Four Cool Car Accessories That No Driver Can Be Without

The right accessories can transform your car from a mere vehicle into an enjoyable place to spend time.  With a few great car-centered tech products, you can turn any commute into a joyride and take the fear of getting lost out of any road trip.  Some people are lucky enough to find cars that have some amazing accessories already installed.  Some cars offer upgrade packages and premium models that have more factory-installed tools and toys than the basic models.    Even if your vehicle currently does not have the kind of accessories that you want, you can easily add them.  Most tools are easily installed out-of-the-box, and your local garage or electronics superstore will be able to help with the more complex ones.

Here are the most useful (and most fun) accessories for your car:

GPS

A GPS device definitely falls into the practical (rather than fun) category.  Many cars now come with navigation systems pre-installed.  If not, there are plenty of premium options available.  Garmin is the main name in the plug-in GPS game.  They offer a variety of devices that can be plugged into your car right out of the box.  The options range from basic devices that can tell you when to turn and exit to state-of-the-art GPS computers that have voice recognition software and can give turn by turn directions complete with street names and detour information.  The interactive capacity of high-end Garmin devices makes them one of the coolest gadgets you could possibly buy for your car.

Rear-seat flat screens

If you have kids, or more specifically, if you have kids and you often take road trips or spend a lot of time in the car, rear-seat entertainment is a necessity.  Some minivans and SUVs come with pre-installed entertainment devices, such as satellite radio and TV/DVD players.  Headrest monitors, which sit in the back of the headrests of the front seats, provide DVD or internet viewing capabilities.  These are the most common form of in-car entertainment.  The best devices will allow you to bring your own entertainment with you as well.  Some even have gaming ports which allow users to connect a game console, tablet or other device to the system so that the game, movie or video can be seen on the headrest screens.

Remote starter

A remote starter is obviously not as glamorous as a GPS system that you can talk to or a flat screen TV that you can hook your Xbox up to, but, if you live in a cold or very warm place, it is by far the most useful accessory that you can have on your car.  You car can already be heated (or cooled) to a comfortable temperature before you even get into it.   Basic remote starter systems will set you back less than $100 and will allow you to start your car by pushing a button on a fob on your keychain.  More advanced remote start systems come with a variety of extras, including backlit LED screens, alarm systems with a fob notification feature, and even remote access to some of the car’s basic climate controls.

Wireless connectivity (bluetooth) systems

As laws change and technology becomes better, having a hands free system in your car for your cell phone can be very useful indeed.  The best bluetooth systems provide clear audio quality and a number of hands-free features such as voice dialing.  Some of these kits come with touchscreen controls that can be placed on the dashboard for easy access and so that the user can view caller ID information without having to look down at their phone.  With a really high-end system, the call quality is so good that the person on the other end of the line wont even realize that they are talking to someone on a hands-free device.

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Seven Useful Items Road Warriors Should Have In Their Suitcases

There are thousands of products marketed to frequent fliers and business travelers (colloquially called “road warriors”).  Some of these are indispensable, while others merely take up space in a carry-on bag and have no real functionality.  The best road warrior gadgets can provide the three “Cs” of business travel: comfort, convenience and/or connectivity.  Of course, anything that can make a long haul flight or an unexpected layover or delay seem more bearable is often consider a necessity by business travelers.

Here are seven great devices for road warriors looking for the best things to add to their traveling arsenal.

Blackberry Curve

Many business people already own a Curve.  Blackberry has been the phone of choice for road warriors since before the age of the iPhone.  Why has it stood the test of time?  It has a lot of useful apps that have been developed and perfected over Blackberry’s history.  Better yet, the battery life of the Curve beats out many other smart-phones.  This can be a very valuable feature, as anyone who has spent their layover worrying about finding a place to charge their phone can attest.

iPad

Apple’s tablet has a lot of competition these days, but it is still the top of the heap as far as overall entertainment and business features are concerned.  Your layovers and late nights in hotel rooms will seem more palatable if you can stream Netflix or Hulu or even read an ebook or hear some of your favorite tunes.  There are also plenty of business-centered apps available for Apple devices, so you can use this high-tech tool for more than entertainment.

