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it took me four years to write my thesis and I had to do most of the work in a huge panic in the last nine months because of all the "gadgets/other things" that hindered me. That is, I wish I had stayed away from - or at least been able to exercise more self control around - TVs, DVD players, MP3 and MP4 players, radios, lap-tops with internet connections, refrigerators, toasters and in particular cigarette vending machines. If you are anything like me, the best thing your Mum could do for you is look after any of these that you may own before giving them back after your viva.
Good luck with your PhD.
Just wanted to second biddysbottom - the one thing I've bought that has helped me most on my PhD (apart from laptop, which you've already got) was Freedom (http://macfreedom.com/) which is a program you can download which blocks your internet access for up to 8 hours at a time (you set the amount of time). You get a few free trial runs and then it costs $10 to register it. You might not be a terrible internet procrastinator like me though :)
Last week I broke my right arm (don't ask...), I have a lit review due next week, so decided to invest in a dictation software. It's absolutely brilliant! Makes taking notes a lot faster. I managed to read through 4 really important articles yesterday, I was setting aside 2 days for that originally, when I wanted to note something I just dictated it and it saved me loads of time.
Another great gadget is my Kindle, makes life a lot easier (and travel a lot lighter).
SBCC - is the software Dragon? Just asking as I still can't get mine to work! Commiserations on the broken arm - hope it heals ok!
Thanks for all the replies, in the end I bought myself a lovely pink Sony e-reader which I am finding really useful although it took me a while to get to grips with! My parents bought me a new laptop and Office 2010 for my birthday, originally I wasn't going to get one but as I've just started I thought it would be a good idea to get a new laptop at the beginning rather than the middle of my PhD, and I needed something a bit more powerful. Got a Dell inspiron and I'm really impressed so far, I'm all set up now!
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