Cheap tech gear for telecommuting jobs in Colorado

Colorado is a wonderful state to visit for business or pleasure. This summer my wife and I will be spending almost a month there. We have a housesitter for home and will be staying at a cabin at 10,500 ft. For the portion of the stay where I’ll be working (telecommuting) I have tried out a variety of hardware and software for the job.

If you are thinking about telecommuting from Colorao, this post illustrates a surprisingly capable telecommuting setup for a very low price… Here’s a photo taken with the Sony camera described below and processed with the Acer laptop below…

Mountains and wildflowers diagonal

#1 Laptop: Acer Aspire One A0722 11.6″ notebook/netbook $200

We picked this up in Pueblo Colorado at Target. It was $249 plus they gave us a free $50 gift card. Bringing the effective cost down to $200!

AO722-BZ454 | Product Modelhttp://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/LU.SFT02.002Aspire One 722 AO722-BZ454 ( LU.SFT02.002 ) Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium – 64-bit version – AMD C-Series Processor C-50 (1.0GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – 2GB DDR3…

 

 

Pros:
+The 11.6″ screen is fairly nice (for the price) with a good resolution 1366×768.
+The CPU is a dual core AMD model C-50 which offers surprisingly good performance and battery life of 4-5 hours.

+Upgrades are VERY easy on this machine, one screw allows access to the RAM and a few more screws will have the hard drive out.
+The first thing I did was upgrade the HD to a SSD, with that upgrade performance is very acceptable for most tasks (web, word processing, basic photo tasks)
+The fan on the system is quiet, though it does kick on quite often
+Built in SD card reader, HDMI port and three USB 2.0 ports (USB 3.0 would have been nice!)
+Built in video camera and microphone for videoconferencing

Cons:
-Keyboard… I find it very hard to type on the Acer’s keyboard!
-Build quality… the Acer just feels a little cheap. Nothing has broken, and nothing is threatening to, but it just feels like a low price machine (which it is!)

#2 Camera: Sony WX5

If your telecommuting job requires you to do basic photography then you are definitely going to need a digital camera. :-)

I brought a variety of cameras with me as both my job and my personal life require a range of photography equipment. One of the most pleasant surprises has been the Sony CyberShot WX-5 camera. This inexpensive compact camera does a very nice job in good light. Specifically, in the bright mountain sunlight it really excels. Indoors or in dimly lit environments it struggles.

Amazon.com: Sony DSC-WX5/B WX Series, 3D Sweep Panorama, Exmor R CMOS Sensor: Camera & Photo 

Amazon.com: Sony DSC-WX5/B WX Series, 3D Sweep Panorama, Exmor R CMOS Sensor: Camera & Photohttp://www.amazon.com/Sony-DSC-WX5-Sweep-Panorama-Sensor/dp/B003VC8QDCTechnical Details Supplied Accessories – Rechargeable Battery (NP-BN1), Battery Charger, Multi-connector Cable, wrist Strap, Paint Pen, CD-ROM Features 12.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor…

 

 

One of the nicest features is the panorama sweep, you can take a panorama with the press of a button and a swivel/sweep of the camera!

Pano example #1:

Pano example #2:

(click for larger versions!)

+Video quality is also very good for a camera of this size and price.

+I recommend checking eBay for the WX5 as they can often be found for less than $100 on there…

More info…

(to be updated)

The purpose of this short post was to give you a couple of low cost gear options for getting your job done cheaply and with a minimum of bulk!

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