The Importance Of Having A Wireless Network

Having a wireless network opens up many possibilities.

Wireless networks provide an inexpensive and easy way to share a single Internet connection among several computers. This means you only need one modem, and you can add additional computers to the network just by plugging in a wireless card and turning them on. The new machines are connected to the Internet immediately.

A wireless network also lets you access files and printers from anywhere in your home. It allows you to synchronize files you have on your laptop with your home computer, and you can easily send files between computers as well. Using a wireless network to transfer files is faster than sending them via e-mail or burning them to a CD! Because printers connected to one of the computers on a network are shared by all the computers on that network, you can write documents anywhere in your home, press the 'print' button, and collect the printed files from a printer that is connected to another computer.

If you are a game player, you've probably noticed that your games often have an option to play over a local area network or LAN. Wireless networks are LANs! This means you and your family can play these games together and don't have to be on computers that are next to each other to do so. Let's face it - it's more fun to play against real people, and it's even more fun to play against people you know instead of strangers on the Internet. Your games will also play much faster over your LAN. Additionally, you can connect game consoles to the Internet and begin playing these games online. It is much easier to experience online play through an Xbox or PlayStation 2 that is connected to a wireless network than have to use a modem!

Wireless network connections are always on. This means you can connect to the Internet whenever you want without waiting for your modem to dial in. Laptops can be carried from room to room, and they will always have access to the Internet. Since wireless networks operate without the need to log in, you don't need to set up usernames or passwords.

The single greatest thing about a wireless network is that it is, well, wireless! The biggest reason to have a wireless network is because it eliminates the need for costly, ugly, and dangerous wires trailing all over your house. You can use your computer in any room you want - no more being trapped near a phone outlet or walking over that tangle of wires in your home. The cost of getting enough Ethernet cables can add up, and sometimes, you may even have to make holes in your walls to set up a wired network. If you're renting, of course, this is impossible. With a wireless network, you don't have these problems - you can even use your computer outside if you want! And if you move, there is no need to disconnect and pack up all those wires, and you no longer have to examine all the wires for damage whenever your Internet connection goes down.

You can see how having a wireless network can simplify your life.

Educators Guide to Planning a Wireless Network - Part 1



There are many things to think about when planning a wireless network for a school environment. Your wireless network must be secure, must be able to handle teachers and staff work loads, and finally provide wireless access for mobile laptop labs for students. Combining all the above could be seem very difficult considering most schools will have about 100 staff members and over 500 students.

The first stage of planning your network is to discuss with staff what a wireless network will and won't do. Find out exactly the areas where the staff will and won't need wireless access. Will the staff or students need access in the gym area? Will the students need wireless access outdoors? How many wireless laptops will be accessing the network? What applications do the staff intend to use while using the wireless network? What applications will the students be using on the wireless network? Keep asking questions until you feel everyone understands the capabilities of a wireless network. If you fail to ask many questions it could cost your district a lot of time and money on something that doesn't fill the schools needs.

Wireless networks in schools will usually have to support the following missions. A common need is to provide access for mobile laptops labs for students. Students use the labs to surf the internet, access network servers and perform research. Your network will need to support over twenty students accessing your wireless network in one area at the same time.

Mission two,, outdoor wireless access. This can provide a great learning opportunity for students to take technology out of the class room and perform science experiments via wireless computers. Great for students, but a large potential headache to secure an outdoors wireless network.

Mission three, provide teachers and staff members wireless network access to move through out the schools with out having to reconfigure their laptop every time they switch rooms. Seamless wireless access is a must for educators who are usually strapped for time and have little technology training. Your network needs to flexible enough to handle staff training sessions and conference rooms.

Mission four, Security. Providing wireless access for schools is one thing, providing secure wireless access in a school environment can be very difficult. Security in schools is often the last concern so when planning for your network explain all the wireless security threats to your planning committee so they know you just can't throw wireless access points around the network and expect things to go well. Students are very smart and often more computer savvy then teachers so if you have an open wireless network it will be exploited with in the first day.

Once you have performed your recon and asked every question you can think of, it's now time to think about what hardware for your wireless network. In the next installment of this series we will talk about wireless adapters, wireless access points, different vendors and how to start your purchasing.

Personal Wireless Networking

If you've got a wireless network for your computers already, well, you might get a bit excited about what I'm going to say next. How would you feel if your PDA, your mobile phone, your mp3 player and almost everything else you connect to your computer could be wireless too? You'd like that? Well, it's already a reality and has been for some time now.

Bluetooth is wireless and automatic, and has a number of interesting features that can simplify our daily lives. Bluetooth is a standard developed by a group of electronics manufacturers that allows any sort of electronic equipment -- from computers and cell phones to keyboards and headphones -- to make its own connections, without wires, cables or any direct action from a user. Read on...

Personal Area Network.

Using wireless networking with your personal gadgets is often called PAN, which stands for Personal Area Network. The idea is that, in the future, we'll all have laptop computers with their batteries charged and no more need to connect any wires to them at all -- you just place your Bluetooth device near the computer, and the computer sees it and can use it straightaway.

Bluetooth has been around and in-use since 1999, and it's only getting more popular. It was designed to be secure, low cost, and easy to use from day one.

There are two classes of Bluetooth that are in popular use: class 1 and class 2. Class 2 is the most common and cheaper standard, allowing you to use a device that is up to 10 metres (32 feet) away. Class 1 is rarer, but you can still find devices that use it easily enough, and it has ten times the range: 100 metres or 320 feet.

How Does It Work?

Bluetooth is more flexible than 802.11 wireless networking, in exchange for the shorter range. Essentially, a Bluetooth-enabled computer has one Bluetooth receiver installed in it, and this receiver can then be used with up to 7 nearby Bluetooth devices. On the other end, wireless devices do not need to have Bluetooth installed if they support it -- it is already integrated.

Like 802.11, Bluetooth works by using radio signals to create bandwidth. It is not, though, the same thing as an old-style wireless mouse or keyboard, which required a receiver to be plugged into one of your computers' ports, and didn't have range or stability anywhere near that of Bluetooth.

Many computers now come with built in Bluetooth, especially Apple Macs. If you want to add Bluetooth to a computer that doesn't come with it pre-installed, you should probably use a USB to Bluetooth adapter, although internal Bluetooth devices to install in your computer are available. If you have a laptop and a spare PCMCIA slot, you can get Bluetooth cards for that too.

What Can You Do With Bluetooth?

Mobile phones with Bluetooth are very popular, and so are PDAs -- the instant synchronisation of addresses and calendars to a computer is a useful feature. Other than that, almost anything that would usually use USB can be done using Bluetooth, including digital cameras, mp3 players, printers, and even mice and keyboards. If you take a look through the comprehensive list of Bluetooth 'profiles' (kinds of devices that could, in theory, be Bluetooth enabled), it includes cordless phones, faxes, headsets, and even video.

Basically, more than anything, Bluetooth is a replacement for USB: some say that while 802.11 wireless networking is wireless Ethernet, Bluetooth is wireless USB.

Not Just for Computers.

Part of the power of Bluetooth is that it isn't just used to connect things to computers -- it can be used to connect almost anything to anything else, if both things are Bluetooth-enabled and recognise each other.

Mobile phones, in particular, take advantage of this. Hands-free headsets often use Bluetooth to communicate with the phone. Some cars, for example, now have on-board computers that will connect with a Bluetooth phone and allow you to make hands-free calls, regardless of where the phone is in the car (even if you've left it in your bag in the trunk!)

On top of that, of course, Bluetooth devices can communicate with each other. This has led to some people sending messages from their Bluetooth PDAs to others in close range -- not an especially useful feature, but quite fun. This is called 'bluejacking', and the first recorded instance of it was a man who sent a Bluetooth message to another man's Nokia phone while they were in a bank together. What did the message say? 'Buy Ericsson'.

