Basic Set up Scenarios and Equipment

Don’t have a computer? Well there are a few things to consider before you run out and purchase one. Only you can way your options to figure out what best suited for your needs. Sure cost will almost always be a large factor in making a chose, but here are a few others to keep in mind. Durability is important as it is going to get rattled around more than it would just sitting on a desk somewhere. How many of what types of ports can also be helpful as most items these days plug into USB ports to communicate with various equipment. It can eliminate the need for more than a couple of regular wall outlets as power on the go can be somewhat limited. Card reader for camera memory sticks although separate card readers can be purchased for very cheap. Bluetooth capability can make it easier to transfer files from computer to PDA or smart phone. Wireless/Wi-Fi capable this can make it simple to connect to internet or network work when near by some time even from the parking lot it will depend on the signal. Screen size and brightness especially if using out side or in a convertible. Battery life if you plan on using away from your mobile office such as on a plane. Some have rugged docking stations that can be easily adaptable to mobile office set up. A built in webcam used for video conference calling. Audio and video ports these can be helpful when connecting to car audio and/or video equipment for presentation, music, etc. Obviously software is important to get thing that fit your needs and can be expensive if it does not come in the computer software package. We will touch base on these items and more on Equipment and Connection Pages. Click here to search for your laptop computer and accessories.
One computer; Using one at all locations such as your office, home, and mobile office. This can have some advantages to other set ups as you will have less to spend on computers as you will only require one laptop. Another plus would be not to have to transfer files from one computer to another having the entire updated file in one location. This can be avoided by working from a memory stick or other portable memory. Although this is a cheaper way to set up this does have a few draw backs. The first draw back is that you will need to disconnect and reconnect at each change of location, not to mention having to carry the laptop to each. That being said another issue is laptop tends to get banged around a little or a lot more depending on how cautious you are with it, adding wear and tear on the entire machine like the hard drive disc writer/player. Pulling connections in and out of ports creates added stress as to the ports. As you will have some of this same wear and tear from normal use of your laptop in everyday use.
Using more than one computer; This can have some advantages and maybe necessary in some situations. You may have a desktop computer at one of the locations, which is impractical to move or take with you.  You can utilize a memory stick/flash memory to save and access files, especially things like trackers and spread sheet that need to be up to date all the time keeping this in one mobile file will make it less confusing than updating multiple files. Things like emails and calendars should be set up to sync on accessing them this way you are all ways working with up to date data. Syncing these items will depend on which programs you use and will need to use their instructions on the best way for them to work together. Consult your support and help files for each.
Mounts for your computer; They are basically consist of a mounting plate, a height bar or pipe, a arm to offset it from mounting plate, and a platform where your laptop actually will sit or attach. These can vary in many aspects so you may want to look at a couple of designs then go to your car and/or vehicle with a tape measure. Figure out the approximate mounting point where you would like to bolt the mounting plate to your automobile. Measure the approximate height you will need how far over you what it to reach. Keep in mind weather you are going to have passengers in the front or back seats to avoid obstructing the access to them. Remember not to obstruct thing needed to operate the vehicle such as stick shift, climate controls, steering wheel, etc. There are some that are designed strictly for certain types of vehicles, you may want to take these same considerations before ordering them.

