Consumer Gadgets: 50 Ways to Have Fun--and Simplify Your Life--with Today's Technology ... and Tomorrow's (Financial Times Prentice Hall Books.)

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9780131827844: Consumer Gadgets: 50 Ways to Have Fun--and Simplify Your Life--with Today's Technology ... and Tomorrow's (Financial Times Prentice Hall Books.)

Whether it's the 007 gadgets from "Q" branch in the James Bond movies, the gadgets in movies such as Spy Kids, or even Austin Powers, we have an endless fascination with gadgets and technology.

In Consumer Gadgets: 50 Ways to Have Fun and Simplify Your Life with Today's Technology...and Tomorrow's, Nicholas D. Evans explores fifty of the hottest topics in consumer-oriented technology. He takes an activity-centric approach to show how you can simplify your life using some of these new gadgets and services that are available today, together with a glimpse into some of the future things to come.

Gadgets for the home
Gadgets for the office
Gadgets for the car
Gadgets you can wear

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About the Author:

About the Author

NICHOLAS D. EVANS is a widely recognized business and technology consultant, speaker, and author. He has been featured in and has published over 100 articles for publications ranging from Fortune and The Financial Times to Internet Week and .Net Magazine. Mr. Evans' highly acclaimed Internet Week column on Emerging Technology has been running since 1997. His books include Business Innovation and Disruptive Technology and Business Agility: Strategies for Gaining Competitive Advantage through Mobile Business Solutions (Financial Times Prentice Hall) together with numerous other titles from publishers such as Microsoft Press.

Mr. Evans holds a B.Sc.(Hons) and M.Sc. from Southampton University in England. He is a frequent advisor to the venture capital community and serves on several advisory boards. He can be reached at ndevans@hotmail.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface

Despite the rapid rise and fall of the Internet economy, one thingis certain: Today we are seeing more and more tech gadgetsbeing made available to inform us, entertain us, help us communicatewith one another, and generally assist us in our daily living.

We are experiencing the rise of ubiquitous computing. Computersare becoming embedded in everyday objects, and the personal computeris moving from the office into almost every other room in thehouse. Computers are helping us achieve more with our televisions,with our entertainment systems, with our cameras and videos, andwith our personal digital assistants (PDAs). They are becomingembedded in our cars as well as our homes, helping us stay informed,be entertained, or be more productive with work.

A decade or so ago, the only challenge for consumers in the worldof technical gadgets and gizmos was to figure out how to program theVCR, set the date and time on digital watches, or install Microsoft'sWindows on a personal computer. Today, there are gadgets for keepingtrack of the kids, for communicating wirelessly, for navigating inthe car, for shopping without cash or credit cards, for securing Internetpayments with smartcards, for typing without a physical keyboard,for digitally rewinding TV shows, and much more.

Many of these gadgets are so new that most of us don't evenknow they're available. We may be masters at some of these tools viaour hobbies, but we're often unaware of the others, or have becomeslaves to them because of their novelty. Keen photographers knowabout digital cameras and digital video recorders, but do they knowabout voice-enabled PDAs, multimedia messaging or virtual keyboards?Keen music fans know all about MP3 players, but do theyknow about radio frequency identification key tags for making wirelesspurchases at convenience stores? Heavy computer users knowabout collaboration over the Internet and about wireless local areanetworks (LANs) but do they know about handheld global positioningsystem (GPS) receivers?

This book was written as a way to help address this problem, toexplore the benefits behind some of the new consumer gadgets on themarket and to provide a glimpse of some of the ones to come. Ratherthan a product review or technical discussion, however, the goal ofthe book is simply to explore the merits of some recent innovations ofwhich we may not be aware, but that can help us in our daily livesand activities. The book takes an activity-centered approach to showhow you can have fun and simplify your life by using some of thesenew consumer gadgets.

The basic philosophy of the book, therefore, is to explain whatthe activity is, what the relevant gadget is, and how you can benefitfrom it. I also touch on how the gadget works, but more at an operationalor process level with step-by-step instructions rather than at atechnical level. For example, if you want to know how you can keeptrack of the kids, there's a section in the book on how to do this, whyit may be beneficial to you, what gadgets are available, and where toseek further information.

The book is divided into two major parts. The first part, "Today'sTechnology," describes consumer gadgets that are commercially availablenow. These are 35 activities that can help you have fun and simplifyyour life by using new gadgets or by using well-known gadgetsin new ways. The second part, "Tomorrow's Technology," describessome consumer gadgets that will appear soon in a store near you. These are some of the technologies coming out of research labs, or arein prototype stages or in early adoption, that may soon becomeembedded in everyday devices and objects.

Each profile within the book is self-contained, so if you see a topicthat catches your eye, you can jump right to it instead of having toread through the prior topics. If you want to read from cover to cover,however, you'll find that the book starts out with the essential communicationscapabilities, such as broadband Internet and wirelesslocal area networks, and then works progressively through variousthemes related to digital content, collaboration, and commerce.

There's a lot of ground covered in the book, and choosing the topfifty activities and their related gadgets and services was a hard task. Ihope that you find value in many of the activities discussed and areable to benefit personally from the glimpse into the advantages andcapabilities that these new solutions can provide. If any one of thesesolutions helps you save time or money, or simply helps you havemore fun, then this book has served its purpose.

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