In the everyday processes of life, it's quite easy to lose sight of the technology right in front of you that does everything from help you with your daily work tasks; to aid in stress reduction; to allowing you to keep in touch with friends and family; to appeasing passions and curiosity; and far more. Although these select 3 are far from the only companies that create products that touch my life on a daily basis, they are arguably the most integral in my day-to-day functions.
Thank you, Microsoft: Even though I'm not too keen on Windows 8 at the moment, I have maintained a certain passion for Windows over the years that transcends the boundaries of "fanboyism" and brand loyalty. I am platform-agnostic to the extent that I want people to use what works best for them; to use what they love. Personally, as an OS enthusiast, I collect alpha/beta/mock-up Windows bits; enjoy installing old builds to play with in virtual machines; perform investigative research to get the scoop on the latest and greatest Windows progress/plans; and much more. These activities all take place within Windows 7. There are some key functions of Windows 7 that I hate to see left behind in Windows 8 -- so much so, as a matter of fact, that I will be using Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. But that's just fine with me, because Windows 7 lacks absolutely nothing for my personal needs in an OS.
Just to be clear, this isn't a gushing, brand-loyal fan view of Windows; this is just a "thank you" to Microsoft for creating an OS that I've been far more passionate about utilizing for more than just typical end-user usage scenarios. Without it, I wouldn't quite be able to go about my daily tasks in the manner that I do now. Sure, OS X and Linux are fully-capable operating systems, but there are too many things I use Windows for that I simply cannot use other OSs for (certain applications, gaming, etc.). Above all, though, I am content as Windows 7 user. It's just that simple.
[Related: Would you buy Windows 8? (Poll)]
Thank you, Apple: One word: iPad. After a brief stint with an Android tablet that sold me on the notion that I wasn't fit to be considered amongst the tablet user demographic, I later purchased an iPad and haven't looked back since. I don't think a single day goes by that I don't have my hands on my iPad at some point -- be it to browse the Web; check email; see which new apps are out; do a bit of gaming; keep Magic Window running for relaxation; or otherwise. Yes, it's an expensive device, but now that the iPad 2 is priced at $100 cheaper, I've a feeling that a naysayer (as I used to be) or three are soon to be converts.
Lastly, the iPad has really contributed to a certain sense of togetherness in my family. As soon as my mom saw mine, she wanted one immediately. Now, there's this back-and-forth of, "hey, have you seen this app or this app? Oh, check out this app!" That's just one small example out of a large handful, but with all the joy this device has brought me and those around me who also have one, the price is but a mere drop in the bucket.
[Related: 10 stress-relieving apps for iPad]
Thank you, Google: As an advanced search aficionado and investigative researcher, I can say with 100% certainty that no other search engine out there (that I've tried) comes remotely close to touching your results insofar as the types of things I search for! Not Bing, Baidu, Yandex, or any other specialty search engine I've tried is as fruitful. And for those of you reading, before you disagree with me and tell me that your preferred search engine is as good as Google, go run the following search query (or its equivalent, if you can) and tell me how you fare: "Windows 8" filetype:pdf | filetype:pptx | filetype:docx | filetype:ppt | filetype:doc | filetype:rtf site:download.microsoft.com | inurl:"ftp://"
That is a prime example of how I frequently search. And Google allows me to do that with a level of success that is unrivaled. The thought of Google ever getting rid of such advanced functionality frightens me, because the majority of people don't have the need to search like that and Google is always seeking to make search easier for the majority. So, with that said, thank you, Google, for maintaining a subset of advanced operators with which to make the absolute most of your search engine. Your index is simply too vast to not provide them for those like me who will most likely always have a reason to make constant use of them!
[Related: 10 Google search secrets]
And with that, I'll bring this post to a close. I wanted to add more than just the three companies above for products that touch my life on a daily basis, but such a list would have been ridiculous without limiting it to 3. After all, there's HTC for my phone needs; Verizon as a cellular provider; Dell for my laptop PC needs; various hardware manufacturers for my desktop PC needs; Nintendo and Sony for handheld and console gaming needs; Toyota for my transportation needs; and the list just goes on and on and on and on and on.
It's really easy to forget about -- and even be critical of -- the technology around you, so why not take a minute to reflect on some positive thoughts about the technology that enhances and enables your life? You may be surprised to find just how much you've come to take for granted!
What are some of the products that enhance your life the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below!