We know sys admins love gadgets, and have therefore compiled a list of some really sweet gadgets, gizmos, tools and other neat stuff that would definitely come in handy. These are tangible devices, not software or websites. So if you’re planning on getting a fellow sys admin a gift or want to add something to your own wish list, check out these our list of 27 gadgets:
1. USB keys
You can never have enough money, enough bandwidth, or enough USB keys. Think large capacity, small form factor, and integrated caps. USB 3.0 drives with at least 32GB of storage make for great portable operating system drives, and built-in encryption keeps data safe.
2. USB drive
Keys are great for immediate storage needs, but every admin needs a high capacity, durable, portable USB drive for storing all their stuff. Backups, ISOs, music and videos all take up space, and a 1TB USB drive is the gift that keeps on giving.
3. USB/IDE/SATA adapter
SysAdmins have to deal with a wide array of different storage media, and having an external adapter that lets you plug in practically any type of hard disk into a USB port for a quick copy, or more detailed recovery, is a tool that quickly becomes indispensable.
4. A unique USB hub
The more universal the USB gets, the more things we have to plug in. There are a ton of different USB hubs out there and you’re sure to find one that fits almost any personality. From a Doctor Who TARDIS to a hollowed out skull, look for a USB hub that is both stylish and practical.
5. Really big monitors
There’s one more thing you can never have enough of…screen real estate. For the desk, a 24” monitor is almost a default.
6. Portable projector
It’s hard enough to get a conference room these days; finding one with a projector (that works) is getting impossible. There’s a new breed of portable LED projectors with rechargeable batteries that are smaller than a paperback book, and can save the day when you have to present on short notice.
7. Presentation mouse with laser pointer
And when you make that presentation, don’t break your stride by having to go back to click for the next slide. Wireless presentation might let you move around the room, most come with laser pointers, and some even have USB storage in their dongle so you can bring your presentations with you.
8. Sidekick monitor
Along the same lines, sometimes no matter how big your primary monitor is, you need a secondary. It doesn’t have to be huge, just enough to display that how-to blog page while you full-screen the server you are remoting. USB monitors are small, portable and perfect for that little bit of extra display.
9. A really good keyboard
SysAdmins spend far too much time typing, and laptop keyboards are not ergonomic. Small portable keyboards with enough of a curve or split to relieve the pressure can make typing fun again.
10. Miniature speaker
Road warriors know the joy of a USB key loaded with movies or that last season of Lost you never quite finished; but the tinny sound of a laptop’s speakers can ruin the experience. Small but powerful, and with great sound, portable speakers may spell the end of in-room PPV.
11. Multiple outlet USB charger
Practically everything charges from USB these days, and your laptop only has so many outlets and so much amperage. A small, multi-port USB charger with enough juice to charge your cellphone, headset and tablet at the same time is a great travel tool. Make sure the plug folds in for easy packing.
12. Multi-end USB cable
Rather than carrying a handful of different USB cables, look for one that has multiple ends on it, so you always have the cable you need.
13. USB/AC wall plug
14. Flexible powerstrip
For all those times when you have to squeeze, bend or force two bricks into a powerstrip, often at the expense of rendering one of the plugs unusable, there’s a new game in town. Flexible powerstrips that can bend and flex to accommodate any number of AC adapters are excellent for under the desk.
15. Short powerstrip
The best thing I ever put into my backpack was a short 18” powerstrip with three plugs. Rather than fighting for that one chair next to the only outlet in the conference room or airport, you can plug in, share with others, and spread out.
16. A solid multi-tool
Don’t go for the five pound army knife with a 112 different blades; look for small, pocket sized devices with a blade, slotted and Phillips screwdrivers, and small pliers. Bottle openers are useful too, especially as the clock approaches quitting time.
17. Para-cord survival bracelet
18. Velcro straps
Face it, twist ties are useless, and just as soon as you get all your cabling perfect, with zip ties holding everything just so, you’re going to have to add or change a cable. Velcro is easy to use, easy to change, and doesn’t require a bolt cutter to undo. Colorful multipacks with a variety of lengths are the way to go.
19. Static electricity eliminator
Anyone working on hardware knows how bad static electricity can be, but no one wants to tether themselves to a ground point. Portable static electricity eliminators are pocket sized, easy to carry around, and make working with hardware safe.
20. Universal network cable adapter
21. An emergency battery
There’s nothing worse than being on a marathon call, getting just to the point where you can resolve the crisis, but your cellphone runs out of juice. Portable batteries that charge off a USB port can provide hours of emergency power for your cell phone, or even run that MiFi device to keep you online during blackouts.
22. Cellphone holder
23. Cordless headset
SysAdmins spend far too much time on the phone, and holding that cellphone up to the side of your head becomes painful. A high quality cordless headset is vital. Look for ones that can pair to more than one device at a time, like your cellphone, PC and computer.
24. Gecko grip strips
These little strips can keep phones or other pieces of hardware from sliding off of surfaces like car dashes. Most add a bit of flair to whatever you stick them to.
25. USB cigarette lighter adapter
26. Bottle with filter
Think green and stay hydrated at the same time, without concern for how bad that water fountain tap tastes.
27. A really good pen
No matter how much we may like our computers, sometimes you just can’t do better than to simply write things down. Ballpoints are okay for the occasional task, but a quality writing implement has a classic feel that just can’t be beat. Look for pens that are multitaskers, like those that have a stylus or laser pointer built in, survival pens that can be useful in the event of zombie attack, or just fun ones like Sonic screwdrivers.
Know of any other gadgets that should make it to this list? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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