IMPROVING YOUR MOBILE OFFICE INVESTIGATIONS AND ACTIVITIES?
Last month we began sharing some experiences from our RV travels. First, we offered that Autonet Mobile was a reliable mobile hot spot service. Unfortunately, the pricing plan shared with us in August was in error by their representative and it is very much not cost-effective. We have canceled our service.
We are looking for reliable and cost-effective hot spot service - any ideas?
RV life is different, and almost the same as being a professional investigator with the mobility we require. This month, storage and portable computing. But first, a communication tool we forgot to mention last month.
-- Toll-Free Numbers are not as essential as several years ago, but they may attract new clients. With Kall8 at http://kall8.privateinvestigations.org you get several features, all online by you. One number can be your voice and fax, including voicemail and faxmail boxes with messages delivered to your email. You can program it to ring to any number, and also see who is calling. There is also a calling card feature - make inexpensive outgoing calls, identifying your toll-free number. There is no monthly minimum, only the low per-minute cost. You can also transfer (port) an existing number to Kall8.
-- Portable Computing with netbooks, pads and tablets has grown in just the last two years since the major introduction of these devices. We started with using an Acer Netbook. Netbooks are handy for mobility if you have Windows based home or office PCs. This is reliable for mobile needs. But, when you are both mobile and stationary, with lots of travel - multiple devices is inconvenient. We recently opted for one device for our mobile, tablet and PC needs. The Lenovo Yoga is a Windows based PC ultrabook as light as netbook, sized to a laptop, as powerful as a desktop - and converts to a tablet. Wow - time savings with full function mobility.
-- Portable Storage is an absolute must in our profession. When traveling you have three considerations: 1) multiple computers; 2) online storage; 3) portable storage.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is valuable if you have a stationary office. This provides external backup and online access to your records. When mobile, you may have to have multiple computers, and use remote access services to login to your office system. Our office is on wheels and with us, so that was not an option - but we'll address that next month. Multiple computers was how we initially started (as noted above). Using a netbook was easy when one of us was the passenger to work. But, transferring data to our desktop when stationary was too time consuming and troublesome. We solved that problem with our Lenovo PC/Tablets. We'll talk about networking your data next month.
Online storage is limited by access and bandwidth. If you have a Gmail account, the Drive is a good online storage. We don't use their suite of word processing, etc. due to limitations on bandwidth and access. We use DropBox at http://dropbox.privateinvestigations.org for online storage and transfer. You can download the app for your computer, tablets and phones - and set them up to synch between all devices. You can also choose to share a folder with another DropBox account - which automatically synchs their folder. This has been very helpful and time saving for us in our case consultations and reviews. If you have limited access or bandwidth, you may want to limit synching or temporarily use another solution.
For easy file transfer in your pocket, we recommend flash drives for easily transferring files between computers. This Cruzer Flash Drive is a 128GB flash drive with installed programs for your mobile needs. For a more permanent solution, with portability, consider the Western Digital My Passport. This is a solid state USB drive - 1 Terabyte! You can plug this into your computer, network through your router, or use a network solution we'll talk about next month. This is about the size of a square hockey puck, so very portable - consider instead of a flash drive.
Watch our blog at www.MedicolegalPI.com for our mobile PI and travel tips. For more information about what we use for our mobile needs, we feature these at http://amazon.PrivateInvestigations.org under 'Handy Gadgets'.