The business tools you can't work without
(Business 2.0) – Digital Doodles Smart Board; $2,000-$15,000; www.smarttech.com SHIRLEY CORKILL Chief technology officer, The Motley Fool
As the head of technology for a financial news site, I spend my days working on the design and layout of webpages with large groups of people. Whiteboards are great for hashing out ideas and building consensus, but standard ones tend to be cumbersome. Ideas are drawn, erased, redrawn--and everyone's too busy scribbling notes to think creatively. The digital Smart Board has none of these drawbacks. The top-end model we use is a whiteboard, projector, and computer rolled into one. Using digital ink, my tech group quickly edits screenshots, saves the markups, and can e-mail them to others. My only gripe? The Smart Board is so popular that the conference room it's in is always booked.
Strings Attached Cableyoyo; $5; www.radtech.us KALIYA HAMLIN Blogger, IdentityWoman.net
I never thought twice about computer cables until I bought an iPod, a digital camera, and a voice recorder in short order. Suddenly I had a mess of ridiculously long cables snaking around my computer. Then I attended seven conferences in three weeks and groaned every time I unpacked and found a knot of cords. That was the final straw--the one that led me to discover the Cableyoyo. It's a sleek and easy way to roll up wires and adjust their lengths whether you're on the road or at your desk. I especially like that they're durable, since I'm usually pretty hard on stuff.
Power Breaks CycleOps Pro 300PT Indoor Cycle; $1,900; www.cycle-ops.com MICHAEL BROCHU CEO, Loudeye
To stay healthy and keep my stress level in check, I try to bike 30 miles every day. But it's often raining here in Seattle, and even when it's not, I can't always schedule a ride into my busy workday. So I decided to try a stationary bike and ended up buying the CycleOps. It's an amazing machine: It tracks basic data like calories burned, heart rate, and speed, and it also measures the power I'm using and converts everything into fantastic color graphs. I can tell instantly whether I'm getting a good workout or just spinning my wheels. I know, too, when to make adjustments to the handlebars, seat, or pedals so I can optimize my workouts. It saves up to 150 hours of data, which I can download to my PC. Another bonus is that the bike doesn't wobble while I'm pedaling. The CycleOps is a great way to get my adrenaline going before a big presentation or to sweat out a problem at the office, and I love that my daily rides no longer depend on the weather.
Ultra Sound Sonos Digital Music System; $1,000-$1,500; www.sonos.com JOSH QUITTNER Editor, Business 2.0
This has to be the weirdest recommendation I've ever given: a product that took me three weeks to set up properly, requires occasional noodling, and yet is worth recommending. That's how desperate I am (and how poor other "solutions" are). See, I have 150 gigabytes of stored songs, and the Sonos Digital Music System is the best way I could find to play them all over my house. Sonos wirelessly streams tunes stored on any one of my external hard drives to ZonePlayers--receivers that I've connected to speakers in my kitchen, den, and bedroom. I can play the same song in all three rooms or simultaneously send different music to each of them. I could install as many as 32 ZonePlayers, if I had a house that big and wanted to spend the extra money. What makes the Sonos system worth the time-consuming setup is the giant remote control. Guests are always vying for the privilege of playing DJ. Note that the system won't play iTunes songs--unless, that is, you're willing to strip out Apple's DRM technology.
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