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The world has seen innumerable high-tech gadgets enter the consumer marketplace in the last decade. We need only recall the influx of gadgets that are now common place in our homes such as MP3 players, video gaming devices and digital cameras.

In our places of work, tools such as personal computers, servers and software function together in harmony, enabling our ability to perform such tasks as email, update customer accounts in our accounting software, and store our data securely. Our reliance on technology is so ingrained within the workforce that any compromise in performance in our computers, network and other related devices and media are often viewed as disastrous. Names such as “downtime”, “crashes”, and “brown-outs” are often used to describe the severity of the situation when systems stop functioning. Bill Gates once commented that "Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other." 

While consumer enthusiasm swells for home-based tech gadgets, consumers tend to view technology with less enthusiasm within the work force, because of the business world’s  functional dependency on technology. The performance of our office computer networks is "mission critical" in contrast to the performance of the entertainment-based gadgets found in the home which we use for our enjoyment.

That being said, there are some fresh new technology-related tools that have entered the business marketplace which also have the ability to create excitement. They may not conjure up the same smile that’s produced when you listen to one of the two thousand songs you've managed to download onto your new MP3 player – but nonetheless you’ll be pleased with the fact that they’ll save you time and money while on the job.

Here are some of our favourites…

Cellboost- Charge your cell phone while traveling in less than 3 minutes

Cellboost is a small 1.2 ounce disposable cell phone recharger that is roughly the size of a cigarette lighter. It takes about 3 minutes for Cellboost to give the average cell phone’s battery enough of a charge to make an hour-long phone call. www.snipurl.com/cellboost

Bell Single Number Reach Service – A virtual phone system for small business.

Bell’s SNR Service is a fabulous virtual phone system designed for home based or small businesses that do not want to incur the cost of purchasing an actual phone system. Record a corporate greeting, program your phone extensions to transfer callers to either cell phones or land lines, hold conference calls, accept pages and more. www.bell.ca/media/en/all_regions/snr/pdf/Price_Sheet_English.pdf

Belkin Powerline Ethernet Adapter- Go wireless with a wall socket

Belkin’s Powerline Ethernet Adapter allows you to make the connection via an ordinary wall socket! www.belkin.com

Favourite web-based tools:

Znail- A free on-line resource for large file transfer

Znail is an almost free website for file storing and sharing. You simply upload a file to znail using your browser, then send your friend a link for file retrieval. There’s no cost for up to 5MB of storage.www.znail.com

Efax – Electronic fax on your desktop.

Efax is a virtual fax tool that allows you to receive faxes within your email inbox. You may then open faxes for viewing directly on your computer screen. Free 30-day trial with a bargain based monthly subscription rate www.efax.com 

Stocklayouts- Design a professional quality business brochure for less that $200.00 all by yourself. 

Stocklayouts has crafted a series of industry-specific brochures, complete with custom (and easily modifiable) graphic templates designed to suit your business. http://www.stocklayouts.com/Products/Details.aspx?name=TC0080101

iStockphoto- Source high quality graphic images for your website for less than $50.00.

If you're looking to upgrade your website with some high quality graphic images and don't want to spend thousands of dollars paying for copywrite, then iStockphoto is the site for you. I recently sourced a number of great graphic images for an upcoming website relaunch for less than $50.00. www.istockphoto.com