Since then, it has become possible to send images by bluejacking, and it is widely believed to be the newest advertising medium -- yes, it lets billboards send messages to your phone, a practice known as 'bluecasting'. Whether you think that's cool or annoying, of course, is your choice.

Verizon Wireless' New MiFi Mobile Hotspot Vs External USB and PC Card Broadband Devices

The newest device to enter the market looking for a portion of your broadband-bucks is the MiFi (pronounced "my-fye") Intelligent Mobile Hotspot from Verizon Wireless. Priced at around $99 (with new 2-year contract), the MiFi is pricey, but within reach for those looking to expand their mobile broadband network.

The MiFi's main difference from traditional external USB and Broadband devices is that it has dual abilities, half modem and half wireless router. After activation the MiFi 2200 will work as a modem when it's connected to a computer, or a router when disconnected. In modem mode it provides an Internet connection to only the computer to which it is physically connected.

In router mode, however, the MiFi connects to the Internet and shares that connection wirelessly with up to five other Wi-Fi enabled devices. This mode works just like any other Wi-Fi hotspot allowing wireless devices to pick up its signal automatically. A very cool feature to have, now that so many devices around the house are wi-fi compatible. Connect your laptop, along with your iPod Touch, Nintendo Wii, TiVo, and have another wireless slot still available for a friend.

Just slightly larger than five credit cards stacked together, the Verizon Wireless MiFi is small and attractive. You can easily keep it in your pocket of purse, which makes this great for grab-n-go with your kids. Imagine a family road trip where your teenage kids are using their Internet, iPod, and you can keep up travel advisories and weather along the way. All simultaneously, and all based on the one single device-your MiFi.

Data plans are different than the standard mobile broadband plans, so make sure you know what you're getting. The most notable difference is that there is not option for unlimited date transfer. Currently, Verizon is offering two plans: either $40 for 250MB a month or $60 for 5GB month, (overage charges are 5 cents and 10 cents per MB for the $60 and $40 plans, respectively).

The bottom line is that if you're looking for cell-based mobile Internet, the MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot from Verizon Wireless is a great option to consider.

Is Android Google's First Step Towards Monopolizing the Mobile Market?

Google appears to dominate every market in which they step foot. For this reason, many believe that Android is the company's first step towards monopolizing the mobile market. And it might be. To really understand the importance of Android to Google, however, you need to determine what mobile market they wish to monopolize. Also, a quick look at the history of Google's moves into various open source projects will shed some light on whether Android is truly its first step towards monopolizing the mobile market.

Traditionally, Google has been a strong supporter of open standards and open source software. The company has used open source code as the base for a number of projects such as the Chrome browser. These projects are important to Google because their open nature ensures that users will be able to access the search giant's content and applications. Google's revenue is largely based on the ads in its various applications. Google depends on people using the search and Google applications to earn money. Android is a clever way for the company to ensure that users continue to use Google products as computing moves to mobile devices. Is this a first step to monopolizing the mobile market? It could be interpreted that way but it seems that Android is definitely Google's first step towards ensuring that it continues to be relevant and earn revenue as computing becomes mobile.

Google has a number of applications that are ad supported such as Gmail. Android is a good way for Google to ensure that their applications will work or be integrated into mobile devices. It would be natural for Google to be concerned that competing applications like Apple's MobileMe would be bundled into the mobile platforms from those companies. Android allows Google to bundle its applications with a mobile device which ensures greater uptake by end users. In this respect, it certainly appears as though Android is the first step to Google's monopolizing the mobile market. By providing an open platform that any hardware manufacturer or carrier can use, the company makes certain that theirs will be numerous devices with Google applications already built in.

Is Android a bid in monopolizing the mobile market for wireless service or is it really a ploy to enter the hardware market? It seems unlikely that Google has much interest in owning market share for wireless services or hardware. In the past, Google participated in wireless spectrum auctions. They got rules adopted that required openness if the bids reached a certain level. Google then bid them to that level and then stopped. That seems to indicate that Google had no real interest in becoming a wireless carrier themselves. In the hardware arena, Google recently introduced the Nexus One phone which is based on Android. However, most indicators are that Google's entry into the hardware arena was intended more to demonstrate to other hardware makers what was possible with Android. Again, the Nexus One is an open system which will allow users to select their carrier of choice. These moves suggest that Android is not Google's first step to monopolizing the mobile market for hardware or wireless.

Google has enjoyed a strong market share of content advertising and search marketing for a long time. However, changes in computing have threatened Google's supremacy. Android is Google's first step to maintaining their market share in the mobile market. Google's recent moves in hardware and in bidding for wireless spectrum strongly suggest that Android is not their first step into monopolizing the mobile market in hardware or wireless. However, Google's business model does require that they continue to gain strong adoption of their search engine and applications. In this regard, Android is definitely a first step of Google's monopolization of the mobile market for advertising and content.

Electronics Gadgets Developments: Can 4G Transform The Shape Of Worldwide Mobile Computing?

Technology seems to be developing faster than ever these days, especially when it comes to wireless technology and broadband networks. 3G has only just been rolled out through much of the developed world and there is already talk of the LTE or Long Term Evolution protocol, better recognized as broadband.

However, this is happening despite the fact that current 3G or third generation wireless technologies have only penetrated only 14 percent of the world's 5.12 Billion mobile phone subscribers. The quantity of 3G subscribers is growing a little over 50 million a month as of September of 2010, much of which are attributed to the deployment of 3G in newer markets such as China, India and Brazil.

Snowballing demand for faster upload and download speeds and larger bandwidth capacities are probably behind this push that could change the manner we perceive technology forever.

The War Between The Standards

The evolution of mobile phone standards is categorized based on the download and upload rates for data transfer. The present technology in wide distribution right now is 3G which is short for the third generation of wireless communication technologies. 3G provides quicker transfer rates not only for voice signals but also for non-voice data allowing multimedia applications such as video telephony to be used more realistically.

But once 3G technologies are rolled out, new releases in the technology followed suit including HSDPA or High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or what is also known as 3GPP release 5 and HSUPA or 3GPP release 6. In due course, these protocols are also being upgraded to HSPA or High Speed Packet Access. HSPA can be used for most GSM frequencies giving users more flexibility and universal roving capabilities.

The world has just begun to see the wonders HSPA is bringing and here comes another upgrade in the form of LTE or Long Term Evolution. With another technology called WiMax, LTE is considered the 4G or fourth generation of wireless technologies. It's architecture is focused on Internet Protocol (IP) and is designed to facilitate easier Internet access through cellular phones and alternative mobile devices.

TeliaSonera was the first to make LTE available to the public in Stockholm and Oslo but prior to that the European Commission made announcements that it will induct much in the investigation and development of LTE and 4G systems. The United States plans to follow suit with MetroPCS, Verizon and AT&T made similar pronouncements to convert their networks to 4G.

Now, there is still a scarcity of LTE-enabled devices but among these include tablet PCs and other portable computers. These tablets and netbooks have dual mode capabilities and can run on both HSPA and LTE networks. As more and more networks continue to shift towards these new 4G technologies, it would be a wise decision for you as a reseller to focus your investments towards devices designed with these technologies in mind.

Enter the Tablet

One device that you should set your eyes on as an online reseller is the tablet personal computer. A portable computer with a touchscreen as its main input device, tablets provide the mobility of mobile phones and the power of laptops in one stylish device. It is different from a personal computer in the implication that it has no tangible keyboard but uses an onscreen virtual alternative. Tablets also use low-powered hardware components and are not designed for use with demanding power applications.

Unlike smartphones, tablet PCs are also not mobile phones although they are designed for Internet and local network connection. Tablets have built in Wi-Fi capabilities as well as 3G / 4G connectivity. This enables the tablet to connect to the internet through any hotspot or if this is not to be had can connect through the mobile 3G/4G network at extra costs. Tablets are preferred by people who want to access the Internet on the go but are not content with the small screen and contained capabilities of smartphones.

