In discussing something yesterday I started thinking about my top 5 technologies that have changed the way I work. Please forgive my loose use of the word technology, some items on my list aren't so much a technology as a product (but they use a number of technologies to deliver what I need).
#10 Email (IMAP, SMTP, POP3, etc) - While it may be dying email does still serve a useful purpose in communicating with others. I should also add though that when I think of email I include things like calendar, contacts, to do, etc. Without that complete bunch of tools email is less useful and more irritating! Email (with calendar, contacts, to do items etc) allow me to organise myself, my team, my work AND my private life!
#9 The Internet - This network allows an enormous amount of information and connectivity. From being able to access my email, calendar and contacts from anywhere it also means I can find out things and research problems from the comfort of a chair with a coffee in one hand!
#8 Social networks, mainly LinkedIN and Twitter (although Facebook deserves an honourable mention) - Twitter lets me have conversations with a group of people scattered around the world. They also ensure I stay connected with people with very little effort! Social networks have allowed me to stay in touch (loosely) with people who I only see once every couple of years (cousins, friends in other cities, etc). While misused by many (in my opinion) they have made it really easy for people to quickly share with their friends photos and recent news (no more chain letter/emails)!
#7 ADSL2 (affordable fast home Internet connections) - I should probably include mobile Internet connections here also, but I don't do as much on the go as when I'm at home. From watching videos (thankyou YouTube), to online games (PC, Play Station, Wii) to being able to post a couple of photos onto a social networking site or update this blog quickly, fast Internet connections mean less waiting and more doing!
#6 802.11 (wireless networks) - I don't have an office (or a desk) at home so my wireless network lets me operate from where ever I'm sitting (it's a convenience thing).
#5 Open source software - Building communities and value instead of captilist exploitation!
#4 Social Bookmarking - Delicious is my social bookmarking tool of choice. In addition to being able to access my bookmarks from any computer I can connect with people and see their bookmarks! This is helpful when I want to look at something specific. I know who I would talk to and now I can check out their bookmarks to see if they have any useful information saved for me (because they've probably already researched the issue for me)!
#3 Blogs - What I like most about blogs is that I can hear from people I respect or value and have a conversation with them. I can learn from people who know more than me about certain subjects or technologies.
#2 RSS - With so many websites and blogs to stay in touch with RSS means I spend as much (if not more time) in my RSS reader as I do on the Internet. Convenience!
And the number 1 technology to me ...
#1 Smartphone - Because it brings the other 9 technologies to me where ever I am (provided there is cellphone signal)!