From time to time I have thought about sharing some of my “toys” with my readers. Well, with the summer winding down, I thought I would take the opportunity to do just that.

First, I’ll cover three “gadgets” I’ve found helpful. Next time, I’ll cover some software I like, and that you may find useful in your marketing efforts. Of course, I would love to hear from you as to the electronic toys and software that you are willing to share.

  • Pulse Smartpen. Simply put, this “pen” is phenomenal. While writing, it is recording what is being said at that moment. You have to use special paper (which can be printed free from their website if you have a color, laserjet printer). Then when you “tap” on any place in your notes, the pen plays back what was being said at that time. Incredible! The amazing thing is that the price is so cheap. A 1 GB pen is only $149.95 (2 GB pen -200 hours of recording – is $199.95). You can buy them at Costco, BJ’s, Target, etc. Here’s a brief video that shows you how it works. Here’s how a student could use it, and another video with more detail on how it works. Boy do I wish I had this when I was in school;
  • Mini 10 Netbook. I got a refurbished Dell version for $335 on eBay (with double battery life) and a DVD for $36. HP has a couple of versions with one starting under $300. Verizon was giving them away with locally with new FIOS Internet/Phone/TV subscribers. My mini has a 120 GB hard drive, 3 USB ports, 1 GB of memory and a 92% keyboard (Actually the keys themselves are bigger than my $2000 Sony TZ150N keyboard, and I like the keyboard better). Not everyone is wild about the mini’s so check out what others think about them by doing a Google search, but I love it; and
  • MagicJack for cheap telephone service. Check out this video that explains how it works. You can buy the device for $39.95 (at Best Buy or online) and get the first year of phone service free. Each year thereafter it’s $19.95 for the whole year. It has 911 service, call forwarding, call waiting, and voicemail. It’s different from VOIP. In most areas, you have the option of picking your area code and the first three digits of your desired phone number; it picks the last four. So, if there is reason you could use an extra line in your home or office, this is a pretty inexpensive way to get one. Again, MagicJack has its detractors, but my experience (both local and long distance) has been very good. Heck, the price is right. Oh, yeah, in case your MagicJack is disconnected, it’ll also send you an email message that you received a call and attaches a .wav file so you can listen to the message on your iPhone or Blackberry. Cool.

Now, tell me about your favorite gadgets that marketers can use.

Next Time: Some interesting software I’ve come across.