            There is such a wide array of options in picking one for you so explore different ones and see which one fits your needs the best. Like weather or not you want it to be removable, how easy it is to mount your laptop, does it have adjustable positions and how does it lock into place. You can even find them with addition platform areas for mouse and accessories. Then of course the price can vary tremendously depending on the unit and the options you select. So consider all your personal preferences when picking out the one for you. Click here to shop for computer stands.
Internet on the go; Something to always keep in mind as you will more than likely want to connect to the information highway. This can be done several ways the most common for a portable laptop is to have what is known as an “air card”. This is a card usually purchased from your cell phone carrier which in most cases will be faster in metropolitan areas when faster connections with their equipment is available. Another way is to use your cell phone as a modem basically like an air card only some phones have this capability you will need to find out from your carrier if this is possible. Another way is to transfer files from computer to phone via cable or Bluetooth connection and email from your phone. This way can save you money depending on your carrier. There are also satellite links available for very remote area or off-shore on a boat, these can be expensive. Click here to shop for cell phones and major carrier plans.
Printers, Scanners, Copiers; When picking a printer or All-In-One (Multi-function printer; printer, scanner, copier, fax) you want to consider the size of the unit and where you plan on placing it in your mobile office. Maybe you would prefer separate units for achieving these options. For instance you can get a small single page feed printer and a hand held scanner to save on room. There are many printers on the market and can be very inexpensive for even a multifunctional one. Pick one that meets your needs. It could be in your passenger seat, the back seat or even in your trunk. Picking a good spot is important, in other words if you are going to print things at often you don’t want to have to get it out of the trunk and hook it up. If you seldom use it this maybe an option so it is not taking up room inside the car. I also found if you intend to scan legal size documents, an 8 ½ X 11 scan bed will not work, but if you get one with a multiple page feed for the scanner this is not an issue. Most inkjet printed pages are very susceptible to smudging and running when it gets wet (like when it rains). Even though an all-in-on will have a fax built in this will not be the way you fax documents (It will need to be scanned in and basically faxed through the internet using software such as efax). You may want to also consider the cost of ink refills, resolution, even single or double sided printing. If you are going to use the old carbon multi-page document a DOT matrix will imprint through all copies. Maybe you need one that will do 11X17 sheets this can be done, but they’re usually not multi functional and require more room. If you really need to print something like full size drawings you would need a van or box truck to accommodate the size of the printer. Click here to shop for printers and scanners.
Power Inverter; Today most vehicles do not come with regular 120V AC outlet (like a regular wall outlet in your home), unless you are on a boat or possible in a RV. That being said you will need to plug some of your equipment in.. These DC (battery power) to AC (normal electric power) can be very inexpensive to moderately priced. Picking the right one for your needs will depend on what you plan on plugging into it. For just a computer you could use one a small as 400 watts, this may not let you recover from a totally dead battery. I would try to stay in the 800 watt range. If you plan on having another item such as a printer I would recommend one with 1500 watts or more. If you plan on using other equipment find out hoe many watts or amps it uses. A rule of thumb for this would be 100 watts for every 1 amp. This would be a total for all items you are running at one time. I would suggest having some extra watts so you are not over heating it or blowing fuses all the time. When you mount this in your mobile office you will want to place it somewhere that is vented so it can dissipate heat generated. I mounted mine on the under side of the laptop table so I can access the on/off switch and outlets. Mine also has a DC outlet to plug in other accessories light a radar detector. Some people have mounted them under their seats, in the trunk, or even under the hood. Click here to shop for a power inverter.
Routers; Installing one, basically creates Wi-Fi to use at home or in the office. These are small units that attach to your modem in your office or home that provide a Wi-Fi system with in the same. Some modems also act as routers you will need to ask whom ever you purchase your internet connection from. The speeds are usually determined by a letter such as “G”, and “N”. I believe as of now in 2010 “N” is the fastest available for small networks. If you purchase one it will come with directions on how to use. There has been some difficulty setting up between visa and XP operating systems and at this time I do not know about Windows 7. This can make it easier if you are bringing your laptop into your office or home to connect with the internet also allowing you to work away from your desk on your laptop. The distance will depend on router placement and what obstacles the signal has to travel from. These can be set up with different types of security levels for your private network. This is much safer than Wi-Fi at some hot spot in the mall or airport. Once these are installed you can create a network (communication between computers) if you would like. These are not too expensive for the convenience they provide. Click here to shop for routers.
Fax; Being able to send a fax can be very advantageous at times especially to companies or clients that may not have email. Faxing is an old technology that almost ever business and many people have. In some case an email is not legally binding where a fax is, so send a document via fax is necessary to complete the contract. This can be done by adding a software account to you computer allowing you to send and receive faxes via internet. This is done by using efax. Click here to get started with efax.
GPS; This is short for Global Positioning System, it works by triangulating your position on Earth from satellites in space (will not work in long tunnels, etc.). These antennas can be purchased for your computer and eliminate the need for other more expensive GPS devices. These will work basically the same way in your car driving down the road giving you a map view of your location and alerting you to up coming turns, depending on your software installed. Click here to shop for software and antennas.
Mobile Office Pages of Interest

·         Mobile Office What a mobile office is and can do

·         Mobile Office Ideas applications to help you decide

·         Mobile Office Equipment describe and locate components

·         How to Connect Your Mobile Office components

·         More links to places to buy components and accessories