by Contributing Writer, Demand Media
Though some gadgets you use on a daily basis won't cause your business to fail should they suddenly disappear, a good number of them do improve your quality of life, both in and out of the office. Just a few decades ago, for example, the personal computer was nonexistent. Today PCs are integral to just about every business environment, from managing communications and customer orders to handling basic bookkeeping.
Invented in the 1960s by Duane Pearsall, the smoke detector has proven over and over again to be a life-saving gadget, and some people would literally not be alive without it. According to an article in the magazine Popular Mechanics, Pearsall said the invention happened by accident while trying to develop a static control device intended for photo dark room purposes.
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Whether you deal with scorching summers or winter chill, stepping into a building that's a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit is a luxury most take for granted. A climate control device saves your business money, too, by turning down the heat or air conditioning when the office is empty.
Whether you carry a personal music player or listen to music straight off your computer, you'd probably miss your digital music if it suddenly disappeared. An added benefit: Music players promote harmony at the workplace. Employees can listen to their preferred tunes without annoying their cubicle neighbors.
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Though many can do basic mathematics in their head, most aren't skilled enough with numbers to complete complex calculations sans calculator. These gadgets provide accurate results and are huge timesavers. And not just the handheld variety -- you can find calculating help in your computer and cellphone, too.
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Before the telephone, humans wrote letters by hand and waited days, weeks and sometimes months for their messages to get delivered. Thanks to the invention of the telephone, and eventually the mobile phone, news can be shared instantly and from just about anywhere. As of October 2010, more than 85 percent of U.S. citizens owned a cellphone, according to a Pew Research Center report.
Clocks and watches are such a central part of our lives that most people probably don't even realize just how much they take this convenient invention for granted. Clocks keep us on time, let us know when it's time to go home from work, when to eat, when to sleep and when to wake up.
Long lines at the bank are nobody's idea of a good time. Thanks to John Shepherd-Barron's invention of the ATM, or automated teller machine, you can deposit your personal or business checks, take out cash and check your balance at any time that's convenient for you. ATMs give you access to cash 24/7 from any place you are in the world where there is an affiliated bank, from New York to Timbuktu.
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Sure, you grumble about Internet slowdowns, data crashes and system errors. But across all industries, computers are at the center of how businesses operate. Seriously, can you imagine running your business without one?
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Before the computer mouse was invented, giant computers were manipulated by dozens of tiny buttons and sliders. According to the British newspaper The Independent, Stanford Research Institute's Douglas Engelbart developed the first X/Y position indicator prototype in 1964, an invention soon dubbed "mouse" for its rodent-like appearance.