Tuesday Tech Tips

Today’s discussion:  Saving money, while going mobile!

Back in 1994, I made a plan to upgrade the computer network and computers at the desks in a 360 person software support organization.  We had 14 project managers, and several department heads that regularly traveled to conduct our business, to include holding technical and financial discussions of all sorts.  Part of the plan I came up with was to make life much easier for all involved in the mobile life style.

One option, and the one most people considered at the time, was to get them all a laptop computer, and to also make sure their desktop computer was upgraded.  Certainly, that would work at one level, but it had the potential for not being very effective from the work stand point.  The key issue was:  When you left the office, did you have your files with you?  It’s nice to have the laptop, but not very smart if you got to Washington DC and all the inportant fiels were on your desktop in Virginia Beach.

Here was the solution, which I submit for your consideration:  For each significant traveler, buy a good laptop, a good 17″ (that was large back then) monitor, a full sized keyboard and a mouse.  What this allowed the project managers and I to do was to work in our offices using the laptop as the CPU unit, while we had the comfort of the regular keyboard, mouse and monitor.  When we had to take our work on the road, it was a matter of unplugging the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse and the network cable.

The net result:  We always had our work files with us, and we saved the taxpayer the cost of purchasing a desktop, too.  Spread across 23 people and with the CPUs costing about $1200, if I remember correctly, it was significant savings.

I mention this because many people I work with don’t really need two computers to be effective.  The objection raised is the need to be able to feel comfortable while sitting at home/in the office doing large jobs, which, if you have purchased the large monitor, the keyboard and mouse, is addressed up front.  The added benefit is you always have your files with you, and will not need to pay for a remote access software package to compensate for the days you forgot to transfer them before you headed out for an appointment.

However, this isn’t a viable option if the office in the home has a “shared” asset, meaning others will come in and need to use the system while you are out.  If this is the case, then you will need a good management system, done in your head, to make sure you don’t leave the very files behid you will need at the meeting/client site.

My recommendation: Ditch the desktop when you are next able to, and transition to a “desktop replacement” capable laptop, supplemented by a good keyboard, mouse and monitor on the working desk in the office.

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