Spruce up your email habits

YES, YOU CAN AF­FORD NOT TO LEAVE HOME FOR WORK— THERE ARE TECH­NOLO­GIES THAT HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF DO­MES­TIC BLISS.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - BY TUSHAR KAN­WAR

The email in­box is of­ten a repos­i­tory of use­less clut­ter. You can not only get rid of all an­ti­quated stuff ly­ing there, but also en­sure the se­cu­rity of all mail­ing ac­tiv­ity with the help of a few great aids.

Live where you work and work where you live—quite the dream for most of us, isn’t it? Imag­ine the ben­e­fits: no daily hour-long com­mutes, no dress code, no of­fice dis­tur­bances, and the lib­erty to wake up late! But it’s no longer an im­pos­si­bil­ity. To round off the work-fromhome ex­pe­ri­ence, there’s some great tech out there—stuff you should se­ri­ous con­sider as in­vest­ments if you’re plan­ning to set up shop at home.

1 NO PAIN, ALL GAIN

Work­ing from home in­vari­ably means ex­tended phone-calls—and cradling the phone against your ear is just a pain in the neck. In­vest in a good stereo hands-free so­lu­tion, such as the Sennheiser MM100 or the Plantron­ics Back­beat 903+, which not only give you su­per com­fort­able hands-free use for sev­eral hours but can also pipe stereo mu­sic from your lap­top in be­tween calls.

2 THE HEAT IS ON

You do know that pro­longed ex­po­sure to over­heat­ing lap­tops tends to fry more than just your lap­top’s in­ter­nals, don’t you? If you work from the couch more of­ten than the desk, pick up a lap­top cool­ing pad from among many op­tions avail­able from Belkin and Log­itech. The Lap­top Cool­ing Hub from Belkin, for in­stance, not only cools the lap­top via an in-built fan for cor­rect air cir­cu­la­tion, but also pro­vides four USB 2.0 ports to plug your ex­ter­nal de­vices like an ex­ter­nal mouse or a flash drive. Or take the Log­itech N700. It throws in in­te­grated stereo speak­ers so you don’t have to suf­fer crappy au­dio via the lap­top speak­ers again.

3 CHOOSE THE CLOUD

Work­ing out­side an or­gan­i­sa­tion has its down­sides—there’s no IT staff to sum­mon when your hard­ware goes belly-up. For­tu­nately, with cloud­based pro­duc­tiv­ity suites, such as those from Mi­crosoft, ZOHO and Google, and stor­age op­tions like Skydrive and Drop­box, you can now work for free or by pay­ing, at most, low monthly sub­scrip­tions. An added ben­e­fit with most cloud-based suites is that col­lab­o­ra­tion with other par­tic­i­pants and shar­ing con­tent are in­her­ent to their DNA. Plus, if you tag them along with a wire­less broad­band con­nec­tion, they’re avail­able to you on the road as well, across one or all of your de­vices.

4 STAY FIT

No time to ex­er­cise? Work­ing from home shouldn’t mean that you won’t be able to stay fit. Apart from tak­ing er­gonomic pre­cau­tions, what if you could ac­tu­ally work out while work­ing? The Mini Home Ex­er­cise Cy­cle lets you do your car­dio du­ties while you work at your desk. And it’s priced rather rea­son­ably, so it fits both your bud­get and un­der the ta­ble (http://bit.ly/gjxswm). Plus, for the health con­scious, the Fitbit Ul­tra de­vice is a per­fect buy—it tracks your ev­ery move, let­ting you keep on top of how many calo­ries you’ve burned, how well you slept, etc, and up­loads the data to your iphone or to the web for you to an­a­lyse where you can im­prove.

5 TAKE NOTES

If your work in­volves long phone calls and tak­ing notes, try out the Live­scribe se­ries of smart pens. These nifty pens record ev­ery­thing you hear, say and write and links your au­dio record­ings with your notes. Pull up im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion any­time by just tap­ping on what you wrote, and the soft­ware plays back the re­lated au­dio. How cool is that!

6 BUY A TABLET/SMART­PHONE

Blind­ingly ob­vi­ous as it may be, a tablet is a great as­set for the work-from-home-folks. Why? You can’t re­ally lug a lap­top when you want to run an er­rand or drop by at the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket, can you? And when you pick up your tablet of choice, also en­sure you lug home the Luxa2 H4 stand, which se­cures an ipad or a Kin­dle or any other tablet/e-reader to your desk. You can then use the tablet to keep an eye on alerts like email and stocks, and with the right app, you can even ex­tend your desk­top ap­pli­ca­tions onto the tablet.

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