Nevertheless, later and newer models of tablets will be designed as a complete communications solution and will have the same functionality and features as mobile phone handsets using interchangeable 3G or 4G connectivity capabilities. More and more people are into online streaming video even while on the go and tablets using the faster LTE network would be the perfect device to provide them with such capabilities - as well as make phone calls.

Right now the tablet trade is occupied by a few original equipment manufacturers such as the Apple iPad and Samsung's Galaxy tablet. People who are looking for alternative devices from China might find a wind variety of products available such the APads or ePads or similar variations using Google's Android system.

There might still be some problems with 3G or 4G connectivity with these Chinese products as these standards are just beginning to take off in new markets such as China and India. As a reseller, you should be well vigilant of this existing limitation and should carefully ask about the 3G or 4G capabilities of these devices particularly with regards to their operating frequencies. However, with the rate of development China-made products are being churned out, it would just be a matter of months before full pledged 3G and 4G tablets with the same functionality and features as branded ones will be made available in the market.

How To Choose Mobile Email Solution For Your Organisation

The workforce mobility is steadily increasing every year. There are approximately more than Billion mobile workers in the world today. If IT applications do not go mobile along with the employees, their productivity level and value decreases significantly. The immediate need of these mobile professionals is for remote access to their email in order to successfully transact business outside traditional work places at all times.

As mobile ways of working become indispensable, it is imperative for working professionals to move out of their organization to realize the significant business benefits. Whether the top management or the decision makers of an organization realize it or not, the majority of their mobile workforce has an inherent requirement for wireless access to e-mail.

If wireless e-mail is such a priority for enterprises, then the question arises

"What is preventing deployment?"

These days various wireless e-mail solutions and client models are available in the market. The enterprises (large or SME's) are still evaluating the right
configuration for their deployment. Most wireless e-mail solutions fall into three categories like Desk Top Client Solutions, Behind the Firewall Server Deployments and Carrier Hosted Solutions.

There are various factors which determine wireless email deployment in an Organization, the foremost being Total Cost of ownership, Mobile Workforce of Organization, security issues, support for wide array of devices and network compatibility.

Many organizations consider those email solutions for deployment that are cost effective and require minimal expenditure. The Basic Components of a wireless email total cost of ownership includes the software cost, service cost, device cost and the support & maintenance cost.

In many cases the organizations are not ready to make such huge investments in the IT department in terms of enterprise server, buying & providing suitable high end devices to all its employees, paying monthly subscription charges to mobile service providers and full time support and maintenance from IT department to keep the entire set up running.

Secondly while talking about the mobile workforce, there are two types of mobile professionals in an organization. On one hand we have the Top management or the senior most executives and on the other hand we have the other set of employees like the sales executives, site engineers, etc who need timely access to information while they are on the move. Many times the company provides for a mobile email solution for its high level employees only, by giving them laptops or high end mobile phones like PDA's, Smart phones, etc. The decision makers realize the fact that other set of employees also have an inherent need to remote access to their emails in order to remain connected with their resources but again the question of making such a huge investment stops them from deployment .

Small and medium enterprises that have a smaller number of remote or mobile employees can avail on move services offered by mobile carriers but then the monthly service charges applicable per person might not be feasible for the company.

Then there are certain email clients/applications which work only on limited Smart Phones & PDA's and are targeted at individuals, hence are not worth so much investment.

Wireless email solutions are also available at monthly subscription which is a cost effective option for enterprises or individuals as compared to enterprise applications but security of data is the major constraint as the server access remains with the third party putting a constraint on the security of company's confidential information.

These days' different kinds of wireless email clients and solutions are available so the Enterprises must evaluate the benefits and potential drawbacks of each configuration and then select a vendor based solution or client on the basis of its ability to deliver the chosen service/solution.

Although issues such as cost and security are some of the top barriers to wireless access to data, several other issues are making enterprises hesitant to adopt wireless email solutions. So I suggest that an enterprise should go in for such a mobile email deployment that is cost-effective, secured, implemented with minimal development & integration, easy for IT department to manage; provide support for a wide array of devices; and works well on today's limited-bandwidth wireless networks.

Uses of Computer Networks

Computer Networks are everywhere. From the distributed systems to the middle ware and to the world wide web, computer networking has proved to be improving in techniques to reach remote areas and applications to serve the purpose.

  1. Business Applications: Resource sharing is one of the most popular use of computer networks in the business applications. For Instance, a printer is shared in a network and hence saves a lot of investment in hardware. The computers connected in a network can make use of the printer in the network instead of having separate printers for every computer. Scanners, Cd burners, Fax machines are few other resources which can be shared in a network. Email facility with the help of Outlook application has enabled communication among the members of the company in sending reports and analyzing data. There would be a server handling the requests of all the computers connected in the network. Clients pass the request and the server works on the request by giving the reply.
  2. Home Networking: Computers are now a days used just for person to person communication with the help of Internet. Internet can be used to have remote access to the information, person - person communication as discussed earlier electronic commerce, Interactive entertainments like games. Interactive entertainments such as XBOX gaming online and online tutorials which used flash for interactive environment. Now a days, people are buying a computer just for the sake of checking their email which enables person to person contact. With the help of VPN ( Virtual Private Network) one can work and access of office data right from home. In peer -peer systems there is no client system. Every computer in a network is connected to every other computer through wire.
  3. Mobile Users: With the advent of technology in improving protocols for better communication, WAP (Wireless Access Protocol is now being increasingly used to communicate in a network. There are two forms of wireless: Fixed Wireless and Mobile Wireless. Desktop computers in an office are neither fixed nor mobile wireless. A notebook computer used in a Hotel room with the help of Ethernet cable is an example of mobile wireless and not of fixed wireless. Networks in old unwired building is an example of typical fixed wireless and not of mobile wireless. Portable office or PDA for store inventory is a perfect example for fixed as well as mobile wireless technology being used. M-commerce is using mobile device for paying cash using credit cards and act as an electronic wallet.

Maybe You Already Have Wireless and Don't Know It?

More and more laptops and desktop computers are coming pre-equipped with wireless networking devices -- it's so cheap that they might as well put it in, to have another thing to list in the system specifications. It is easy to tell if a desktop computer has wireless enabled. Have a look at the rear panel for a small antenna. If its there then you have wireless. Laptops a much more difficult to diagnose.

If you're anything like me, though, you probably don't even know how much memory your computers have, never mind whether any of them came wireless-enabled. When you don't know what wireless networking is, it's easy to ignore it in a computer's specifications, and never take the time to set it up and get it working. Here are some things to look for if you want to check your computer's wireless capabilities.

Intel Centrino

If your laptop came with something called 'Intel Centrino mobile technology', then it's good news for you! Computer manufacturers seem a little bad at explaining what this technology is or does, but it basically means that your laptop has wireless networking built right in, without you needing to do a thing. It is a marketing name for a combination of the Intel Pentium M processor and Intel's Pro/Wireless card.

Your computer should have a 'Centrino' sticker on it somewhere if it is Centrino enabled. If you think you might have taken the sticker off, you can check the name of your processor by right clicking the My Computer icon on your desktop (or in the Start Menu) and choosing Properties from the menu that appears. Take a look at what it says after the word 'Computer' on this screen.

If you're interested, Centrino technology also increases battery life and allows computers to be smaller. Don't worry, though, if you didn't buy a Centrino laptop -- as long as your laptop has a free card slot, installing wireless on it will be no trouble.

Desktop Computers

If you're not sure whether your desktop computer has a wireless connection, the easiest thing to do is to turn it around and look at it. If a wireless connection is present, you should usually be able to see a small aerial sticking out of the back of the computer, towards the bottom.

If there's nothing there, then it's still possible that you have a wireless device in the computer, especially if you bought it recently and you think you do. It's not a good idea to try to open up your computer just to check something, though, so you should probably try and figure it out using Windows.

