“I live in Sheboygan,” offered a kitchen dealer
from Wisconsin. Replied another: “I can use e-mail!” (“with help,”
his wife whispered as an aside). “I use a digital camera,” was
thrown out by a Denver dealer.
These are all real responses I received from
kitchen designers of whom I recently inquired, “Is anyone using any
form of advanced and/or mobile technology out in the field?”
Admittedly, it’s difficult to stay on top of all of
the rapid changes taking place as we navigate our way through the
beginnings of the Information Age. But hey, almost all of us have
figured out how to use our fax machines and cell phones, so don’t
despair just yet.
Let’s get mobile. GoToMyPC
(www.GoToMyPC.com) is a secure, remote-access technology. To
simplify, by subscribing to this service, you can open up files and
work on your home computer’s desktop (or whatever computer you
designate) from any computer that is also connected to the
This is no fly-by-night operation. In fact, the
company that puts out this technology, Expertcity, has been around
since 1997. GoToMyPC has been recognized by Time, Fortune, PC and
GoToMyPC allows you to be able to access files and
anything else you store on your designated computer from anywhere.
The technology could come in handy when you’re out trying to sell a
job and you realize too late that you forgot to print out the
information you needed to share with your client. To remedy this,
simply ask your client to direct you to their computer and visit
www.GoToMyPC.com. Just enter your password and you’re ready to
share the “forgotten” information.
It’s also a great technology for the many out there
working from both their home and an office. No longer will you need
to run into the office still dressed in your PJs to download the
forgotten files onto a CD so you can really work from home that
Now, imagine yourself on the beach. You’ve promised
your spouse that you wouldn’t bring your computer on this vacation,
and you didn’t. But hey, you’re one of those self-employed,
hands-on types. You could slip into the hotel’s business office and
bingo, next thing you know, thanks to GoToMyPC, you’re checking
your e-mail or wrapping up that proposal AND you’ve kept your
Pricing runs from $14.95 to $19.95 per month,
depending on whether you choose a monthly or yearly plan. If you’re
not sure this is for you, but would like to try it out, there is a
free trial on the company’s Web site. And, oh yeah no real
technical know-how is necessary. You simply go to the Web site and
wait two minutes for the download. Then, log in.
Other programs similar to GoToMyPC are LapLink
(www.LapLink.com), Symantec’s pcAnywhere (www.Symantec.com
/pcanywhere) and 01 Communique’s ImInTouch (www.imintouch.net).
Many of their Web sites offer free trials, comparisons to the other
software programs and pricing.
.com) offers mobile software aimed at specialty trades and
contractors. It provides wireless work order solutions for those of
you who use QuickBooks or MasterBuilder to run your businesses. By
using FieldRanger’s Dispatch Software, you can send work orders to
the palm devices/PDAs of your contractors/installers and view the
work orders that are currently active or inactive. You can also put
together a calendar and view a crew list, as well as view which
employee is scheduled to be working on what job.
Using Field Ranger’s Mobile Software, employees can
start the day by signing in to the mobile timecard. There, they can
find notes on the day’s job and, as the day progresses, send back
notes on materials needed to complete the next day’s work.
The software can save you lots of phone time and
running back and forth between the office and job site. When the
day is done, the contractor can sync data from the field to your
QuickBooks or MasterBuilder software. Your installers can sign out
of the mobile timecard and can even capture the client’s signature
via a palm device/PDA.
If the above has left your inner Geek yearning for
even more, check out www.SmallBusiness Computing.com. It’s a great
catch-all for small businesses seeking more information on a range
of technology. The site’s News & Trends section is a great
place to learn about current computer viruses and other tech info
affecting your day-to-day routine.
In need of new software or hardware for your
company? There are two additional sections addressing those
Buyers Guide is probably my favorite section. It
offers everything from a rating of suppliers of technology for
small businesses to a listing of antispam, virus and firewall
programs (some available gratis) to which software programs are out
there to help you move bookmarks, files and the like from your old
PC to your new notebook computer.
Under Small Business Essentials you can find
everything from how to choose the right palm device/ PDA for your
needs to how to choose an IT consultant.
I believe most of us would agree the software
programs I’ve written about undoubtedly save you time and
streamline the day-to-day activities of your company. So, let’s not
forget about the perceived value they additionally bring to the
table. Today, any client signing a PDA or watching you remotely
access your own computer is going to be impressed by your
integration of technology. Consciously or unconsciously, you are
building on their rational reasoning for having hired your
So, no matter where you live and work, no matter if
e-mail or digital cameras are the equivalent of your knowledge base
of technology you’re now well equipped to be on your way to being
that much more tech savvy, in addition to saving yourself and your
company time and money.