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Voicemail, Away Greetings and Remaining Reachable From the Road

Pre-Trip Planning, Telework & Virtual Officing, technology
June 8th, 2011 No Comments »

If you’re a home office worker, a road warrior, a teleworker, a virtual officer or just a workationing mom or dad who’s hitting the highway but expecting to take a little work in tow, how will you help those trying to reach you to actually reach you. A voicemail I received today helped highlight that question. It also revealed that with email, texts, pins, BBMs, Facebook, tweets, IM, LinkedIn messages, some people still rely on vmail. And as antiquated as we may believe it to be, we still must serve those people’s needs.

In the message, the person left her query. She also commented that my outbound greeting referenced Cinco de Mayo. A greeting a month old, eh? Goes to show how little attention many of us pay to our vmail greetings.

This got me to thinking, though… Assuming people actually listen to greetings, what should we say or request of those trying to reach us? What about for teleworkers, road warriors and even workationing entrepreneurs?

Read More »

Humongo Back-Up Goes Ultra Portable

Product Reviews, technology
October 30th, 2009 No Comments »

It seems the more digital detritus we amass, the more of it we expect to wedge into a smaller and smaller space. That’s where the Sandisk UltraBackup USB Flash Drive comes in.

This flash drive — or “thumb drive” as some people call it, referring to its digit-like size — is small on size but huge on capacity. Measuring from 8 gigabytes to 32 gigs, this traditional flash drive offers one-touch back-up. It’s ideal for traditional back-up, or just stashing stuff to take on the road.

Good thing, since most IT pros joke about there being two types of computer users in the world: Those who have lost data, and those who will. Read More »

Verizon Droid vs. iPhone: A Battle of Road Warrior / Home Office Smart Phones

Communicating, technology
October 29th, 2009 No Comments »

A funny thing happened while I was reviewing the new Verizon Droid smart phone for Home Office Highway and Chief Home Officer.

I never made a call.

With 10,000 available apps, Verizon’s 3G network, and Google’s Android 2.0 operating system, there’s a lot to do with a phone without ever making a call. In fact, that’s why I may never buy one.

Listen as I review the Droid with Jim Blasingame. Read on below the widget to hear why I’m a tried-and-true BlackBerry person - at least for the moment…
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Read More »

Road Warriors & Teleworkers Turn HD Video into Power Tool

Product Review, technology
September 24th, 2009 No Comments »

They say video is the Next Frontier for small business marketing. Are you recording?

Videos will be searched, categorized, crawled, archived, accessed and — eventually will replace the typed blog or other commentary for people more interested in having content as eye-and-ear candy than as an exercise in reading.

For that reason, I have a Pure Digital Flip Video HD. It takes sharp, snappy images in crisp HD clarity. I also have a library of home office videos (showcased at the top of this website). Each was taken with a Flip Video.

flip-videoSmall. Simple. Sharp. Easy to share. These attributes describe the evolution of today’s video camera — and what consumers are demanding in them.

These aren’t just for marketing. Contractors can shoot images from job sites. Teleworkers can video their home offices — as proof for their employers that they have a bona fide workspace. Of course, kids can use them for projects and parents can goof off with them (not while working, of course…) Read More »

LogMeIn, Skype & Custom Earplugs: Just What the Road Warrior Ordered

Pre-Trip Planning, Product Reviews, technology
August 11th, 2009 No Comments »

Paul Holstein’s summer trips to Europe are a holiday indeed — especially considering how little he has to worry about staying connected during his time away.

Paul Holstein - the well-honed road warrior.

Paul Holstein - the well-honed road warrior.

This is the second installment of a two-part snapshot offered by the owner of CableOrganizer.com into the must-bring tech that keeps him productive “across the pond” — as if he hadn’t even left his Fort Lauderdale offices.

