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Top 10 Technology Tools I Am Thankful For

Translation: top ten tech tools that have changed my life.

10. Online Check-In.
Being able to print out boarding passes the night before a trip and bypassing the check-in line at the airport has not only saved me the extra 30 minutes but added years to my life from less stress.

9. iTunes/iCloud
iTunes is old news, I know but as I was making this list this morning, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that just a few years ago, I was buying CD’s. As in — compact discs that you had to carry in sleeves and were either left in your car when you were at home or at home when you were in your car. Now, as soon as I buy a song/album/movie, it is automatically synced to my phone, which at the push of a button, plays through my car speakers (see Blue Tooth).

8. Twitter
Again, not necessarily new but how can I not be grateful for Twitter?! It is through Twitter that I’ve connected with some of my best friends of recent years as well as mentors, collaborators, and like-minded people.

7. iPhone photo apps and Instragram
I haven’t had a point-and-shoot camera for over a year. How does that saying go? — the best camera is the one you have with you? Well, with all the improvements to the iPhone camera as well as the processing capabilities available through photo apps, my snapshots are even better now that I take them with my phone. Not only that, I can share my pics immediately (either through Instragram or on Facebook)  instead of having to transfer, upload, blah, blah, blah….

6. Google Maps
Remember when you had to get directions? Now, we just ask for an address and zip. Remember when having a GPS in your car was a big deal? Who needs one with the maps app on iPhone? Okay, this will really date me but one of my childhood memories was stopping by the AAA office for TripTiks before a long road trip. Can you believe that? I just love the little blue dot that shows me where I am in real time, especially when where I am happens to be the middle of nowhere.

5. Blue Tooth in My Car
I can talk hands-free and ear-bud free, with the sound coming directly through my car’s speakers. And the people I talk to report that the sound on their end is better than when I use ear buds so… yes, I’ve been inclined to take the most important conference calls in my car.

Oh yeah, my tunes that are automatically synced from iCloud to my phone (see #9)… I can listen to them in the car without even plugging in my phone!

4. Streaming Movies
Whether through iTunes or Netflix (or movie service of your choice), again a technology that some of us probably take for granted at this point but think about it. Streaming movies in tandem with iPads and/or laptops have basically made in-car entertainment systems and portable DVD players irrelevant.

3. Mint.com
I used to spend hours organizing my budgets and keeping track of my spending. Now I do not. That is all.

2. Web-based email/doc Sharing
Boring. But when I take an honest look at the technology I use on a daily basis… it’s Gmail and Google Docs and Google Calendar. These web-based tools make it possible for me to be truly portable. As long as I can get online on a computer somewhere (in a pinch, from my phone), I can get work from anywhere — sans bringing my own laptop.

And drum roll please…

1. Skype
Skype has changed both my personal and professional life. Skype supports the relational aspects of my business. It makes it possible for me to stay connected to my family. I can still remember the days when my contact with my parents and siblings were limited to letters that took two weeks in transit and phone calls that cost $1/minute. Now we can talk for hours… with video… for FREE! Hence, Skype is #1 on my list of tech things to be grateful for.

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