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The right technology: seven steps to home office success

07 March 2011

1. Choose Personal Computer mobility

Start with quality and invest in the best products and technology you can find. They will give you support when you want it and won't need to be replaced until you are ready to do so.

Your PC is your biggest investment, so a laptop is ideal due to its mobility to go with you to meetings and presentations. Look for a model with an Intel® Centrino® Processor, ideally with 2.2Ghz, 2MB Cache and an LCD screen of around 16-20 inches. It should weigh less than three kilograms. Estimate cost:$1,999

2. A better mouse

An optical or laser mouse will work beautifully on most surfaces and make you feel more comfortable and professional. You can even ditch the nasty mouse pad. Some mice are made with comfortable ergonomic designs, making them very pleasant to use for long periods of time. Wireless mice (whether Bluetooth or RF) are great for keeping desks clean and tidy. Estimate cost: $60

2. Printers have it all

A multi-function printer is essential, as this will copy, scan, print and fax. Many are compact and designed for small offices with limited space. A model with direct USB interface means you don't need your computer to print or scan a document. Estimate cost: $100

3. Make it snappy

A compact digital camera will enable you to take photographs to post on your website, and record images for clients and your own business activities. You need six to10 megapixels, around 3x zoom and most cameras have appropriate camera settings such as Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro and Night Portrait. Face Detection Technology is also a good feature as it can recognize human faces in a picture and adjust the focus. Estimate cost: $300

4. Desktop security

A shredder not only provides security, but helps with paper removal in small spaces. A USB desktop shredder shreds A6 size documents so you fold an A4 piece in half for office paper shredding without leaving your desk. Estimate cost: $30

6. Phone it in

A smart phone will save you time and effort as you will be able to email on the go and browse the Internet. Latest models have Google applications along with multiple email capabilities, digital compass, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Using specific carriers you can also access updates-over-the-air, and upload to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Estimate: $300

7. Store it or lose it

An external hard drive will enable you to keep the data on your computer backed up safely. If you have lots of data to protect (images, spreadsheets, business plans, computer code, emails, etc.), you'll need a very reliable external hard drive. Always buy a hard drive that can hold more data than you think you'll need. Drives come with 200% more storage room for only 10% to 20% higher prices than base models. Estimate Cost: $200

Claire Moffat is the CEO of Connected Media, Australia's leading online news service for the consumer electronics industry. Connected Media's consumer website www.connectedwomen.net.au updates women daily on the latest technology, tips and trends in consumer electronics and guides them through the best purchases to make for themselves, their families and businesses.

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