Think about it: Labor prices only go up, while technology prices drop over time. Which do you want to pursue as a first line of attack against your firm’s efficiency challenges?
Yeah, we thought so, which is why we’ve compiled 10 technology tools for your consideration. If just one makes a difference in your efficiency, then you’ll be glad you read this article.
Dell Latitude D620After keeping a close eye on new laptops coming onto the market, I made up a wish list of features I wanted in my new laptop:o A Core 2 Duo processoro CD/DVD read-writeo Wireless-capableo Built-in EVDOo Biometricso Bluetootho Six-hour batteryo Weight of three pounds or lesso Four USB slotso 14″ screeno Three-year onsite warrantyo A price under $2,000
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But the Dell Latitude D620, costing less than $1,500, includes most of the above. The Core 2 Duo — Intel’s maximum-performance/minimal power-consumption processor — is blazingly fast. And if I set the screen brightness on extreme power-management mode, I can get a true six hours of battery life. For the Internet, I can connect automatically to a wireless network or, if one’s not available, I can connect via Verizon Broadband.
What doesn’t work? The biometric fingerprint security feature is on-again/off-again and the laptop weighs 5.4 pounds because I chose the long-life battery.
Yet, this laptop is a keeper, offering so much for so little.
Webroot SpySweeperFor the uninitiated, spyware is software that — unbeknownst to you — installs itself on your computer to monitor your activities and collect personal information. The way to keep spyware off your computer is to do a sweep-and-removal periodically or, better yet, install software that will prevent spyware installation in real time.
The problem with the latter is that programs designed to conduct security operations “in the background” while you work too often slow down the computer they are meant to protect. However, SpySweeper from Webroot Software accomplishes the task more thoroughly and unobtrusively than any similar product on the market.
Check out this software for just $29.95 per year for a single computer or $39.95 for a three-user pack. Yes, we said “per year.” A new trend in software is annual licensing fees rather than a one-time sales price.
At least the price is reasonable.
Norton 360Norton 360 is one security suite that fixes more problems than it causes.
A next-generation, all-in-one solution designed for consumers, Norton 360 is also appropriate for small businesses. What really sets Norton 360 apart from the pack, though, is its level of automation. Even the computer-illiterate can feel comfortable with this security suite.
Norton 360 protects you from viruses, spyware, phishing attempts, online identity theft, and provides both a firewall and two gigabytes of secure online storage. In addition to these core functions, Norton 360 subscribers can install a free add-on pack including anti-spam protection, parental controls, and ad blocking.
At $59.99 a year, Norton 360 is designed to be a security suite you install and forget about.
Aliph JawboneAs a writer who does a lot of telephone interviews requiring that my hands be free for typing, I’ve tried my share of Bluetooth headsets. Most have disappointed.
Not so of the Aliph Jawbone, though. Radical name? Yes. Radical design? Yes. Radical technology? Thankfully, yes.
The Jawbone employs “adaptive sound technology,” originally developed by the Department of Defense to maximize communications clarity in wartime situations (or, in your case, rush hour traffic).
A sensor on the Jawbone’s inner surface rests gently against your cheek detecting vibrations produced by your speech instead of picking up sounds produced by your mouth. This enables the Jawbone to isolate your words from the ambient noise around you, dampening the latter so your caller hears more of your voice with less background noise.
Since using the Jawbone, I’ve had only a fraction of the I-can’t-hear-you complaints common with other headsets I’ve used. If you need the level of headset clarity I do, you should find the Jawbone worth every penny of its $120 retail price.
JottSometimes a simple, free, stand-alone utility will fill a need you’d be willing to pay to have filled. Jott is one of those utilities.
Here’s how it works. You let Jott get to know you first: your e-mail address and phone number, that is. Next — often when you’re on the road — you call Jott’s toll-free number and say something into your phone like, “Pick up an anniversary gift before the weekend or suffer the consequences.” By the time you get back to your e-mail inbox, the reminder will be waiting for you as text in the body of an e-mail. Jott has used its voice recognition feature to convert your message to the written word.
You can send messages to others, too. And did I mention that it’s free?