Checking in Windows

Instead of fiddling around with your computer hardware to see what you've got, you can check easily enough using Windows' Device Manager. To use it, right click My Computer, and choose Manage from that menu. Now click Device Manager.

You should see a list of all the different kinds of things you can install on your computer. Take a look under 'Network adapters'. Ignore anything that says '10/100' or 'Ethernet' -- they're normal network connections, but not wireless ones. If there's anything else there, it could be a wireless device.

If you think you have a wireless device, but it has a yellow warning sign next to its name in the Device Manager, you should take a look at it to see what's wrong by double clicking its name. Windows should tell you why the device is not working at the moment, and may suggest that you go through its troubleshooter program. Do that before you do anything else.

If it turns out to be a driver problem, you should insert the drivers CD that came with your computer. Of course, as is always the way, you probably won't be able to find that CD -- but don't worry, you should be able to find drivers online. First, you should look on the website of the computer's manufacturer, and then you should try searching for the name that the wireless device had in Device Manager.

Of course, you might find after all this that you don't have a wireless device after all. Hard luck. It's better to figure that out now than to buy wireless equipment and then realise you had some already, though, isn't it? Of course, even if you did find a wireless device in one of your computers, you probably still need more. Don't worry either way -- they're getting cheaper all the time!

Using Wi-Fi and a Netbook to Do Mobile Computing in the Comfort of the Coffee Shop

Computers are becoming more and more portable these days. As they become smaller and smaller and more places provide free Wi-Fi, they become a handy tool to carry around. These computers are available in both PC and Mac format. Just about every computer user has a preference for one but not both. Discussions are often heated. When a PC breaks down, you need to find a PC repair place. When a Mac is not working correctly, you need to find a MacBook repair place or a MacBook screen repair place. But all of these computers are remarkably reliable and do not need repair very often.

To get a good idea of how you can best make use of your Netbook computer, we will look at one man, whom we will call Martin. If you were to see Martin on the street, you would not pick him out as a power user, but he is just that. Starbucks is his favorite place to do him mobile computing. He just opens his Netbook at his table and lets it find the wireless signal. His favorite type of web site is the news site or blog. He has a number of these sites set up for RSS feeds ("really simple syndication.") These give him notification of the latest news tidbits in summarized form, saving him time he used to spend surfing for the information.

The next useful tool is Microsoft OneNote. This nifty little program allows you to set up notebooks on your computer like the three-ring notebooks you used in school. In each notebook you can set up any number of subject tabs. Then you can copy information from the web or anywhere else into the notebook. The beauty of this program is that it is easy to sync your documents from all of your computers into one location. As you know, one of the problems of having multiple computers is the problem of keeping your data in sync, and OneNote makes synchronization easy.

Martin has come up with an ingenious way to save the information he finds. The tool needed for this trick is Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have a full copy of Acrobat, you may have another program that allows you to create.pdf files. Remember that Acrobat Reader can be used only for opening.pdf files, not for creating them. When Martin finds a web page that he wants to save, all he does is print it, selecting Adobe PDF as his printer. He can then put the file into the pertinent notebook in OneNote.

With all of these tools at his fingertips, he can sit comfortably at a table in Starbucks, sip his coffee, gather his information, and write his blog. He does not think that anyone ever reads his blog, but it gives him a sense of accomplishment and feeling of satisfaction to get his opinions onto his web site.

So you, too, with a netbook and a few tools, can sit in comfort, commune with friends, and work on the web. If your company allows you to use a remote desktop connection, you can even telecommute from a place of conviviality and comfort.

Over 60 Crowd the Fastest Growing Demographic for Mobile Personal Tech

It is amazing to sit in a Starbucks these days in the city and watch all the older folks running around playing on their smart phones and high-tech tablets. They are acting like kids again - isn't that cool? Sure it is, and they are loving every minute of it, taking with their grandkids through text-messaging, and emailing their friends, golfing buddies, bridge partners, or fellow book club members. Amazing.

The other day I watched an older gentleman reading the newspaper on his all-color Nook E-book Reader, and he was practically giddy explaining all the features to me. Then there was another lady who had some cool looking iPhone Clone texting in her dinner reservations for Ruth's Chris - very cool. Then an acquaintance of mine told me of his father and his new mobile computing and technology gadget;

"My father has undergone the tech-warp, going from a pre-paid wireless to an HTC EVO 4G, I'm actually rather surprised at the fact that he's only managed to crash the thing twice this month since he's owned. Also surprisingly is his current level of sufficiency with the device now..I even catch him behaving quite entrepreneurially's rather satisfying and comforting."

That's totally cool. I was talking with a 70-yr old retired school teacher yesterday over coffee and tea - she has the latest iPhone, a Facebook page, tweets, and is happy as punch, fully engaged, having fun. It's exciting to see her so animated and happy about the personal tech world she's discovered there, it's wonderful to see. Good stuff. And this is just a sample of what's happening out there.

You see, these mobile technology and mobile computing personal tech devices are transcending age groups, barriers, and generations. Please consider all this and think on it - because seriously folks, this is way cool, you must admit.

5 Tips For Buying The Right Laptop Computer

It's easy to be intimidated by all the laptop models on the market today. There are literally dozens and dozens in every price range.

The key to finding the right one for you is to step back and consider exactly how you plan to use your laptop. When you define what you need before you go shopping, buying the right machine becomes much easier.

Here are 5 basic factors to consider:


In the world of mobile computing, size definitely matters. The size of a laptop affects two key areas: portability and display size.

If you're always on the go and will be using your computer only in short bursts, a so-called ultralight will save you some shoulder strain.

On the other hand, if you're going to spend hours in front of your laptop, a larger display may be in order.

Today, some laptop displays exceed 17 inches, rivaling the display size of many desktop systems. The down side is that these monsters can easily weigh three times as much as an ultralight.


Speaking of size, what about the size of the hard drive? One way to approach this issue is to ask yourself the following question:

Will this be my primary computer, or will it supplement my desktop system?

If the former, you should look for a bigger hard drive - 60 GB or more.

If the latter, you may be able to make it with a 20-30 GB hard drive.

But even this isn't absolute.

If, for example, you plan to copy a huge MP3 library from your desktop system to your laptop to make your music library portable, you'd be well advised to err on the side of too big.


In determining the right amount of system memory, or RAM, take a look at the ways in which you intend to use your laptop:

If your needs are somewhat mundane - email, spreadsheets, word processing, etc. - 256 MB of RAM should be plenty. This is a common configuration for many laptops, so it means you probably won't need to spend extra for more RAM.

On the flip side, if you're an aspiring mobile digital photographer or videographer, you should stuff your laptop with as much RAM as it can hold.

In fact, exactly how much RAM your laptop can hold may in part drive your purchase decision. Applications for editing and manipulating multimedia content are notorious resource hogs.


Thanks in no small part to the Internet, computing in the 21st century relies heavily on being connected:

Connected to the Internet, connected to a corporate network, connected to a wireless network, connected to a home network, connected to an online service.

Your life will be easier if you buy a laptop that includes built-in means to connect to them all.


If you're considering a laptop, you're probably wondering how much money you'll need to spend.

A few years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find one for under $2,000. Today, there are plenty of laptops to be had for under $1,000.

What's more, most of the major manufacturers offer a variety of financing options.

Laptop prices have come down, to be sure. However, a laptop still represents a fairly major purchase for most people.

If you take the time to search for a laptop that meets your specific needs, you should get many years of use and enjoyment from this important investment.


You may republish this article, but must keep the resource box and copyright at the end.

HP PDA phones - Unchained Mobile Computing

HP is one of the most recognized brand in the personal computing field. Over the years, the company have successfully made and maintained an enviable reputation in personal computing scene with many leading computers, consumer electronic goods, notebooks, computer peripherals and accessories in its product portfolio. As the world of personal computing rapidly merging with mobile computing, HP's entry to the mobile phones and PDA market was an widely anticipated move.

