But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I'm going to yammer on about something much closer to my heart: Technology.
It struck me, after reading innumerable "What's on your PC/Laptop/Palmtop" posts along with Gizmodo's "What's in your Gadget Bag" interviews, that everyone has cool shit that they can't live without. It struck me doubly just how much of a geek I was, listening to MP3's from the treo while I set up the config for a kernel recompile. Not for a good, wholesome reason, but so I can play Unreal Tourney without having to reboot.
So, I ask you as a poll: What can you not do without, technology-wise. A laptop? Mobile phone? A few specific bits of software? But more importantly, why. And not just "why a laptop", but what makes your laptop such a good model (if it is) or what you like about it... or why you stick with a particular word processor even though you really hate it. Geek out about what you have in the comments. I'm curious, damnit.
So, in the spirit of geekness, I bring youall the geek crap.
Treo 600: I can't deny it, I'm in love with this thing. It's a workable phone, but the real joy is having the built-in PDA. The camera's kind of dodgy for anything but close-to-mid shots, and the screen could do with being bigger... but I can think of nothing more to complain about. The GPRS gets fantastic service in most of the places and pubs I end up in, so I can get e-mails on the move (or indeed post to this thing, as I demonstrated in Brighton and Edinburgh). The foldout keyboard slips nicely into the same pocket, and I can thus have a full and proper writing desk wherever I find myself sat, which can be more than useful when I get a story idea on the bus. and when I wonder what to write next, I can play iLarn, and imagine the graphics of Diablo overlaid on the same gameplay.
Packard Bell laptop: This is the first machine I've had to only have Debian running on it. Unfortunately, this is the same laptop that has so far destroyed two hard drives, and will likely be doing the same to a third if I don't sort out some extreme extra cooling. But fuck it, I am not going to get a new one. I like this laptop. I like the impressions made by the balls of my hands as I spent many a lonely night in my Munich squat, typing to the world. I like the way people are freaked out by the majority of keys missing. Hell, I even like the touchpad mouse. That half of the crap only worked properly under Windows ME was rather a drawback, but I tolerated it because I like the machine.
Casio G-Shock watch: Big, chunky, and free. Who can complain? That it's got a date reminder function and can hold 25 phone numbers (and so is a nice backup for the essential numbers also on the Treo) adds to the geek appeal.
Microsoft Word: I'm trying not to include this on the list, but I can't. There are just two things OpenOffice needs before I will kick this crapsack into touch for good. The first is a decent British English dictionary. The second and more damning is a grammar checker. For more formal writing than fiction, and even for long fiction the green wavy underline is an essential reminder of "You could say that another way" or "You forgot which 'its' has no apostrophe again, you fucking retard". I try not to need it, but my writing dumb stories to get through third year English means that some kind of grammar checker is essential.
BlueNomad Wordsmith: Imagine everything you needed to edit RTF files on a Palm, including font management software and a good-enough spellchecker. Stick a grammar checker on this and I'd be writing solely on the Treo. Or at least, I would be if I didn't like the feel of a real keyboard. Wordsmith has roughly the same functions as WordPad, but manages to get things right where WordPad doesn't.
Unreal Tournament: The engine is a good indicator of how good a 3-d setup a computer has, especially on the few-years-old kit I typically end up using. But fuck it, it's there for me to kill shit when I get bored and is just so very more-ish. No, I don't have a good enough system to play Doom 3 myself. How did you guess?
So, tell me the tales of the tech you couldn't (or really rather wouldn't) go without.