from then moment in which your maps were digitized...)
This is a small wireless antenna that you put on your car windshield, which allows you to get Italian highway toll charged directly on your account as you go through the motorway exits. This is great, you go through the gates barely slowing down (can be a dangerous trick: a friend of mine actually broke through the gate that was too slow to open and had to pay a fortune) and especially without having to open the car to harsh (well, in Tuscany or Liguria? not really :-)) external climate
- Automatic Air Conditioning
Here I'm sure that US guys will agree. In fact, I'm always flabergasted by the zest with which air conditioning is administered in US conferences, hotels, cars...
And here I'm deliberately stopping, or I'll spend the rest of the evening on this post..