Computer Peripherals Aren't Peripheral

By Abram, Stephen | Information Outlook, September 2006 | Go to article overview

Computer Peripherals Aren't Peripheral


Abram, Stephen, Information Outlook


Peripheral: borderline, exterior, external, incidental, inessential, irrelevant, minor, outer, outermost, frivolous, secondary, superficial, surface, tangential, unimportant, exoteric, external, extraneous, extrinsic, foreign, marginal, outermost, outlying, outmost, outward, over, superficial, surface, extraneous, immaterial, impertinent, inadmissible, inapplicable, inapposite, inappropriate, incidental, needless, nonessential, pointless, redundant, superfluous, supplementary, unconnected, unessential, unnecessary, unrelated ...

Frill: amenity, decoration, doodad, extravagance, fandangle, flounce, foppery, frippery, furbelow, fuss, garbage, gathering, gewgaw, gimcrack, gingerbread, gore, jazz, lace, nice touch, ruffle, spinach, superfluity, thing, tuck ...

Accessory: accent, addition, adjunct, adornment, appendage, appendix, appliance, appurtenance, attachment, component, decoration, extension, extra, frill, help, supplement, trim, trimming ...

Extravagance: absurdity, amenity, dissipation, exaggeration, excess, exorbitance, expenditures, folly, frill, immoderation, improvidence, lavishness, luxury, outrageousness, over-indulgence, overdoing, overspending, preposterousness, prodigality, profligacy, profusion, recklessness, squander, squandering, superfluity, unreasonableness, unrestraint, unthrift, waste, wastefulness, wildness ...

Sometimes we think of new technology accessories as frills, sometimes even extravagances. Sometimes our host organizations push back about needed tools by asking for excessive justification. With librarians' well-earned reputation as good budget managers and penny pinchers, we sometimes shy away from acquiring the needed innovative and improved accessories for our jobs. I hope this column helps to disavow you of that notion. There are some things that just make our lives easier, and that is good enough justification.

I recall when colleagues would tell me that they were only going to ask for a desktop PC, because they worried that a laptop would be perceived as a wasteful extravagance by their boss or clients! I even remember library colleagues paying extra to have "frills" removed from standard PCs! These included such items as graphics cards, speakers, CD ROM drives, DVD drives, and the like! Luckily, that era has gone by the wayside (except for a few dinosaurs), and we're no longer trapped at our desks in our fundamentally mobile and customer-focused profession. Our tools need to be with us when we travel, even if it's just across the hall to the partner's office or upstairs to the boardroom. The expectation is that you will now work from a hotel, an archive, your local public library collection, etc. You should be able to download, scan, print, and be productive anywhere, anytime. With wireless connectivity, you can even send the answer to your client from almost anywhere, as soon as you find it. Why should they wait for you to return to the office? Client service happens when the client is interacting with us--anywhere--not just where we might be pigeonholed in an old image.

Anyway, there are a few neat tools that I try to have with me all the time and some that I covet and have added to my wish list. This is what makes it fun to shop in those computer stores--looking at all the fine gadgets. Here are a few affordable basics where there's often a lot of choice in style and price-range:

Headphones

I am startled at how few of our colleagues use headphones at work. I hear that some are afraid of appearing to be listening to music. Personally, I have no problem with music in the office, as long as you can see your clients walk in to interrupt your reverie and as long as you can hear the phone. There are plenty of studies showing how music increases creativity and office productivity. Of course, it can also increase office tension since people like different genres of music. Hence, headphones in the cube farm make a nice compromise.

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