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.
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.
August 9th, 2009 No Comments »
When Paul Holstein heads to Europe for summer holidays, he’s packed and ready for business.
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.
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 »
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.”
- 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 »
August 1st, 2009 No Comments »
To meteorologists and remote workers alike, The Cloud is a beautiful thing.
One makes his living off cloud formations. The other has discovered a mobility, flexibility and an untethered experience working in the cloud. These include teleworkers, telecommuters, road warriors and others released from place-based work.
For those not clear, the “cloud” — according to Wikipedia — “is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the cloud that supports them.” In other words, all your applications — and even your documents, if you want — are stored and hosted via a computer with an Internet connection and a Web browser.
So with a laptop or netbook, and our Mifi broadband Internet personal hotspot, I have worked - literally - from anywhere. Or as techies call it, Out There. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve also used some apps that I’ve downloaded to my laptop. But they’re free, and more useful and utility-driven than those that come for free with Windows.
Among the applications I’ve used most have been: Read More »
July 30th, 2009 No Comments »
More tweets from Home Office Highway (@homeofficehiway). And with Tweetlater, I was able to dual post to @chiefhomeoffice . Social Media tools helped spread the word…
22. Midnight in the RV. Campfire’s burned to embers. Robbie & Stella sleep. Zack reads. I write. Mifi & laptop = productive time
23. Workation, staycation, camputing. Is Home Office Highway is part of a larger trend? From the Detroit Free Press http://snipr.com/nv31b
24. The greatest challenge for HOH ‘09 is finding productive time to work. AM, Stella’s active. PM, I’m spent. Daytime, outdoors beckon.
25. Financial Times needs an pic of my home office. Good news: Even from Georgia, I can see all my pix w/Carbonite. Bad news: No recent pix
26. More on scale: Mobile Workmate is my mobile ‘home office’ (PC, tech, supplies, etc.), messenger bag for day trips, shoulder bag for netbook
27. Hikes beget scale. To walk w/ netbook in tow, my Be.ez messenger bag is a tad large. Next time, my cloth shoulder bag (a la Jack Bauer) Read More »
July 26th, 2009 No Comments »
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 »
July 24th, 2009 No Comments »
Four days into Home Office Highway ‘09 and we’ve seen a great deal of Florida and Georgia.
We’ve traveled about 10% of the trip on country backroads, so we’ve seen more of Real America than we have in the past.
A sampling of snapshots from the trip thus far: Upper left (and me in hat), tubing down the Itchetucknee River in North Central Florida; top center and right, Stella enjoying my harmonica playing, then asleep on her perch: My Foray Mobile Workmate; lower right, Robbie sending a Bunk Note to Zoe on the MSI netbook; lower left, the campsite home office: the netbook, Verizon Gz’One Boulder, and a cup of coffee.
These are the images memories are made from…
July 22nd, 2009 No Comments »
Home Office Highway: What’s it all about…?
It’s about the tools: Here we have the MSI U123 netbook, along with the Targus wireless mouse (part of its Netbook Accessories Kit), the Be.ez LA besace 15 Limedrop messenger bag and matching LArobe Netbook sleeve,and the new BlackBerry Tour smartphone from Verizon Wireless.
With each passing year, we discover we can do more with less. The key is to test, demo or try different tools, and winnow out those that don’t work — and those that add real value to the road working experience.
Our take: A good phone, wireless Internet, a powerful and small PC, a few accessories, and a place for your stuff, define the remote work experience.
To cite Henry David Thoreau: Simplify. Simplify.
July 7th, 2009 No Comments »
‘Home Office Highway’ RV Road Show Reveals Latest Digital Lifestyle, ‘Location Independence’ Technology
Coral Springs, FL (July 8, 2009) – Want to hit the road – but don’t think you can leave the job behind? Then take it along for the ride.
This summer, the “anywhere” office comes to life as Home Office Highway ’09 reveals the technology, tools and strategies that make taking a vacation a guilt-free and productive adventure.
The two-week road show and social media event will bring “location independence” to the open road in a recreational vehicle equipped with the latest small office technology. Hosted and produced by technology, telework and home office columnist expert Jeff Zbar, the tour will take his family throughout the American South, visiting small towns and popular tourist destinations – and revealing just how productive a traveling family can be. Read More »