Armed with a laptop, cell phone, and good old-fashioned enthusiasm, today’s mobile worker has never been more connected. HP’s latest line of business notebooks gives him everything he needs to take his office on the road. In this article I will mainly focus 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 my website’s product feeds. I had already done a grueling 10 hour day and still had another two hours to go. Adding insult to injury, I had to decline an invitation from my brother that same day to go up north for a weekend of fishing.
I already had the ability to connect to my office computer from home. However, I had no way to do this from anywhere else. Tired of being physically tethered to my office, I bought a new HP laptop and managed to get rid of my cables very quickly. This is how I did it:
IN. I carefully considered my system requirements and bought the right HP laptop
Before I made my system purchase, I had to decide what system requirements my new laptop would have to meet. Considering the amount of time I would be spending on this system, I wanted to make sure my new system would meet all of my computing needs. The following was the list of requirements 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 headsets, headsets, mice, and keyboards.
- Wired Network Port – To provide network connections where only wired service is available.
- Multi-Format Optical Recorder – To allow me to share media with clients and business partners in a variety of formats.
- Large, high-resolution screen – This was important to me as I spent a lot of time looking at the screen.
- Multimedia sound: good for watching DVD movies on the go.
- Tactile keyboard: Perhaps one of the most overlooked criteria when selecting a laptop.
- Good Battery Life – Reasonable power management to preserve battery life.
- Cellular network card: to allow data connection to my office when WiFi is not available.
With these requirements in mind, I purchased the HP 8710w Mobile Workstation.
My first impression of the laptop was excellent. It had a solidly built feel and was for the most part ready to go when I unboxed it. Vista was the preloaded operating system, which made me a little nervous at first. However, with the 8710’s Intel T8300 core duo processor and 2 GB of RAM, I had all the power under the hood to run Vista and my business applications with ease.
b. I installed my business applications
Although I planned to access my office computer remotely, I still wanted to have a copy of my business applications installed locally on my laptop. The main apps I installed included the following:
MS Office 2007 Professional
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
QuickBooks Pro 2008
Adobe Creative Suite CS3
All of these apps installed without a problem and the new HP laptop worked great.
against I installed the necessary software and hardware to connect to my office computer
Now that I had my apps 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 that I was already paying for. This all sounded pretty simple until now. However, how was I going to get internet access where there was no WiFi or wired internet access available? Thanks to Sprint’s latest generation of mobile broadband cards, it turned out to be easier than I thought. I bought the Sprint AirCard 595 and a monthly access plan that was comparable in price to your average cell phone plan. Installation was a breeze and the speed was surprisingly fast. It certainly wasn’t as fast as my cable internet at home, but I found it to be as fast as an average DSL connection. I should also mention that certain models of HP laptops come equipped with a built-in Verizon Edge cellular modem. However, I found the Verizon connection speed to be a lot slower than Sprint.
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 didn’t involve opening holes in my office firewall.
- It’s very safe.
- It allows you to access your work computer remotely from anywhere you have Internet access.
Setting up LogMeIn was simple, and in just five minutes I was ready to try it out. I navigated to the LogMeIN website and entered my username and password. Once I logged in, I saw an icon representing my work computer. I clicked on the icon and within seconds I was on my office computer desktop screen. It seemed like I was physically sitting there and had access to all my business applications.
So at the end of the day, did I get the rank of mobile warrior? Two weekends later, my family and I were heading up north to camp out for a bit and relax. My oldest son was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat with my new HP laptop. With just the click of a couple of icons, I connected to the Internet through my Sprint card and worked remotely on my office computer. For some reason, this achievement impressed me more than my wife.
To learn more about HP’s new mobile workstations, visit HP Mobile Workstations [http://www.getqlt.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=7].