Noise-canceling headphones

Many frequent travelers find noise canceling headphones to be their most indispensable devices.  Bose offers the Cadillac version of these ear-covering headsets, but there are also plenty of cheaper (though not quite as perfect) options offered by other major electronics makers.  Just a simple explanation of their usefulness is enough to seduce most people to make the $200-plus purchase: all the unpleasant sounds of travel (crying babies, traffic jams, PA systems) can disappear once you slip these headphones over your ears.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1

This is a tablet for people who aren’t sure if they really want to toss out their laptop just yet.  It has a rotating touchscreen that looks like a tablet, but can also be rotated so that a keyboard is uncovered and the device resembles a small laptop.  You really can have the best of both worlds: the convenience of a touchscreen tablet and the utility of a laptop.  You’ll save space in your briefcase and you’ll only have to dig out one device as you go through security, not two.

Tumi Universal Power Adapter Kit

International travelers know that different countries have different electrical currents.  All it takes is one wrong plug-in and you could fry a laptop hard drive or blow out a cell phone.  With this universal power adapter, road warriors can take this danger out of the equation and be ready for any type of electrical current or power outlet.  It is certainly easier than finding adapters for all your devices separately.

RIM BlackBerry Presenter

This device works in conjunction with Blackberry handsets.  It can be connected to a projector or any type of screen and the user can then stream their PowerPoint presentation directly from their phone.  It is smaller than a laptop, but just as useful when it comes to making presentations.

Steripen

This tool is an interesting addition to the suitcase of any road warrior who has to travel off the beaten path.  It looks like its name suggests, a thick pen.  The device can be dipped in a glass or bottle of water and can kill any microbes or bacteria using UV light.  It might sound like  a sci-fi device, but it is a very real and very useful tool for anyone who has to drink water of undetermined quality.

Tech Tools That Can Make Your Workplace More Productive

Office technology can be a tricky thing.  Sure, you want the latest gadgets and devices to help yourself and your colleagues be as productive as possible, but too much technology can lead to unnecessary distractions.  There are all sorts of tools and tech devices that can make your time in your office more productive.  Some state of the art office furnishings have nothing to do with computers or connectivity, but can still be invaluable when it comes to keeping you in a comfortable-yet-alert state-of-mind.

Want to find the best devices for your office?  Here are some of the most useful options.

Multi-purpose printers

Any time that you can streamline your office space, it is a positive step.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to get a device that can be wirelessly connected to all the computers in your office and can perform printing, copying, scanning and even faxing tasks.  Even relatively small printers like the HP Photosmart 7510 can be accessed wirelessly and can serve as an all in one service center for your copying, printing (including photo quality prints), and scanning needs.  Yes, usually all you will need is a printer, but it is only a few dollars more to upgrade to a three-in-one (or four-in-one) device, so why not take the extra step and save space and money.

LED lighting

Creating a comfortable and attractive atmosphere in the office is one task than many office managers do not do very well.  Yes, there could be a lot of tech tools on your desk, but the florescent lights and colorless carpet can make your desk seem like a dismal place to spend time.  Having a few, well-placed LED lights around your office can enhance the atmosphere and make it seem like a more pleasant place.  Not only are they more economical, LEDs emit a softer light than regular bulbs without losing much in terms of overall power.  A simple $20 reading light on your desk might help, or a few larger lamps or lighting displays could make the whole room seem more pleasant.

Desktop air purifier

Offices are often not the most pleasant places to sit.  Fresh air is at a premium. Luckily, you can make some of your own with an air purifier.  These devices can sit on a desktop or in the corner and constantly filter air to remove particles that cause bad smells and even allergies.  Some rely on technology to remove these particles without the aid of a fan.  They are completely quiet.  Of course, some workers find that  a little white noise is helpful in an office environment.  In this case, a small fan for drawing in unfiltered air and blowing out fresh air is a good option.  Either way, having the feel of fresh, odorless air can really make an office feel more comfortable.

USB or power-mat charging station of your hand-held devices

It may have happened to you before: you’re heading home from work, waiting for an important call or waiting for an urgent email and your phone battery dies.  Smart-phones are awesome tools, but they can really eat up a battery quickly.  You can make sure that you are always connected by getting a charging station for your desk.  When you are not using your phone or tablet, you can simply plug them in.  USB chargers are a budget-friendly option, with many offering more than one port so that you can charge multiple devices at the same time. Powermats, where you can charge devices by simply placing them on a electrified mat, are another option for convenient at-work charging.  These tools will be able to charge your phone or tablet even if you have left your USB cord at home.