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 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.


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 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 Surfing in a ‘Personal Hotspot’

technology, The Road Warrior
July 21st, 2009 No Comments »
Night surfing with the Verizon MiFi and the MSI U123 netbook.

Night surfing with the Verizon MiFi and the MSI U123 netbook.

Years ago, surfing in public meant first paying $15 an hour for a user ID and password hand-written on a scrap of paper so you could log on to some cyber cafe’s network.

Now, it’s as easy as hitting the MiFi, powering up the netbook — and in less than a minute, you’re up.

This year’s home office highway is shaping up as an exercise in simplified surfing. Last year, setting up a network meant powering up and wiring in a router the size of a cigar box. This year’s “access point” is a business card-sized device that enables five Internet devices — netbooks, laptops, MP3 players, an iTouch — to log on simultaneously. Read More »

Home Office & Small Businesses Mixed on Hittin’ the Road

The Road Warrior
May 27th, 2009 No Comments »

Hittin’ the road? Many home-based entrepreneurs and small business owners aren’t so sure.

Despite continued economic challenges, the percentage of small business owners planning a summer vacation of at least a week remains similar to last year (56% this year, vs. 59% in 2008), notes the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of business owners.

Then again, some entrepreneurs are showing signs that they’ve had enough of the dour predictions and office: Fewer business owners are feeling guilty about taking time off compared to last year (22% vs. 28% in 2008).

What’s most striking about their vacation plans compared to last year is the fact that more business owners are opting to take a less expensive vacation in today’s uncertain economy (32% vs. 20% in 2008). Four of 10 business owners will not take a vacation at all because they can’t afford it.

(The American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, released each spring and fall, is based on a nationally representative sample of 727 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. The anonymous survey was conducted via telephone by Echo Research from February 24- March 9, 2009. The poll has a margin of error of +3.6%).

Cable Stable Nixes Tech Clutter for Home Officers & Teleworkers

Product Review
December 8th, 2008 No Comments »

The Skooba Design Deluxe Cable Stable - a killer app for organized cables.As an occasional road warrior and home office worker who often has to travel — but not SO often that I’m damn good at it, I’ve lamented in the past about where to put my stuff.

Cables, power bricks, batteries, chargers and the like often just get dumped in the bottom of my laptop case — much to my own chagrin when I actually need to go hunting for that ONE adapter, cable or device that I need NOW.

I’ve been like The Seeker from The Who, searching for the The Answer low and high. I’m apparently not alone: Teleworkers and road warriors have the same issues. And my wife returned from a nurse practitioner’s convention recently with a media case that included retractable Ethernet, USB and ear-bud cables, along with a flash drive and a mini-USB hub. Very cool, though I have no idea what Pulmicort Respules (budesonide inhalation suspension) is…

I think I’ve finally found it in the Skooba Design’s Deluxe Cable Stable. Read More »

BackTrack My Way to the Home Office – or RV – Again

Product Review, technology
November 11th, 2008 No Comments »

This past summer, as my family camped outside Concord, Mass., as part of my home office adventure called Home Office,  I sauntered into a great wood. I was seeking the spirit of Henry David Thoreau. I was looking for peace and solitude among the evergreens and the crickets.

And I became lost.

I’d ventured off the beaten path onto a road less traveled. And for good reason. As dusk grew dark, it gets freakin’ scary in deep woods unknown. And that’s exactly where I found myself — without a Bushnell BackTrack personal GPS nativation system, locator and compass ($73). Read More »

Road Warrior’s Home Office Laptop Portability: Flying Through Airport Security

Product Review, Product Reviews, technology, The Road Warrior
November 10th, 2008 No Comments »

Are you Steve?

Laptops and air travel seemingly go together like booze and car keys. Both get you stopped by authorities, but only one gets the nod once opened (that is, once the laptop is exposed for TSA’s trained eyes, you’re [usually] free to proceed]).

Laptop carry case companies have struggled to create TSA-approved cases that will speed the security process without forcing the laptop-carrying public from pulling out the hardware.

Belkin and Skooba seemingly have succeeded. The humorous graphic above was created to support the Skooba Checkthrough checkpoint friendly laptop bag ($139). The bag looks and functions like a high-end business case, but is designed and rigorously tested to be “checkpoint-friendly,” so you can run it through airport x-ray screening without removing your computer. Read More »

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