Last time, we looked at some of Holstein’s hardware selections. This time, it’s his software and accessories he’ll introduce us to…

Syncplicity is a software application allows you to setup one or more folders on your hard drive and it synchronizes that folder with all your other computers.  In my case, that’s office, home, and laptop.

When I need to make a presentation or work on a document both at home and the office, I make sure I keep the document in my synchronized folder.  I gave a presentation in Boston a few months ago and forgot to put the presentation on my USB flash drive.  No worries, it was on the syncplicity server.  I just fired up my web browser and downloaded it.  Unlike other sync programs, Syncplicity copies all your files to the cloud so that your computers don’t need to be all on to synchronize.  It works really well with my next favorite software…

RoboForm. How many times do you sign up for a website at the office, then try to access it from home?  Or how often do you change your password for sensitive sites with a complicated password, then you need access from your laptop or you forgot the password?  Well, with Roboform, it remembers all your logins.  When you open a page with a login, it fills in the information for you.  In addition, it generates really secure passwords for you and it will even fill out your name, address and credit card information that is needed on a lot of sites.  When I use RoboForm in combination with Syncplicity, I don’t have to worry about remembering logins anymore.  They are always up to date.

LogMeIn is fantastic and free.  They have a paid version, but if you have syncplicity, you really don’t need it.  I use logmein to access my enterprise programs such as our ERP program and our accounting system.

Skype is the mother of all VOIP applications.  I use it all the time to save money on phone calls.  Skype lets you call regular phone numbers for about 3 cents per minute.  That’s a lot cheaper than most other plans and the voice quality is great.  In addition, you can even do video conferencing with people who have Skype.

Sound is an important and often overlooked component of travel. I also carry my Bose Headset with a special microphone adapter and my custom earplugs. The Bose Quite Comfort headsets are a lifesaver on long trips.  You’d be amazed how much calmer and relaxed you are after a long trip if you use noise cancelling headsets. I found a special communications kit that you can use with it that lets you make phone calls.  This is incredibly useful in crowded airports or on the road.  You can hear your callers perfectly no matter how much noise is around you.  The sound quality is great on the other end as well.

I also had custom earplugs made for me.  These are incredibly comfortable and allow me to sleep with the earplugs in.  I can even turn my head on the side on my pillow with no discomfort.  I used them on the plane and also in noisy hotel rooms.  It cost me about $100 but it is well worth it.

Indeed.

iPhone, Smart Laptop Add Balance to Road Warrior’s Mobile Life

Pre-Trip Planning, Product Reviews, technology
August 9th, 2009 No Comments »

When Paul Holstein heads to Europe for summer holidays, he’s packed and ready for business.

Paul Holstein - the well-honed road warrior.

Paul Holstein - the well-honed road warrior.

The owner of CableOrganizer.com offered a snapshot into the must-bring tech that keeps him productive “across the pond” — as if he hadn’t even left his Fort Lauderdale offices.

His take…

What a perfect topic for me.  I’m on vacation in France now and, of course, totally connected.

My favorite laptop these days it the Toshiba Portege R600-ST4203. It’s built for the traveler.  It’s 2.4 pounds and one inch thick.  You can’t imagine how this changes everything.  You don’t need to carry a separate laptop bag if you don’t want to.  You can tuck it into your regular carry-on suitcase.

Alternatively, you can carry a small laptop bag and add clothes to it for short trips. Forget the headset and webcam.  Those are built right in to the laptop.  They are built into most laptops today.  That saves you a lot of effort as well. Read More »

Home Office Home Again: Random Observations After 2 Weeks on the Road

Commentary, The Road Warrior, technology
August 2nd, 2009 No Comments »

After two weeks on the road, it’s the simple observations that bring clarity to the home office adventure. Like…

- Sponsor or no, the Verizon Mifi ‘personal hotspot’ won the day — hands down. It was a true fan favorite and winner of the HOH’09 Product of Choice. Hey, anything that keeps the hoards from beating me up for my Internet connection is worthy of praise. Teleworkers and road warriors alike will find this tool extremely useful.

