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Helping Small Businesses and Organizations Bridge the Digital Divide


There are many choices for today's laptop consumer. I will highlight some solutions for the small business owner with a tight budget. Fortunately, all the power you need in a laptop can be had at an affordable price.

The most common usages of a laptop are as a desktop replacement and/or travel. If you will use the laptop to replace your desktop, you will want a laptop that has more RAM, CPU power and peripheral connections. For travel, you will want to consider a lighter laptop, portable peripherals (such as a printer, mouse, keyboard, etc...) and additional batteries.

It is important to consider how you will backup your data and synchronize with other computers, such as your desktop computer, if you have one. Both of these functions can be performed using free Microsoft tools; Microsoft Backup for data backup and Microsoft SyncToy for synchronizing between computers. You may also consider purchasing an external hard drive to back up your data. Make sure that the storage capacity on the external hard drive is at least as large as the hard drive on your laptop.

Most modern laptops will come equipped with a built in WIFI card. You can find free Internet access locations here: http://www.jiwire.com/search-hotspot-locations.htm. If you require Internet access wherever you are, consider a mobile broadband account with your cell phone provider. In some cases you can access the Internet through your PDA or cell phone.

Protect your investment with a good insurance and/or warranty policy. You will also want to bring your laptop in to an authorized maintenance provider once a year for cleaning, especially if you travel with the laptop often. Don't forget to invest in a padded case for added security.

Many stores carry quality laptops, such as Costco, Sam's Club, Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA. For ratings and price comparisons, check out http://www.pcworld.com/product/reviewfinder.html?id=6. You can usually find great deals at http://www.dealsea.com; however, check the comments associated with the link before making your purchasing decision. I suggest that you try the laptop out in the store.

Next I will cover Pocket PC's and Smart Phones.

Please send all feedback, topic suggestions and/or questions to TechTalk@AboveTheLimit.com. Digital archives can be found at www.BlackVoiceNews.com and www.IngleWoodToday.com.


Elmer Thomas Jr. is Founder of Above the Limit, Inc., an award winning web and software development company dedicated to bridging the digital divide. You can find out more about Mr. Thomas at www.AboveTheLimit.com.

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