Palm tops and pocket PCs manufactured by HP are clubbed together as iPAQ series. Each hand-held from this manufacturing giant offers their user a definitive edge over other mobile phones with their enhanced mobile computing skills. All of HP PDA phones features Windows Mobile 5.0 or higher as their operating system, thereby opening up new vistas of opportunity for its user. One could have a better idea of HP PDA phones' capabilities when they compare them to the ones available in stores today.

HP PDA phones' functionality could be assessed by its built quality and its specification. The low budget HP iPAQ rx4240 is a great device for connecting, entertaining and organizing. The handset is fitted with a 400 MHz Samsung processor and works on Windows Mobile 5.0. Endowed with premium features like touch screen, integrated WLAN 802.11b/g and Bluetooth wireless technology, SD slot and one year warranty, the HP iPAQ rx4240 is almost at par with the best of other manufacturers.

Similarly, other handsets like HP iPAQ 510, HP iPAQ hx2495, HP iPAQ hx2795 and HP iPAQ rx5915 exhibits the best of mobile computing. Each handset signifies HP's emergence as a major player in not just PDAs but the whole mobile phone fraternity. Among the most recent offerings of the company, the HP iPAQ hw6945 Mobile messenger deserves a special mention. This powerhouse is equipped with an Intel PXA270 processor (416 MHz) and Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition. From WiFi to Bluetooth, GPS receiver to multi megapixel camera - this HP PDA phone has it all to make it to the top, much like the company itself.

Top 3 Tools For the Mobile Office

As computers get smaller and more portable, and wireless internet becomes more and more ubiquitous, it's getting easier and easier to do you job from almost anywhere. A lot of people are working from home - or anyplace else they want - but to make the most of this setup, there are a few tools you should have. Let's take a look at my top 3.

To do this, you're obviously going to need a portable computer of some type. It's kind of a given, but this is going to be my number one item. And to make the most of your portable computer, whatever form it might take - laptop, netbook, iPad, etc. - you'll want to be sure that it has enough power to meet your needs.

If your job is primarily handled through email and the web, almost any portable machine will work. The iPad is the latest and greatest, but a netbook or practically any notebook computer will work equally well. The key is to get something small enough that it's easy to carry around, without being so small that you can't use it effectively.

The second most important tool in my arsenal is my smartphone. I prefer the iPhone, but there are several very good platforms to choose from. Blackberry makes a number of excellent smartphones, as does HTC and other manufacturers who are using Google's Android operating system.

Windows Mobile - soon to be Windows Phone Edition - is another choice in the market, but the platform has become extremely fragmented and has not really kept up with the rest of the market. When Windows Phone 7 is released, this may change but at this point I would stick with one of the other three.

When choosing your smartphone plan, make sure you get enough data included to fully support your use. And if you can get tethering, you'll be able to use your phone as a wireless data connection for your mobile computer anywhere you can get coverage. This is the one thing I don't like about the iPhone - AT&T currently doesn't support tethering.

The third tool I couldn't work without is some kind of cloud-based storage system. My service of choice is Dropbox, but there are a number of others that work very well also. A cloud storage service lets you store your files on the web and access them from various devices.

You can access your files from any computer with an internet connection - Mac, Windows or even Linux - as well as your smartphone, iPad or almost any web-connected device.

With these three tools, you can be 100% mobile while still fully operational. So when you get the itch to take a spur-of-the-moment trip, you'll be able to be up and running no matter where you happen to be.

Solar Power for Notebook and Laptop Computers

This may seem incredible and impossible to do, but many computer technophiles are going "green" when they travel with a laptop in tow these days. If you are familiar with "extreme" or remote computing this may not seem too far fetched. Let's not forget that many professionals enjoy rugged recreational activities, but just can't always leave the office behind.

The idea of solar power for remote computing is finally catching on. It is working for everyone from the cross-country cyclist and weekend camper, to regular working stiffs that have to rough it on the job.

Solar power is not just a possibility, but could be a necessity for those that go remote. Solar panels are used to collect solar energy for direct use or storage in batteries to power up later.

Here is how solar, or photovoltaic energy is realized from the "How Stuff Works" website. If you are not an electrical engineer or scientist of some sort, don't be surprised if this does make light bulbs go off in your head. You can always come back and do further research on the Internet.

"The solar cells that you see on calculators and satellites are photovoltaic cells or modules (modules are simply a group of cells electrically connected and packaged in one frame). Photovoltaics, as the word implies (photo = light, voltaic = electricity), convert sunlight directly into electricity. Once used almost exclusively in space, photovoltaics are used more and more in less exotic ways. They could even power your house. How do these devices work?

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently the most commonly used. Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. PV cells also all have one or more electric fields that act to force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off to use externally. For example, the current can power a calculator. This current, together with the cell's voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce."

To continue, we will discuss the smaller hand held devices for cell phones and PDAs, all the way to powerful self-contained and fully remote commercial solar systems. Here are several links that describe the use of solar power for mobile computers and other wireless devices from the Do-It-Yourself perspective.

It is amazing what is already available and out in the marketplace for solar power options. As energy costs and energy conservation continue to garner interest as mainstream issues, we should see the rapid development of solar integrated design features. Soon it may be a standard feature and part of everyday portable computers.

Let's hope so, because going green is good for everyone, not just an intriguing proposition for rugged notebook users and remote computing,

Hand Held Solar Kits

Solar kits are designed to be self-contained. They combine solar cells, rechargeable batteries, and a wide selection of cables. These won't power a portable laptop yet unless it's a miser on energy, but they will keep you connected with a limitless power supply for your cell phones, Smart phones, PDAs, and smaller devices. As long as the sun is shining, or the batteries are charged up, you will have power.

Many purists will argue anything solar is not really "green", either because it will never be energy positive (will never generate more power than it took to manufacture), or because it has a battery, making it environmentally unfriendly by default.

Arguments aside, at issue for rugged and remote users is a reliable power source, and having some sense of being connected. So, solar charging devices can be considered either as "convenience efficient" or "emergency efficient". Don't take this as a challenge to engineer types that will want to get their slide rules out, just a notation that these solar kits are an honest attempt at the "plus" column for reducing the human carbon footprint. Wider adoption and acceptance of new technology usually results in greater efficiencies.

Two promising examples that have had good reviews are the reasonably affordable products from Solar Style Dot Com, and the pricier Solio Dot Com. Do a search on YouTube and you will find many videos of Solio in action. If it did not work, we would know it by now.

Portable Solar Power Docking Stations

The idea of using solar power in remote situations is nothing new. The question for us is how well, and how fast, a solar power station will power up your notebook or laptop. Other considerations are the size, weight, and portability. You will find many products in this category, but few online reviews that confirm that these products will actually perform as advertised. The best source I have found for honest reviews in this regard is

There are very few winners in the category of a portable solar power docking station to efficiently run a laptop computer. One that does get good reviews on the subject is the "PowerDock System".

Do an online search for PowerDock System, and you will find many retailers and dealers at different price points. So be patient and shop around. Your Mobile Desk Dot Com is the best resource for a complete descriptions of the PowerDock product line. These include from the least expensive to the most expensive: PowerDock Lite, PowerDock Basic. PowerDock Executive, and PowerDock Elite.

Power Dock Systems are relatively expensive, and range in price form a few hundred dollars on up to $450.00. The PowerDock is an attractive product design an weighs in from 5 to 13.5 pounds.

Another potential winner is the Notepower Solar Laptop Charger from Sierra Solar Systems. You will see the Notepower Solar Charger pop up along with the PowerDock in a search engine query for these type of solar products. Plug in the SmartAdapter with extended 10 foot cord included, and start charging or topping off your computer battery as long as sunshine is available.

