Best Gifts for Freelancers – 2013 edition
After two months of being bombarded by advertisers and commercials proclaiming the Christmas season, it’s finally the Christmas season. And so far, things are going well for the end of the year – have a place to stay, have a job, and that job is now going to help me move into a place of my own, which is awesome sauce.
So with the holiday season amongst us finally, it’s time to start thinking about presents. I love presents and I assume you, dear readers, also enjoy presents and what would make the upcoming holiday season – and thus, the upcoming new year – better than to get items that not only make your life better, but help you on your road to freelancing awesomeness.
Today, I’m starting a Christmas list for the freelancer in all of you – best gifts for you to get yourselves, other freelancers, or to just slip under the door for your family to find and purchase. This is a four part list, split into different types of technology that will help your freelancing business:
- Computers – the best components/programs to make your freelancing life easier.
- Tablets/Tabtops – for the mobile freelancer, some of the best mobiles devices on the market.
- Smartphones – when you need to jot it down or make the important call.
- Apps – no device is complete without some awesome apps to make use of.
Because we’re freelancers – and beginning ones at that – I’m going to highlight either free or very reasonable (read: fairly cheap) products that will help get you started without bankrupting you in the process.
To start the list, we’re talking computers today. Despite the current idea, the desktop/laptop computer isn’t dead in any means. Yes, sales have gone down thanks to the rise in mobile technology, however there are still many people that use desktop computers; I’m sure many of you are still working in an office that has desktop computers and by far, a desktop is the better option for certain tasks.
Personally, I love my desktop; I named him Optimus Prime thanks to the LED lights on the front of the monster case and there are many things I would rather do on a desktop than any other device. With my small stint in web design, I definitely feel that a desktop is a much better option to be working in Photoshop or Dreamweaver and I believe that many designers and programmers feel the same way. Now, depending on the type of freelancer you are, the decision of desktop vs laptop is dependent on what you do – as a writer, I can go either way and there are times when a laptop is better suited to writing than a desktop, thanks to the mobility factor.
But I do still enjoy my desktop, especially when I’m able to have multiple tabs and other programs open on a wide space. So which components should you be looking at this Christmas for your desktop?
This is one component I plan on getting myself. A bigger monitor equals a bigger space in which to view items you’re working on. I routinely will have two programs running – usually Chrome and Word – side by side as I write, able to write while looking at various different notes or articles that I’m researching. This also works when I’m listening to a background movie or TV show while working. With monitors, you have several different options to go with – whether it be just the one, bigger monitor or making use of two, is completely your choice on how that may work for you.
I’ve had two monitors and it was the greatest thing ever, but as that worked extremely well for when I was working, I’ve come to the decision that I can achieve the same thing with one, bigger monitor. This will of course come into play during my working hours, when I work out of several different systems and websites and I must manuever in and out of them during the day. Thankfully, the pricing for quality monitors has come down in recent years, enabling you to get a decent sized monitor for a relatively good price.
For instance, one of the monitors I’m looking at is an IPS 24 inch widescreen, with HD and HDMI connection. Do I need HD? Probably not, however with many video games and videos coming out in HD, having the feature is very nice; currently, pricing I’ve seen for it is $169 at both Micro Center, Fry’s Electronics, and Tiger Direct.
This is for the developer or designer freelancer, but can be applied to anyone that enjoys watching movies or TV on their computers. Having a decent graphics card can be the difference between a looking design and one that’s horrible. As with the monitor, it’s on my to do list and like monitors, these components have not come down in price for the separate card, but many motherboards are coming equipped with the latest in graphic technology.
Personally, I am a nVidia fan, so I tend to go with their cards, however ATI Radeon cards are usually on par and sometimes better the nVidias and offer the same high definition standard that monitors have. Pricing for these has also come down, though the really high end devices are still in upwards of $300 or more if that’s what you’re looking for.
This is the most important factor of a really great computer, both in desktops and laptops. The faster the speed, the faster programs load, which equals the faster you’re able to get stuff done. The processor is also the more expensive component, though when paired with a motherboard, the price isn’t too bad. I recently upgraded to the third generation i5, with the hope of getting either an i3 or i5 for my future tabtop. Programs load incredibly fast and booting up in the mornings is quick, meaning I’m able to get on almost as soon as I’ve poured my first cup of coffee.
These three components can either be purchased individually or with a system, though when buying a system from a retailer, it’s important to note that hard drive space is going to be taken up with unwanted programs. This is when making friends with other freelancers, such as those who build desktop computers, is helpful as they can pinpoint the best components, the best deals, and may even build or help you build the pc of your dreams.
So keep these in mind for your 2014 PC! Next week, we’ll check out some the best tablets, tabtops, and ultrabooks for the freelancer on the go.
Posted on December 2, 2013, in Beginnings, The Business Side and tagged ATI, desktop, Fry's, laptop, Micro Center, NewEgg, nVidia, Radeon, tablets, tabtop, Tiger Direct. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.