Techno Life

A dentist specialising in cosmetic and reconstructive work, Tariq Idris relies on his tablet PC and Palm organiser to help him split his week between Chester and London's Harley Street. An entrepreneur at heart, he designed a brand-new type of self-tapping dental implant (artificial tooth to you and me), set up his own business to market it and now has 5,000 patients paying upwards of £1,500.


I carry this with me everywhere; I really can't do without it. Because it's a tablet PC, you can write on the screen, so you can work anywhere, even if there isn't space to put it down and type. It does an amazing job of recognising my terrible handwriting, and the battery life is great. I have a Vodafone wireless card so I can get online pretty much anywhere, and I use a brilliant data compression service called AccelaNet, which makes my GPRS connection nearly as fast as 3G.


I spend a lot of time on the phone - too much, according to my wife. This is a nice one - it's compact and it has a loudspeaker facility, which sounds a bit ridiculous on a mobile, but is really useful. If you are on hold, you can put it down and do something else while you are waiting.

I thank God that my seven-year-old son isn't into mobiles and Playstations yet - I'd rather he was outside playing football.


This is fairly old now; it's a bit out of date really, but it does the job and it's been absolutely rock solid reliable. I use my Palm mainly for my appointments and diary. The main problem I have with it is that it is synched only when I am in my Chester office - I spend a couple of days a week in London and if I book someone in when I'm there, I have to e-mail the office so we don't clash. I have looked at a Blackberry, but I decided against it - live access to my server would be good, but I have e-mail on the Lifebook already, so that would just be doubling-up.


I have just bought this GPS, but it's not installed yet. It doesn't look too hard, so I am going to have a go at fitting it myself. The other thing that I have had put in the back of the car is a DVD player for the kids. On long drives down to London, it helps keep them happy; it's worth its weight in gold.


As well as this, I have a digital camcorder and a big plasma screen TV. I'm always on the lookout for the latest thing - my family call me gadget man. I'm like it at work too. In my Chester surgery, I have virtual-reality goggles that patients can use to watch a movie while I'm doing their teeth.

But although I use a digital camera at home, at work I have to use a special dental camera that uses 35mm film.

No-one has made a digital version yet.

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