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Gadgets of Love: Productivity in the Physical

Are you a fan of gadgets? I have always loved kitchen gadgets, desk accessories, and other products that purport to ease my daily doings.

A question on one of my forums this week asked about the physical products that make our lives easier. This got me thinking about gadgets that improve my productivity.

The prompt was offered broadly, covering productivity, wellness, entrepreneurship, meditation, travel, etc. In my pragmatic interpretation, though, productivity covers the gamut of these areas of life.

To be sure, I could speak more generally and include the value of good hydration and a satisfied tummy—food and water are physical products, too. That would take me a bit too far on a tangent than I’d like to go, so I’ll stick with the gadgets that are solid, inedible, and/or mechanical in nature.

Gadgets You Can Get

Perhaps the largest of my gadgets that keep me on my toes is my Xtracycle, Theo. I bought my bike in 1999 and upgraded it with the Xtracycle FreeRadical kit in 2005, effectively investing in a new bicycle.

Gadgets: Xtracycle

I couldn’t be happier with the utility of this contraption that enables me to carry stuff (and people!) safely, without sweating profusely nor running as much risk of falling when carrying a large load. Theo supports up to 350 pounds including me!

Gadget: WakaWaka PowerAnother gadget is much newer to the market. At the end of 2012, WakaWaka, which means “shine bright” in Swahili, launched its second Kickstarter project: a portable solar lantern and USB charger.

WakaWaka Power charges fully with about a day’s worth of sunlight and offers more than a full, speedy phone charge, 40 hours of light, or some combination. I use so many background services on my iPhone that, depending on my active usage, its battery often doesn’t last the whole day.

Having a WakaWaka Power, a go-anywhere, charge-anywhere gadget, ensures I don’t end up with a dead phone before the day ends. I highly recommend it. Plus, for every WakaWaka product you buy, a WakaWaka Light is donated to WakaWaka Foundation and given to a family in need.

Gadgets So Old… and Alternatives

Gadgets: HAG Balans Vital ChairMy desk chair is a HÅG Balans Vital. Sadly, HÅG discontinued this product line several years ago but I managed to find one that had been rescued from a curb in Berkeley. What a deal on a chair that retailed over $500!

The Balans is a special product compared to knee-bend chairs I have owned before because it includes pneumatic lift functionality. This ensures I’m sitting at a most comfortable height between my eyes and my feet while also keeping good posture. The nearest competitor is the Wing balans chair by Varier Furniture.

Gadgets: MacMice iPerch MacBook standAnother discontinued product at my desk is the MacMice iPerch stand that holds my MacBook Pro. Made of clear acrylic, this product almost seems invisible. It does a solid job of holding my Mac, puts its display at a comfortable viewing height, and enables me to use my Mac’s built-in keyboard if I like.

MacMice went out of business almost a decade ago but a handful of its products are still available from GoMacPro. The only competing stand I know of that deserves a mention is Rain Design’s mStand. For some reason, most stands are not strong enough to use without an external keyboard.

Gadgets Yet to Be Created

Then, there are gadgets that may only exist in my mind. I have been unable to find—and may have to invent—something to improve the organization in my hanging-file desk drawers. I want to use more vertical space but I don’t have many paper files.

I am looking for a solid plastic, open-top container that is designed to hang in such a drawer. Searching for this product has been very difficult because most plastic containers of the sort are meant to hold hanging files, not hang themselves.

Are you aware of such a product or is it time for me to submit this idea to Quirky.

I was surprised to consider that so many of the gadgets I rely on most are discontinued products that may be tough to find. I’m always on the lookout for new gadgets that might help me be more efficient, more comfortable, more smiley about my day to day.

What physical products make your life better? Please share in the comments below.

Ben

Ben

Mac + Sustainability Coach at Sustainable Computing
Ben
Ben
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