Love-hate relationships

What’s your favourite tech gadget? What device do you most covet?
Ted Lee, Chief Financial Officer, Tourism Vancouver: My favourite tech gadget is my daughter’s voice-interactive stuffy toy — Stitch (from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch). My favourite work-related gadget is my wireless USB RF PowerPoint remote. Work is theatre and your 15 minutes should always look great from start to finish. Just make sure the battery is new every time.
Meaghan McIntyre, Structure Officer (Production Specialist), Office of the Registrar, University of Western Ontario: Currently my HP iPAQ 2410 and I are inseparable. It’s causing relationship issues.
Michael Kuhbock, Chairman & Founder, Integration Consortium: Favourite? The mobile device I currently use is both a blessing and a curse. Formerly I had a BlackBerry for data and a mobile phone for voice, with two separate providers, lots of monthly paperwork and always had my hands full with two separate devices.
When Fido came out with the newest Hiptop2, I immediately signed up and bought one. Now I have one device.
Loren Hicks, Chief Information Officer, Lavalife Corp.: My favourite tech gadget is the electronic tuner that clips on the head of my banjo, and lets me stay in tune even when playing in a very loud situation on stage. But I don’t know if that’s really a tech gadget by your definition. If it’s not, then it would have to be my plain old PC, because it does so many different things. Except travel well.

Do you want an all-in-one device or do you prefer function-specific gadgets?
TL: I prefer an all-in-one gadget — doing more with less and reducing clutter.
MM: I prefer to keep my gadgets function-specific, as the all-in-one models tend to be too bulky. Plus, if I lose one, I’m not losing everything.
MK: Now I have one device or gadget that allows me three e-mail accounts, a large colour screen, the best keyboard for writing e-mails and a fully functional phone. The other nice attribute is that the device syncs to my laptop Outlook. When I had my cellphone it would continue to dump my contact list and now this is no longer an issue. The most important feature is that it is tri band, therefore I can use the phone and e-mail all over the world.LH: The all-singing, all-dancing handheld, with a fold-out qwerty keyboard, and an earphone and throat mike, that takes e-mail and media attachments, and works as a audio and visual communication device. By visual I mean pictures and video, inbound and outbound. It should also get satellite content, with or without CRTC approval, and act as a GPS tracking and map navigator. In an ideal world, it would also be programmable to open my garage door and be a smart payment device.

Do you wish you could throw away communications devices such as cellphones and PDAs?
TL: The ability to connect with others is a basic human need, but so are silence and solitude. We need to connect and disconnect at appropriate intervals.
MM: If I didn’t have my iPAQ I’d never remember where I was supposed to be.MK: They aren’t an important lifeline — my device IS my lifeline. It can replace hauling around my laptop on short business trips. The blessing is it allows me to be connected 20 hours a day during work, the curse is I am connected 20 hours a day. I do turn it off when I sleep.
LH: They are a critical lifeline. But it’s up to me to decide what calls I take, and when. I find many people are frustrated with the number of contacts they get from spammers, telemarketers, bosses on ego trips, etc. But all these devices exist for MY convenience.

Do such devices mean you always take work home with you, or do they free up your time?
TD: It’s always good to have options. Being able to choose is essential to being vital and healthy.
MM: I don’t find that they have an impact on my free time, but I think that’s just because I’m very good at leaving work at the office.
MK: They do allow for work to take over your life but if managed properly they do facilitate balance because if there is any downtime during non-work hours then you can check e-mail.
LH: I always take work home anyway. But they do free me up to be more effective when I’m away from the formal workplace.

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