At my job, we have a new intern who is a student at East Chapel Hill High School.  This week he helped stuff envelopes with invoices and letters and could not seem to get over our inefficiency.  He wondered aloud – he has the unfortunate privilege of sharing an office with me – why in the world did he have to stuff, seal, and stamp, when he could just with the one simple keystroke, email the same information.

Maybe it’s this generation, maybe he’s lazy (I really don’t think so – no senior slack for this guy!), or maybe… it’s the connected community we live in.  But what can you do in Chapel Hill when you’re a tech head?  Here’s a rundown of resources for the Orange County-based technophile.

Most people may think “gadget geek” when they think tech head and there are plenty of places in Chapel Hill to BUY new technologies.  At The Shops at Eastgate, get the latest smart phone at Best Buy and get even more gadgets at Radio Shack.  Or if you’re at University Mall, you can find another Radio Shack and you can pay homage to the place where I got my very first cell phone.  This is dating myself, but that was my junior year at Carolina.  Other college students may head to Franklin Street to pick up the latest game for the Wii or Xbox at Game Stop.  And if the technology you’re usually geeking out on are cameras, you should definitely head west to Carrboro and check out Southeastern Camera Supply.

If you’re on that side of town, check out the new Carrboro location of the PTA Thrift Shop.  Believe it or not, the PTA has a wide variety of computer supplies – a monitor I purchased there for $5 and saved the nonprofit I was working for money by precluding the need for IT support or a brand new monitor.

The coolest technology gadget I’ve seen lately?

This cell phone holder which keeps your new iPhone 5 from

lying on the floor.  Buy it locally at This and That Gift Gallery.


Even technophiles may feel like there’s more to LEARN about technology.  We’re lucky that we’re home to the number one school for information and library sciences and a cutting edge program in sustainable technologies.   If you want to READ about technology, check out WRAL’s Tech Wire and N&O’s Tech Junkie blogs.

The home of UNC’s administrative leadership: South Building.

The School of Information and Library Science is

housed around the corner in Manning Hall.

But you may have come here to this community because of the high-tech job opportunities.  Read in The Carrboro Citizen about how Carrboro has “become something of a mini technology-business mecca in recent years.”  And if you’re looking for a job in the technology field, your go-to resources are WORK in the Triangle and NC Technology Association’s job board.

Work in the Triangle is a regional talent attraction effort

to bring high tech workers to the Triangle.

Are you in the technology field and love living in the Triangle?

Be a Smarty Pants Ambassador!

Maybe you prefer to connect with folks online, but are looking to CONNECT with folks online that live locally.  Chapel Hill Magazine has a good rundown of local folks that tweet.  UNC has a tweetup (follow @makunc for all #UNC news and info on the next tweetup) and I had fun participating in the “First EVER Tweet Divas Gathering in Chapel Hill.”  But if you really want to study a person that has mastered so many technologies – and stopped using one (email) all together – follow @smalljones’ #noemail lifestyle.  

My only cautionary tale is as you buy, learn, read, and connect with technology here in Chapel Hill, make sure you make time to get away from your computer screen, turn off your devices, and maybe sit down and write a letter…