THE BUSINESS TOOLS YOU CAN'T WORK WITHOUT*
(Business 2.0) – GUERRILLA MARKETING VIA WI-FI
Apple AirPort Express; $129; www.apple.com
ROSS MAYFIELD CEO, Socialtext
At home I use this easy-to-configure Wi-Fi hotspot for the usual: listening to tunes and printing from afar without cluttering up my house with Ethernet cable. But it's when I'm on the road that Apple's wireless router really earns its keep. Although reliable bandwidth access is a business essential, many conferences and events have lousy Wi-Fi setups—if they provide any connectivity at all. So I came up with a new guerrilla marketing tactic: I look for an unused Ethernet jack on a wall near the meeting room, plug in my AirPort Express, and set up an open hotspot named Socialtext. Conferencegoers love this. They open their laptops and find my company—in name, at least—providing the solution to their bandwidth woes. Everyone wins.
Atek RM-100 Tote-Remote; $80; www.atek.com
CATHY LYONS Senior vice president, Hewlett-Packard
My assistant found this for me about three years ago. I was doing a lot of international travel and giving presentations to large audiences. But when you're giving a speech, the worst thing you can do is keep a tight grip on the podium and stay tethered to your laptop. Instead, you need to project confidence and ease. The lightweight, wireless Atek lets me control my PowerPoint slides while giving me the freedom to roam the stage. And it's simple to set up: I just plug a small receiver fob into my laptop's USB port. With only three buttons, it's almost foolproof. One stops and starts the presentation, one is for page navigation, and one activates the built-in laser pointer. My Atek has become like a security blanket—I pop it into my bag whenever I hit the road.
A MIGHTIER PEN
Fisher Shiny Chrome Bullet Space Pen; $20; www.fisherpen.com
MERLIN MANN Web consultant, 43folders.com
It's hard to appreciate the Space Pen until you hold one in your hand. Other pens write better, but that's not why I like this one. For me, it's all about portability. At a length of about 3.5 inches, it's around the size of a french fry, with rounded ends so it won't snag as it slides into your pocket. The design is ingenious: When you place the cap on the end, the pen gains about an inch in length, making it quite comfortable to use. Because nitrogen forces the ink out of an airtight cartridge, you can write against any surface—a wall, a ceiling, or the back of a helpful colleague as you scribble a last-minute note. These things also last forever: In five years, I've replaced my current pen's cartridge just once (and that was because I wanted to try a different color ink).
LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT
Chromalux Full-Spectrum Lightbulb; $6; www.lumiram.com
RODERICK MACLEAN Author, Tropic of Cubicle
Like most office honchos, I've never considered generic incandescent and fluorescent light-bulbs to be particularly work-friendly. Both emit harsh white light that generates glare, eyestrain, and general fatigue. Seeking a less enervating alternative, I screwed a neodymium bulb into my desk lamp a few years ago, and my eyes have been thanking me ever since. The Chromalux simulates natural sunlight using a technique developed in solar-challenged Finland. With the rare-earth mineral neodymium a part of its glass composition, my bulb filters out dull yellow electrical emissions, rendering richer colors with a mood-friendly light. Not only has the glare in my home office been ratcheted way down, but my personal energy level seems to stay high for longer stretches.