Once again, this is not a review recommendation, but the Notepower has had favorable comments by and other reliable sources, giving no pause to mention it here. The 3 lb. Notepower is not designed with a storage battery, but the 20-30 watts of power will charge and run most laptop computers, according to the specs.

You may not consider the Notepower as a true solar docking station, but it is an attractive portable solar package for a temporary power solution. Originally priced around $250.00.

Commercial and Military Grade Solar Power Systems

Some of the best remote solar power systems are designed to meet military standards. You could even say that anything designed for military use is pretty much guaranteed to perform. These systems will compliment anything in the fully rugged notebook computer category.

Energy Technologies, Inc. in Ohio, USA makes a wide assortment of military standard power equipment for field use. Things like field deployable inverters, converters, UPS, engine-generators, along with solar power stations with the trade name Tactical Solar Products.

The product features for these Tactical Solar Products include various combinations of charge controllers, power storage batteries, AC/DC power adapters, multiple DC outputs, and a large selection of folding solar panels. The specific product line is the Solar Suitcase I, Solar Suitcase II, Solar Suitcase III, Solar Suitcase IV, along with the folding SolarTacticalPanels.

Solar Suitcases I-IV can charge Lead Acid, Li-Ion, NiCad, NiMH & other types of rechargeable batteries. The nearly bullet proof folding solar collection panels are available from a 15 Watt to a hefty 330 Watt output panel set. This is "green power", but you are out of luck if you prefer a color other than the two camouflage patterns available.

You will have to call ETI for costs, as product pricing is not published on the ETI websites.

Computing Solar Power Wrap-up

We have looked at several of the many possibilities for solar power, and going "green" with remote computing. The possibilities are becoming more reliable and starting to make more economic sense. You can try to go solar and Do-It-Yourself, or for the less technically inclined there is a wide range of retail and commercial applications for sale. We have attempted to highlight a few of the proven DIY options, and find some of the readily available products, and systems from various online reviews.

Some of the solar power resource websites you might want to keep an eye on include:,, and There obviously are many more you will find now and in the future with your favorite search engine.

As computing devices become smaller and more mobile, and with nascent technology soon to push the boundaries of wireless networks, solar power could prove to be a factor in your computing future.

Wireless Computing

So what exactly is wireless computer networking? Wireless computer networking provides a wireless hub facility which makes use of radio waves to sustain open communication channels between computers, from 2 computers to probably a dozen or even more computers. Wireless networks are modern innovations offering a far better alternative to wired networking, which relies on copper and, or fiber optic cabling for communication to take place between computers. So in essence, wireless networks basically refer to any type of computer network connection that does not rely on cables or wires of any kind.

With wireless networks, homes, businesses and even telecommunications enterprises avoid the expensive process of introducing cables into buildings for connection purposes. Main advantages that should be noted with the use of wireless networks are the mobility and also the elimination of multiple wires. However, despite these two, wireless computing offers some disadvantages key among them being the interference of radio waves by changing weather and walls. Despite these downsides, the potential that can be gained from wireless computing is vast and as such, the use of wireless networks is fast gaining popularity all over.

There are several types of wireless networks; Wireless personal area networks (WPANs), Wireless local area network (WLAN), Wireless metropolitan area networks among others. In most cases we make use of wireless networks through the use of a wireless router. A wireless router is simply a device that joins different-multiple wired and wireless networks together. A router can be looked at as a sort of traffic warden, as it directs traffic on the internet (so to speak). The most common router types are the ones used in homes which facilitate wireless laptop computing enabling the passing of data like email and web pages between computers. Configuring your router is not a difficult task, although it does require some technical know-how to achieve. Various help forums and even consultants can easily be to found to help with this task.

A modem (modulator-demodulator) is a device used for modulation and demodulation, for example between the digital data of a computer and the analog signal of a telephone line. Not every modem works with a telephone as DSL modems are known to work with a broadband connection. Unlike what a 56kbit/s modem is capable of doing, a DSL modem working with a broadband connection serves users with a far superior internet download speed than a 56kbit/s modem. The DSL modem can be obtained for wireless computing, therefore enabling wireless computing to take place on the go.

How the Wireless Portable Printer Could Conquer the World

When you look at incredibly popular products such as Apple's iPhone for example, it's easy to see how such an advanced piece of technology took the world by storm and continues to do so. I think the very same is true of the wireless portable printer which has in the last few years been improved to the point where its gone from an expensive, frivolous luxury to an important and everyday object in the homes of many people. The question is why.

To start with, as is true of many new pieces of technology, the price of the once very expensive wireless portable printer has dropped dramatically in recent years. It's very comparable to early computers which used to be incredibly expensive, and yet nowadays you could easily fork out just a few hundred dollars for a computer with reasonable specifications and capabilities. So whereas a printer model may have once cost a minimum of 200-300 dollars with the most advanced products costing around a 1000 dollars it's now possible nowadays to purchase a device that's only 100-200 dollars. Not only this, but the assumption is that such a low price means an inferior product - this is simple not true, and many brands such as HP and Printstik offer very an incredible compromise between price and quality. For example the HP OfficeJet H470 Mobile Printer is only around a 150 dollars, and it comes with optional wireless connectivity that can utilize both a wireless network that you can find all over the place from your own home to Starbucks and it also allows Bluetooth wireless data transfer which means that you can transfer the information from your laptop, smart phone and even some wireless portable hard drives.

For me, the truth is I could live without my wireless portable printer, but the reality of the situation is that I don't need one. However I can straight away see people in situations where a portable printer would become as important as their Blackberry for example. Imagine a businessman who quickly needed to alter and then print of some documents before an important meeting. Before he had his wireless, mobile printer he would have had to have quickly driven home in order to print of what he needed. What he has now is a Printstik printer in his car at all times, it's very small and is literally just a few inches thick and it's just long enough to hold an A4 piece of paper - but that's it. It's very basic, it prints in just black and white, it's light and small and isn't used for regular printing. But nevertheless the time will come for everyone when they realise they've forgotten to print something important out. For most people this is an infrequent occurrence because they don't often print things out. But it just takes a few seconds and you can instantly think of a half dozen of professions who print a lot, and print on the go.

Imagine how great it would be for a doctor or nurse visiting the patient to be able to print of the prescription right then and there. Or to print out whatever medical forms were necessary right then and there without having to waste time going back to somewhere to print out what is necessary.

But why stop a professionals?

What about a family on holiday who want their pictures then and there, they can do that not with wireless mobile picture printers. Or what about the family which only has one printer which everyone is constantly nagging at the person unfortunate enough to have the printer connected to their computer to use. Instead of the hassle of transferring work/data to a USB stick, loading it onto the computer that the printer is connected to and then finally printing. Imagine if you knew the printer was downstairs in the kitchen for example, and all you had to do was hit print without the bother and hassle.

This is what technology does for us, it makes our lives easier. This isn't going to change the world, but if that businessman's deal goes through, or that doctor prints of a prescription then and there which allows him to go and see another patient. That family who went on holiday to visit their relatives, they can now print of their pictures then and there and even give a copy to their relatives.

To the right person, a wireless portable printer makes a difference, the question is whether that person is you?

Wireless Classrooms: Mobile Laptop Labs for Schools

Wireless networks in schools is not a new thing but it's rare to see the wireless network used to it's full potential.

Technology with out wires gives the teacher the ability to bring the technology to the student instead of the whole class going to a computer lab.

Wireless mobile laptop labs can be used for many purposes:

o Wireless Streaming Video 
o Research
o Report Writing
o Teacher Guided Instruction
o Report writing
o Typing

What ever a student can do in a wired lab they can do with a wireless laptop mobile lab.

