Our editor, the most delectable Mr. Grober, put forward a suggestion to while away the dreary month of August, a month so intrinsically boring that it rivals that of a newspaper dedicated to the growth patterns of soya bean, to write about a piece of personal technology, which would in the case of our untimely demise would need to be pried from our cold, dead hands.
Naturally I chose my BlackBerry. A device of which, if given the choice, I would be buried alongside, just in case that I became bored waiting for the Grim Reaper to take me from six feet below the ground to the inevitable eternal dimension of damnation - or as many people here in the UK would call it, Middlesborough.
While my colleagues decided upon the feasts of web technologies and others decided on lower-specification technologies for feasts themselves, neither really tick the boxes with this constantly-disconnecting vegetarian. I may be known for eating PR contacts for breakfast, but only if they are organically fed and have enough space and freedom to dust-bathe and perch in RSCPA approved barns. Oh wait, those are hens. Same thing.
Indeed, Mr. Dawson, it was I who stole the BlackBerry. But in my heart of hearts, I cannot dedicate any more time to it than I already have.
To glance upon the past literary readings relating to the beast of all smartphones, you can read more here:
- 7 reasons why the BlackBerry Curve 8900 is my perfect companion
- Kicking that nasty BlackBerry habit
- When did the BlackBerry become so personal?
Moving onto a bit of software which I don't hold so closely to my heart, but makes my life so much easier: a multi-monitor manager with desktop wallpaper support and a taskbar for additional screens. It sounds fairly aesthetic but in the grand scheme of things, I value this above most programs I use - Microsoft Office 2007/2010, Firefox and VideoLan VLC.
This little bit of kit sits in your system tray, out of the way and minding its own business. But what it throws back onto your screen is an amalgamation of tools and tweaks which makes your viewing experience much more enhanced on two or more monitors.
There are two main features: a taskbar which spans across multiple monitors and not just your primary desktop, and a wallpaper adjuster which enables you to line up wallpapers across different model and sized monitors which look aesthetically better than a non-seamless transition. For those who want a bit more power in advanced registry hacking, it even provides you with a self-help list of to-do's if you should so choose to.
The latter feature is part of the basic package but it only costs $20 for the taskbar edition (the Pro version), but frankly, those who wish to circumvent the premium features via payment and look for illegal software keys - they're not too difficult to find.
Good news for Windows 7 users, unlike those who are still stuck on UltraMon with features which are not yet compatible, DisplayFusion works almost perfectly in line with the new user-experience guidelines and user interface, as you can see.
Even though additional taskbars don't hold the Start menu or a notification area, each window open on that monitor will only display in that monitors taskbar, allowing you to keep accurate track of what is going on and where. Plus, additional taskbars integrate application thumbnails just as the ordinary taskbar has; spreading the overall experience without cutting corners. It is mostly aesthetic but it makes my screen feel better... it's an odd way to describe it, but it's the only one that really works.
With the wallpaper settings, which I shall briefly mention, there is no need to be spending hours readjusting your image files in Paint or PhotoShop. The wallpaper adjuster allows you to literally shift the excess of wallpapers in all directions to make sure it matches up on screen; ideal for landscape wallpapers or images which clearly and obviously spread across two or more screens.
Don't get me wrong. UltraMon is beyond brilliant for XP and Vista, and it treated me very well before my upgrade to the release candidate. But it just hasn't kept up to date with my Windows 7'y needs.
Even though both the BlackBerry Curve 8900, the monster of all smartphones, and DisplayFusion, the behemoth of multi-monitor support, are most certainly for the living, you would have to crowbar them both, at least the metaphorical spirit of the latter, out of my spindly, stiff dead fingers before I'll ever give them up.
Of all the hardware, software, gadgets and gizmo's the world has to offer, which would be the one you just couldn't let go of? Everyone will have a preference, so share the love and let me know.