When wheeler friends come to my house, they generally see some techno-gizmo that appeals to them. I’m under no illusion that this has anything to do with my skill at finding applicable technologies and has everything to do with the sheer volume of crap I order off the Internet. Fortunately for you, I’ve sorted through the junk to come up with my eight favorite technologies to share with you, along with a disclaimer that some lawyer somewhere somehow is sure to advise: The following does not represent a product endorsement, so if you buy any of this stuff and it breaks, just address your angry letters to the manufacturer and not to me or New Mobility. That being said, let’s get to it. In no particular order:
Keurig one-cup coffee maker — I never drink enough water to satisfy my urologist. I swear those guys are sponsored by Deep Rock. If you self-cath, this may not be for you, but if you love your morning coffee, tea or hot chocolate, it’s great. You purchase small plastic cups containing the mix for your beverage of choice, place the cup in the Keurig, place a mug under the nozzle and press the button. No microwave, no tea bag, no coffee filter, no hot chocolate package to mess with. My worthless quad hands can usually maneuver this all on my own.
Zip ties — Low tech, but awesome. Often known as plastic tie wraps, I put these small nylon loops on everything — my backpack, zippers on clothing, leg bag, water bottles, you name it and I probably have attached a zip tie to it. If you have limited hand function, get these on your next trip to Home Depot.
Sonicare toothbrush — My brother-in-law, an oral surgeon, loves this thing. For me, flossing isn’t really an option and a vigorous scrubbing with the standard brush is beyond me as well. I tracked down a model with the toothpaste inside the brush, and in a couple minutes I get a great cleaning with only having to palm the brush and move my head around.
Pulsonic razor — I fully respect the Grizzly Adams look, but neither my wife nor my job tolerate particularly well the one-week growth I sported throughout most of college. I recently switched from a rotary razor to a foil razor and I love it. I get a decent shave with relatively little effort and it doesn’t tear up my face.
iPhone — Yes, I’m on the bandwagon. I’m sure it isn’t the only good touch-screen cell phone out there, but it’s the only one I’ve used. I can check e-mail, update my Facebook status, and find the nearest Starbucks … oh, it works for phone calls, too.
PolyCom — I searched for a couple years to find a good speaker phone to hook up to my land line, went through phone after phone to no avail, and finally purchased the PolyCom, a round phone generally used by companies for conference calls that works great in the house. No big buttons or handset, but the speaker and microphone are awesome. They’re pricey ($200-$300), but in line with some of the “adaptive” phones I’ve seen.
Google Talk Video — I’ve been dabbling with the video conference thing using both Skype and Logitech QuickCam software over the past couple years, but it was poor quality, clunky, and hard to set up. Google has released video talk supported via a Web browser within Gmail that is very easy to use, has relatively high video quality, and works with almost any Web cam. The only drawback is you’ll need to sign up for a Gmail account if you don’t already have one.
Audible — I read a fair amount, but rarely have the time or inclination to pick up a book, so I use this online audio book service. You can download just about any new release and listen via your computer, iPod, GPS or most any other portable media player. You can also burn your books to CD. Check it out at audible.com.