What are the features of a wireless mobile laptop lab:

1. Wireless Laptops - Laptops for schools should meet the following specs. First they need to have at least 512 mb of memory. Anything less will cause educational software to crawl. The laptop should weight about six pounds, a heavy laptop is about eight pounds plus and a light laptop is about 4lbs. The ultra light laptops are over $2,000 each and too expensive for schools. So six pound laptops are easy enough for schools to carry around. Now some people will tell me I'm wrong but school laptops don't need cd-roms or DVD -roms. Why you ask? It's because they will be the first thing to break and all software will run off the hard drive. The case needs to be a slim case so students can have proper hand placement when typing. Bluetooth devices are becoming all the rage so built in Bluetooth will be something to think about also. Hard drive size should only be about 30gig because nobody is going to download music or large media files.

2. Mobile Laptop Carts - They need to be easily moved, easy enough to take out and put in the laptops, and have a built in power strip for charging. Laptop carts can hold any where from 6 to 30 laptops at once. I recommend using laptop carts of 15 or smaller and spreading them through out the school.

3. Access points and printers - If you school can not afford permanent wireless access points have a wireless access point mounted on the card and plug it into a network port when needed. Also the cart can have a printer on it if needed, but I recommend network printers not desktops.

Studies have shown that students who use laptops in classrooms are more focused and have an easier time typing. Wireless networks free students from their desktops and frees them from having to go a computer lab to work with technology.

The Newest Portable Computers Are Now Built For the Road and Cell Phone Data

We finally got handheld computers that could go beyond batch processing wwith wireless capability. Then came multiple versions of that wireless technology, the thing called it 802.11 specification. Today, we would like to introduce the Mobile Computers that can still utilize 802.11 wireless, but can extend wireless to any place that has cell phone data service. Only a few of the capable handheld computers are mentioned, that might be used for field service, route accounting, and generally for anyone needed to update and pull data from a server.

Windows Mobile 6 is available on the Datalogic Memor.1 OS, and can utilize most cell phone technologies to access a server. This particular unit as most can use BlueTooth (as all units mentioned here) to access any components it doesn't have. The most unique thing about the Datalogic Memor is its ergonomic case. It is about the size of the old Nokia phones, with touch screen, keys, and many other options. The only limitation might also be the size of the screen and limited keyset, the pluses being cost and ergonomics. The Pegaso is Datalogic's best route unit, but the new enhancements to the Memor put it at the top of the list in features and price.

The next unit that has everything is the Motorola/Symbol MC75, mobile computer. A few of the freatures available are Color Camera, Windows Mobile, Wireless, and GPS built in. It also has a large screen and full keyboard with individual alpha numeric keys. These units are used in manufacturing and are tough enough, but are mainly used by Mobile computing users for outside. This unit comes with all the capabilities for cell phone service and extended batteries. The major limitation might be cost, it is loaded but pricey.

The newest unit on the market is the Honeywell Dolphin 9700. Some of the equipment can be full alpha numeric keypad, GPS, large screen, color camera, and again full cell phone capability. This unit appears to be equal to the task as the MC75, but may be a little lower priced.

The CN3 from Intermec, and some other manufacturers also have a version of the road warrior or route accounting units. Intermec's CN3 has all the capabilities of the others mobile devices, including large screen, color camera, full alpha numeric keypad, extended battery, and cell phone connectivity. This again is a unit much like the MC75 and Dolphin 9700.

We have covered a review of four Mobile Computer units that can revolutionize route sales, service representatives, and portable receipts. These units are ready to be used with many of the portable receipt printers (RW420, EXTECH, O'NEIL), and can be used on permanent portable label printers like the Zebra P4T. Anything that is necessary today for sales or inventory can be done on these Mobile devices equipped with Cell Phone cards and data. Turn by turn GPS navigation is also available on most, and you can carry them on your belt.

Copyright (c) 2010 Carl Shackelford

Custom Applications for Windows Mobile

When developing a business-oriented strategy to leverage mobile computing, you may find there's no off-the-shelf commercial software that meets your organization's needs. This may have several causes:

- You have a unique business or process that simply needs a custom solution - You use existing custom software that requires a mobile counterpart - The software you need is not available from commercial software companies - Your existing commercial software has no ability to provide mobile integration

If you're in any of these situations, your path to enterprise mobility is quite a bit more difficult. This doesn't mean enterprise mobility won't be worth it. Even if there are existing wireless applications for your backend systems (say, Microsoft CRM, SAP, or Oracle), those off-the-shelf versions might not meet your exact needs. Before looking at what it takes to get a custom project off the ground, let's consider general trends in enterprise mobile computing.

Wireless Industry trends

First, nobody wants to be the first to try out new technology. They want to implement proven technology. Many companies are looking at their competitors to see what they're doing with mobile computing and how they're doing it. It's gotten so that some companies conduct confidential pilot programs in order to prove technology internally without their competitors knowing about it.

In addition, "mobile" is often improperly considered to be a synonym for "wireless" due to the simple fact that most visible mobile deployments to date have been thin-client or Web-based applications. While this is a legitimate architectural model, it requires prevalent, fast, and reliable connectivity for these wireless applications to function. Many people simply assume that since these types of systems often have issues regarding performance, reliability, and usability, they should wait until pervasive high-speed wireless data networks have arrived before attempting to "go mobile."

While many mobile solutions to date require constant wireless connectivity, there are other architectures that can leverage the amazing computing power of today's Windows Mobile devices. With the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, Microsoft has provided us with all the tools we need for powerful mobile software development. Leveraging a smart client architecture, the.NET CF can take these handheld devices much further than we've ever taken them before. If you can understand what these mobile units are truly capable of, you will see hundreds of opportunities today for using them in businesses all around you.

Custom development options

The most inexpensive way to build custom software is to create it yourself with a product from companies like Syware or Formotus. While this can often be an extremely cost-effective strategy, it's not for everyone and not appropriate for all environments. Some people may feel overwhelmed with the task of "programming." You can develop simple data-driven applications very easily and rapidly, but keep in mind that along with the simplicity comes a lack of programmatic functionality. You won't get the same power and capabilities that come when using a more powerful development environment. Consider very carefully whether this approach will meet your needs.

If you are a part of a larger company that has software developers on staff, you may be able to field an internal development project to create the system. Be aware, though, that they will probably have to adjust their user interface design practices, usability/reliability standards, and overall architectural assumptions if the project is to be successful. In order to help with the transition to mobile software development, you may want to consider hiring experienced consultants and/or mobile software engineers to evaluate your needs, develop a strategy and system design, and then have your in-house software developers program and maintain the system.

Finally, you can simply outsource the entire project. Some development firms prefer to build software directly from a formal specifications document, while others would rather help the customer evaluate their needs in order to develop requirements and specifications. While some firms specialize in conducting Return on Investment (ROI) analysis, feasibility studies, and usability research, other firms simply want to do what they're best at which is writing great software that is optimized for mobile platforms. You'll find enormous disparity in the cost and quality of work performed, so it pays to do your research and to know exactly what you're looking for.

Mobility as a business strategy

Whatever industry you're in, you're always looking for an edge over your competition. For many companies, mobile computing technology can provide that edge, but most people simply aren't aware of how Windows Mobile devices can enhance their business.

Sometimes you have to understand an application's uses completely, beyond its simple out-of-the-box functionality. Then you can see how it can enable employees to do their jobs better, faster, and more efficiently. From salesmen to engineers to waitresses to managers, mobile computing technology can revolutionize the business world.

Whether or not you currently use mobile technology, leveraging either commercial or custom software, consider how a strategy that includes mobile technology can brighten your company's bottom line and future success.

The Mobile Computer - Laptops Explained

Laptop computers also known as notebook computers are generally smaller in size and are powered by battery or AC-powered personal computers. Because of their size they can be transported easily and conveniently. A user can use laptop computers in any place they like - on planes, meetings, temporary offices, libraries etc.

Laptop computers typically weigh less than 5 pounds and are 3 inches or less in thickness. These computers are costly than their counterparts, desktop computers, because of their complex design and structure. These laptop or notebook computers often come with displays and use thin technology. They can easily be turned into a desktop computer along with a docking station. Their withered film transistors or lively matrix screen is brighter and display better at different angles than the STN or dual-scan screen.

