The other five life changing upgrades
Time for me to tell you about the other five tech upgrades that can change your life. In fact, as most people tore me apart last week for saying ten and coming up with only five, I'm going to throw in some more as a bonus. Lots of ground to cover, no time for chit chat, let's get this puppy on the road.
#6 The Cloud
No it isn't impossible to understand, you don't need a rocket science degree to get going and it absolutely won't rain and wipe out your data. The cloud, for most of us, is only going to be about choosing one or two services that deliver an idiot-proof experience. Think of the cloud as this magical space somewhere out there that holds all that you need - data, documents, music, videos, pictures - and delivers it to you irrespective of where you are and what device you're on. DropBox, Tonido, Sparkleshare, Spideroak, Box.net are all fantastic. Just google them, get started with the one that makes sense (most are free and you can upgrade if you need more space) and then realise just how electrifying the cloud is.
#7 Dedicated GPS
Okay, entering super controversial territory. GPS is now omnipresent everywhere. It comes on your phone, on your camera and even on your Tablet. But I'm going out on a limb and stating this: you need a dedicated GPS device in your car that does just that - voice-guided navigation that gets you to a numerical address you feed in and gets you right to the door. Mapping in most of urban India is now truly state-of-the-art and can really help you in a pinch. The GPS on your phone just doesn't cut it. Battery life takes a huge hit; the screen isn't big enough to truly follow; you will anyway pay extra for a really good map and voice guidance software; the GPS unit in a phone isn't that good; and the level of sophistication and extra features on a dedicated GPS device beat the pants off what your phone will ever do.
#8 Large Screen Phone
The Samsung Galaxy Note has truly set the cat among the pigeons. A high-resolution, vivid, humongous screen that can really do double duty as a Tablet. What you can achieve with a screen that size has to be experienced to be understood. Efficiency goes up; Web pages open fully with no need for any horizontal scrolling; the text is large enough to read with no pinch-to-zoom; YouTube videos are gorgeous and full HD movies are breathtaking; gaming is way better; apps have more space to breathe in. For those that think it's just way too big, consider phones at around the 4.3+ inch screen size. It's a big world out there, you spend hours on your phone doing much more than talking - stop doing it through a dinky little screen.
#9 NAS Drive
This may sound like overkill but it can change your world. A NAS drive plugs into your WiFi device through an Ethernet port and shows up as a wireless hard drive on EVERY single device that accesses your WiFi network (yes, even the iPad). It can work as your media hub, it can stream movies and music, it can be your picture and images depository. You can set it to be accessed from anywhere in the world and share a common password for a folder that all your friends and relatives can have access to. It can backup data from all your devices automatically and on a pre-set schedule. Once you go NAS, you can never go back
#10 Wireless email printer
This is another must-have. In the world of portable devices, the idea of a fixed, wired- through-USB-and-needing-dedicated-drivers-on-each-device printer is as outdated as me typing this on a typewriter. Printers today can print wirelessly off a phone, a Tablet or Notebook, can install without a CD, have dedicated apps that run on them and on many devices and most importantly, have an email ID built into the printer itself. All you do is mail a document or picture to that email and the printer prints it like magic. It's the best way of printing off a mobile phone that doesn't have any way of printing all the amazing things that you carry on it.
There are many other tech upgrades that can make your life go through a radical transformation. A media streamer will unlock the hidden potential of all your digital media, a multi-room music setup will make you rediscover the magic of music, an in-car bluetooth audio system can be a lifesaver for that all important call (while parked, of course), a wireless mobile charging system can unclutter your room and your life, a GPS and movement-tracking fitness watch can be your guide and mentor to a more healthy you - yes, is a lot out there. Arthur C Clarke said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It's time for you to let that magic transform your life.
Rajiv Makhni is Managing Editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
From HT Brunch, November 20
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