Armed with a laptop computer, a cell phone and some good old fashioned enthusiasm, today's mobile worker has never been more connected. HP's latest line of business laptops, give you everything you need to take your office on the road. In this article I will focus mainly on the HP 8710w Mobile workstation and how I use this laptop to stay connected to my business at all times.
Five months ago, on a Friday, I sat at my desk updating product feeds for my website. I had already put in a grueling 10 hour day, and still had another two hours to go. To add insult to injury, I had to turn down an invitation from my brother earlier that day, to head north for a weekend of fishing.
I already had the ability to connect to my office computer from home. However, I had no way of doing this from any other location. Tired of being physically tied to my office, I purchased a new HP laptop and managed to shed my wires very quickly. Here's how I did it:
A. I carefully considered my system requirements and purchased the right HP Laptop
Before I made my system purchase, I had to decide what system requirements my new laptop would need to meet. Considering the amount of time I would be spending on this system, I wanted to make sure my new system met all of my computing needs. The following was the requirement list that I came up with:
- Fast Processor – To meet the demands of my business applications.
- WiFi – To allow me to connect to available WiFi hotspots or family networks.
- Bluetooth – Allows the connection of wireless headphones, headsets, mice, and keyboards.
- Wired network port- To provide network connections where only wired service is available.
- Multi format Optical Writer – To allow me to share media with customers and business partners in a variety of formats.
- Large high resolution display – This was important to me, as I would be spending a lot of time staring at the screen.
- Multimedia sound – Nice to have for watching DVD movies while traveling.
- Nice feeling keyboard – Perhaps one of the most overlooked criteria in selecting a laptop.
- Good battery life – Reasonable power management to preserve battery life.
- Cellular network card – To allow data connection to my office when no WiFi is available.
With these requirements in mind, I purchased the HP 8710w mobile workstation.
My first impression of the laptop was excellent. It had a solid built feeling and for the most part was ready to go when I unpacked it. Vista was the pre-loaded operating system, which made me a little nervous at first. However, with the 8710's Intel T8300 core duo processor and 2GB of RAM, it had all the horsepower under the hood to run Vista and my business applications with ease.
B. I installed my business applications
Even though I planned on accessing my office computer remotely, I still wanted to have a copy of my business applications installed locally on my Laptop. The main applications I installed included the following:
MS Office 2007 Professional
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
QuickBooks Pro 2008
Adobe Creative Suite CS3
All of these applications installed flawlessly and the new HP Laptop ran very well.
C. I installed the necessary software and hardware to connect to my office computer
Now that I had my applications installed, I had to decide how I would connect to my office computer. Since I already had a dedicated Internet connection on my work computer, I decided to use the existing connection I was already paying for. This all sounded pretty simple so far. However, how was I going to get Internet access where there was no WiFi or wired internet access available? Thanks to Sprint's newest breed of Mobile Broadband Cards, this proved to be easier than I thought. I purchased the Sprint AirCard 595 and a monthly access plan that was comparable in price to an average cell phone plan. The installation was a snap and the speed was surprisingly fast. It certainly was not as speedy as my cable Internet at home, but I found it to be every bit as fast as an average DSL connection. I should also mention that certain HP laptop models come equipped with Verizon's Edge cellular modem built in. However, I found Verizon's connection speed to be much slower than Sprint's.
With my internet connection in place, the next step was to figure out what software I would need to remotely control my office computer. After exploring the pros and cons of VPN, Windows Remote Desktop, Citrix and a few others, I decided to go with a product / service called LogMeIn.com. In a nutshell, I chose this product for a few basic reasons:
- It did not involve opening holes in my office firewall.
- It is very secure.
- It allows you to access your work computer remotely from anywhere you have internet access.
The LogMeIn configuration was simple and within a measly five minutes, I was ready to give it a test. I navigated to the LogMeIN website and entered my username and password. Once logged in, I saw an icon that represented my work computer. I clicked on the icon and within seconds I saw my office computer's desktop screen. It looked just like I was physically sitting there and I had access to all of my business applications.
So at the end of the day, did I earn the rank of a mobile warrior? Two weekends later, my family and I were heading north for a little camping and relaxation. My oldest son was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat with my new HP laptop. With the click of a couple of icons, I was connected to the Internet via my Sprint Card and was working remotely on my office computer. For some reason, I was more impressed with this accomplishment than my wife.
To learn more about the new HP Mobile Workstations, visit HP Mobile Workstations [http://www.getqlt.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=7].