Notebook computers can be easily connected to a number of different peripherals by way of a single plug; all this could be done through their less capable port replicator. Different approaches are being used in laptop computers for assimilating a mouse into a keyboard, including their touch pad, trackball and the pointing stick. There is also a place or serial port within the laptop in which a regular mouse can be attached. Through its PC Card a modem or network interface card laptops can easily connect effortlessly to the internet, most standard notebooks contain a DVD Rom or CD Rom built-in.

One of the advantages of using laptop computers over desktop computers is that they are not only portable but also use less power and make less noise than desktop computers, they also produce less heat. But in some cases they are a bit slower and contain less graphics and sound processing power. However, because of their usefulness these things are hardly noticed. As an alternative to a spacious case which contains lots of room for air circulation, laptops utilize a small and flat design in which all the pieces fit jointly - cozily.

As far as battery life of a notebook is concerned, with the coming up of Intel's Centrino technology now battery life of Windows-powered laptops lasts up to five hours on a single charge. The latest laptop computers are also coming up with 'media-bays' which helps to replace your optical drive with a second battery in an effort to extend battery life.

The best-known Notebook computer makers include IBM, Apple, Compaq, Dell, Sony, Acer, HP and Toshiba.

The mainstream of Laptop Computers are bundled with a 56K modem and a 10/100 Ethernet port for cable/DSL connectivity as benchmark. All Centrino-based laptops attribute 802.11b/g modules for wireless networking, but Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is not a criterion on all machines, look carefully at models that support these technologies if you plan to use them.

Netbooks, Mini-Laptops Leading the Mobile Computing Proliferation

Netbooks or what are also known as mini-notebooks are the latest ventures in the personal computers arena. Netbooks are attracting attention all over the world because of their miniature attractive size and small price tag. Because of their cheap price tag, people who can't afford typical laptops can now look forward to purchasing netbooks instead. But there are several things which you will have to take into consideration before buying a netbooks. If you love speed, don't go for it, as netbooks are slower.

These mini-notebooks require sufficient performance of the processor in an effort to carry out basic computing tasks like email, spreadsheet, word processing, web browsing and photo editing. Most of the netbooks, however, use Intel Atom processors while the other use processers from VIA.

Owing to their cheap price tag you can't expect mini-notebooks to offer the same plethora of features as compared to laptops. For example, there is no support for optical disk drives like DVDs or CDs and they depend on software which is being supplied over a network or from USB devices. The main purpose of introducing mini-notebooks was to be used along with wireless networks for quick surfing web and sending and receiving emails etc.

Netbooks do not contain any important hard drives and use flash and solid state drives. This results in images, documents and other material having to be stored online which could be retrieved later through the internet. More modern netbooks now have micro drives integrated ranging up to 300GB.

In an effort to make netbooks affordable, manufactures are using smaller screens. The first netbook introduced had a 7 inch screen. But these days' netbooks support up to 11 and 12 inch screens. Companies are still looking to increase their size further during the coming months. Owing to their smaller size the netbooks are lighter in weight, but contain a very small size keyboard which can be uncomfortable if using the keyboard for long periods of time. Most netbooks use Windows XP or Vista 32bit as the hardware performance has yet to give the min-laptops the ability to run 64bit systems. It is hoped that Windows 7 would contain a lighter version made exclusively for min-laptops. However, users can opt for Linux OS also for their min-laptops.

Pricing for Netbooks, Mini Notebooks [] range depending on the internal hardware and manufacturers brand, one key thing to mention is the netbook is designed for casual and mobile use and acts much like a highly advanced cell phone. Most netbooks come ready with advanced microphones and camera interfaces built in.

Some of the netbook brands available today are: ACER Aspire One AOD150-1920 10.1" Netbook, Samsung NC10 14-GB 10.2 Inch Blue netbook, HP Mini 1101, MSI Wind U100 etc. min-laptops manufacturers include Lenova, Benq, acer, Samsung, HP, MSI, Sylvania, Asus etc.

Acer Computers - Mobile Computing That Will Fit in Your Purse

For less than three hundred dollars, you can now get a ten inch Acer computer, one with a sizable hard drive and a very workable screen size and keyboard size, that will easily fit in a large purse and is light and portable enough to take with you basically everywhere.

If you are a person that works largely from your computer, and especially if you take your computer back and forth between your home and your office, lightness and portablity can be key factors in your laptop decision. I know that I, personally, have suffered many a headache from lugging my seventeen inch laptop around from home to the office where I do SEO work, and back again, when that was my primary laptop. Thank God those days are over! I wouldn't go back there for the world.

Now that I have the Acer ten inch laptop, I simply zip it into its padded cover and slip it into my purse. If I'm planning to use it for a long time while I'm out, I will bring the bag that I have which contains the power cord and my wireless mouse, as well. Those don't take up very much room, either. Everything together is so light that I barely even notice the difference in weight in my purse!

Another thing I love about the Acer ten inch computer is that it doesn't run on Windows Vista, it runs on Windows XP. Because in my line of work as a freelance niche marketer and search engine optimization consultant, I use a lot of custom software, it's great to have a laptop that will easily run pretty much any custom software I want to install, smoothly and easily.

I couldn't be happier with my Acer ten inch laptop!

The 4G Obsession and the Mobile Computing Revolution

It's a quiet little revolution that's stretching across the globe: 4G and WiMAX are spreading like wildfire. Why are people infatuated with this new wireless Internet technology? What's to love?

It turns out that the fans aren't restricted to one particular group. Avid gamers, multitasking moms, swamped students, and Google-searching grandpas are all proclaiming their undying love for this fourth generation of mobile Internet service. They're all hoping 4G is 4Ever, because now that they can work and play anywhere without a slow connection, they're hooked. There's no going back.

WiMAX is the technology that makes this fourth generation possible. Using a giant cloud of harmless microwaves between towers, this new service is deployed relatively quickly in cities. It's already offered in most major metro areas in the U.S., with more cities added on a monthly basis. And it's not restricted to America: more than 150 countries have WiMAX in place. Its popularity stems from its use of towers and clouds rather than wires or small Wi-Fi hotspots. Because it's up to five times faster than 3G and isn't a wire-based service, users are able to use their laptops while in motion.

It's like the difference between a remote-control toy car and a wired car - one is much more fun than the other. 4G versus DSL is like freedom versus limitation. Gamers can play online at the same speed as they could through DSL. Parents can keep the kids busy on the laptop while driving around town, while grandma and grandpa can go over their retirement portfolio at their favorite restaurant. There's no Wi-Fi hotspot needed. Your city is your hotspot; your favorite restaurant is your hotspot; your local swimming pool is your hotspot. Students can video chat with parents while riding the bus. The potential uses are limited by your imagination.

Some people admittedly sign up to for the service simply because they like cutting edge technology. This technology is simply better and faster than 3G. The only initial reservation that some people have expressed is the fact that you must be in a 4G zone in order to have coverage. This is partially correct. You can only use 4G in cities that offer the service, and not all cities are yet covered. However, more cities are added all the time. 3G wasn't offered everywhere at first. It takes time. If you're extremely concerned about having coverage outside the city, you can opt for the 3G/4G dual-mode card that allows you to hook into the 3G network. Granted, you won't have 4G speeds, but you'll at least be able to have some service.

Users that are particularly fanatical about this new Internet technology are the ones who multitask endlessly. They are what you'd call Type A personalities. They can't stay seated and they have to be busy with something all the time. They're driven and ambitious. With DSL or cable technology, the broadband speed is there, but the mobility is not. 4G, however, allows our Type A friends to cut the cord and take care of business on the road. They can watch live sports while sitting in a waiting room or buy stocks on the train. Take their 4G away from them, and you'll have a mutiny on your hands.