Build your own Virtual Office: Introduction/Hardware
Part 1 gives an introduction and discusses the type of hardware you need to get started.
With all of the new applications becoming more Internet-based, it's becoming easier to do business remotely with online (and offline) applications.
With most of the articles I write, I go somewhere quiet and brainstorm, jot down some ideas, and/or write some posts.
One day in a coffee shop, I opened up my keyboard, connected my Palm Tungsten T3 and started typing up some ideas for future posts in DocumentsToGo Word. I am working towards a laptop eventually. Anyway, there were three or four people who kept looking over and I overheard someone saying, "That's a computer? It's so small." I tell everyone its my Virtual Office. I have everything with me when I leave the office and head on the road, including past, present, and future client data.
Mr. Ryan Carson posted his Office 2.0 experiment and it's similar to what I'll be talking about, but I'll be focusing more about an "on-the-road" perspective as opposed to being in the office. Gina Trapani at LifeHacker.com, also touched on how to create a "placeless office" as well. I wanted this article to dig a little deeper.
With the turn of the century, the millennium has given us the digital age and the ability to access anything, anywhere, at any time. If you're a salesman or a traveling entrepreneur (hey, they're out there!), this series is geared towards a beginning entrepreneur and gives you an idea on how to select the right hardware, software, and Internet services to properly setup your business on the information superhighway without becoming roadkill.
Build you own Virtual Office: Hardware
For those who are just starting out, you need the minimal amount of hardware available to get your work done remotely. The best hardware device for your virtual office solution by far is a laptop. Be it through Dell, eBay, or Gateway. Get one that actually works and will last a while, hopefully between 6-12 months.
The second option is a PDA. Although it is quite a bit smaller, there are additional accessories that complement the PDA's size. For example, a wireless keyboard that uses the infrared port at the top of the PDA works awesome for it's form factor.
Currently, I've been using a Palm Tungsten T3, the wireless keyboard, a couple 1GB SD cards, and a WiFi card. Unfortunately, the T3 isn't available anymore. I don't know why because its been such a great ally in my travels.
If you feel that a laptop would be better suited to your needs, I would recommend it over a Palm/Mobile PDA. It'll save your eyesight as well. :-)
Ok, are you ready? Let's look at the checklist.
The hardware list
- Laptop or PDA
- If using a laptop, Ethernet cable or PCMCIA Modem card
- If using a PDA, additional storage (Flash media to store your documents, such as CompactFlash or SD Card), a wireless keyboard, and if you want, a WiFi card, if your PDA doesn't have one already built-in.
- Printer (optional...ehh, use Kinkos or a Staples).
Small, isn't it? Your virtual office should be portable enough to take anywhere.
Now, I'm sure everyone is asking me, "why don't you use a SmartPhone (which is a combination of a PDA and cell phone)?" For small messages to someone, yes. That sounds like a great idea...until you have to write an article...or type. My thumbs would fall off if I had to write a full article on a SmartPhone. What happens