-Yes, family, we WILL survive two weeks without a TV. And we did. We talked, played more Yahtzee and Racko than we ever thought possible, and watched burning embers in the fire pit. And yes, we surfed the Web. A lot. Truth be told, we watched a few DVD movies on Zack’s HP laptop. But that’s NOT TV.

- Open a bag of animal crackers, and a dog’s nose knows. “Food, food, food…”

- “Yes, Mom, Spaghetti-Ohs make a perfectly suitable breakfast.”

Belkin Clap On Surge Suppressor

Belkin Clap On Surge Suppressor

- Success is in the gadgets you choose. Like the Belkin Clamp On surge suppressor that, well, clamped on to the edge of the bunk and supplied power to all our gadgets (no small feat, given the number of gadgets we employed).

- When plugs aren’t available, old-fashioned cigarette lighters will work. Just the ticket for the Scosche reCoil retractable car charger for iPod and iPhone.

- Netbooks beget adaptors and accessories. And manufacturers are responding. The Targus Netbook Accessory Kit includes a nifty USB hub, a travel mouse and a slip case for netbooks with screens up to 10.1 inches. Read More »

Ten Must-Pack Home Office RV Tools & Accessories

The Road Warrior, organization, technology
July 26th, 2009 No Comments »

Packing wisely makes the difference between success and frustration on the road.

Packing wisely makes the difference between success and frustration on the road.

To paraphrase the once-almost-ubiquitous line from a popular credit-card commercial, ‘What’s in your backpack’?’

Whether a family cruise or a two-week road trip, I make sure to pack my backpack with all the essentials needed to create a home office from the road. And with every trip, I find something new to stash in my travel case. I’m sure road warriors and teleworkers go through the same exercise.

Along side my MSI Wind netbook and Verizon Mifi personal hotspot, Below are the 10 (or so) must-pack accessories I carry with me:

- My laptops and netbooks don’t have card readers. So I carry a card reader and USB flash drive so I can import the scores of photographs I’ll shoot each day. Read More »

What Tech Drives Home Office Highway?

The Road Warrior, technology
July 25th, 2009 No Comments »

Wonder what technology drives the home office highway?

Discover as I discuss the topic with Jim Blasingame with Small Business Advocate. A hint: Mifi, a netbook, the Cloud — and a barking dog. The pleasures and realities of live radio — from a rocking chair at the General Store at Stone Mountain Park Campground. It’s even good for telework and road warriors, if they want to work from an RV…

Keeping the Mobile Office & Home Officer Online & Un-Harassed From The Road

Communicating, technology
July 23rd, 2009 No Comments »

Finally, a 'hotspot' that's easy to use - and a true 'cloud'.

Finally, a 'hotspot' that's easy to use, small as a business card - and a true 'cloud'.

More on the Mifi…

It’s every home office, telework and road warrior’s lament. At least those with kids (and a wife in search of ‘net-time): How to get online, without attracting attention from the little scoundrels, who’ll then want the Internet-connected laptop for their own.

Of course, RV parks across America promise “Free Wifi.” Good luck finding a network that works…

Here’s one review of the MiFi personal hotspot. Specifically, Daniel Terdiman said of mobile hot spot, it “converts the carrier’s EV-DO signal into a Wi-Fi connection that up to five people can share. I had already used the MiFi to provide a signal for the iPod Touch at the very beginning of the trip so that, while sitting on a boarding airplane, I could download a large file from iTunes…Now, I realized that by turning the MiFi on and sticking it in my back pocket, I could become, in essence, a walking hot spot, allowing me to get online on the iPod Touch, no matter where I was. That meant that I could use the Skype app to make a phone call, run several other apps for one reason or another, and look up good places to eat using the device’s browser…”

My two cents: This device has made working remotely seamless and breezy. Read More »


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