9 Great gadgets for wherever inspiration strikes

Having a Eureka! moment is terrific, but what good is it if you can't record your thoughts?

There are times when I will sit down in front of the computer screen to complete a task (writing code, writing an article) and find myself staring blankly with absolutely no ideas or inspiration. Such was the case with this article. Then came the idea: what about you creative people out there? What inspires you? When or what time of day do you find inspiration? What is a good synonym for "inspiration"?! And when said inspiration strikes, what do you do? Out of the 36 people I asked, most were not near a desk and didn't have a writing implement or other means of saving their idea. Having a "lightbulb" moment may be terrific, but what good is it if you can't record your thoughts?

Read on to see how some simple (and ridiculously complex) devices can help you be prepared for the moment inspiration strikes.

To sleep perchance to dream

How many times have you awoken and had a moment of clarity where all the answers were as plain as day? And how many times after that did you completely forget what in the heck you were thinking about? I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me (I used to know, but promptly forgot). How about when you're going to bed at night and, upon laying your head down on your pillow, the stress of the day fades away. Your mind wanders, and without realizing it, you've got an idea. Then...you doze off.


Jesse Waites of Beacon Hill Apps gets his best app ideas as he his falling asleep. "I now keep a moleskin notebook at my bedside," says Jesse. A great suggestion. But what if you're like me, and lose your train of thought after drearily reaching for your pen and pad (then trying to remember how to write), and then try to form a coherent sentence from the idea which is rapidly becoming incoherent? Perhaps it's time to go into the digital age.

Digital voice recorders are just the thing. This recorder pictured here, the Philips 2GB PCM Digital Voice Recorder not only provides a one-button dictation feature, but also can act as an alarm clock if nightstand space is at a premium. Also comes with an FM tuner and the ability to record to either mp3 or wav formats.

Just relax


Nearly everyone I polled about the way they achieve inspiration all gave examples of how getting their minds off the problem was directly correlated to arriving at the solution. The ideas come when your mind is occupied with another, perhaps mundane, activity or when you're simply more relaxed.

There are few places on the planet where you can feel more relaxed than in your own bed. People who travel for a living can back me up on this. Try it. If you find this works for you, then head on over to Amazon.com and find yourself a laptop bed tray. There are a few different models available, all with different features. A few offer cooling fans, which might help induce a more delta state by providing ambient white noise (oh, and also keep your laptop cool).

[ See also: 8 unusual iPad cases ]

Next page: Great idea and a clean kitchen

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