I am going through some changes, dear reader: I have decided to quit my corporate day job and start my own consulting/training business, starting on April 9th, 2007. I could use your help here: I’d appreciate it greatly if you could offer me leads on Sql Server, Oracle, and MySQL consulting and training gigs. I will write more on my business plan in a future post.
I wrote here before about software I considered essential. With my fledging new business, I thought I need to get some cheap and reliable mobile communication services. Hence, this post.
1. Voice communication
Which cell phone company do you recommend? I have looked at all the major ones. At this point, I am leaning toward Cingular’s GoPhone Pay As You Go ($100, 25c/minute, valid for one year) and Virgin Mobile’s Pay By the Minute plan ($20 every 90 days, 18c/minute). Cingular seems to have better phones. The things I am not clear yet are coverage issues, and rates for web browsing when I need to check my email on the road.
I downloaded Skype and tested it out today. It showed some promises. Skype sells a service called SkypeOut, $30 per year for unlimited phone calls to US and Canada. Combining that with a cheap cell phone, it looks like that should satisfy voice communication needs. Any alternatives on PC to phone service will be appreciated.
2. Laptop recommendations
I am in the market for a laptop. I’ve seen a HP dual core with 2 GB of memory selling around $1000 that I am interested. I need to look at that again, I do remember it got a built-in web cam and microphone, which can be nice. What kind of laptop(s) do you recommend?
3. Chat and video cam service
I’ve used both MSN chat and Google Talk, only for a handful of times, though. I like Google Talk’s simple and elegant interface (no software installation needed). What chat and video cam service do you recommend? I guess that can be a particularly good way to stay in touch with friends and family when one is on the road. What do you think of Skype’s chat and video conference functions? What other advice do you have?
4. I think I will be using GMail exclusively. Google Calendar and Applications are also interesting. What other advice do you have for a consultant on the road?
4 responses to “Seeking mobile communication advice”
1. It is not the best phone service, but I really dig the T-Mobile Sidekick series. I am on a Sidekick 2, after Color Sidekick and original Sidekick. I just discovered the Sidekick ID, which has the same rugged case as the Sidekick 2, but with the improved software found in the Sidekick 3, but cutting out expensive features like Bluetooth, MP3 player, camera . . . I like the Sidekick because the user interface is really slick and user-friendly, and the keyboard is a pleasure to thumb-type on. You can do IM and e-mail, including GMail-through-the-web-browser, from wherever you are. The phone is mediocre and it doesn’t sync up with Exchange . . . I haven’t tried syncing Calendar with Google or anything either . . . the Google Calendar notifications-via-SMS have been sufficient for me.
2. I’m partial to the Dell Latitude D600 series, myself. But those are best when you get an employer to buy them for you. My friend came through town this week and impressed me with his Fujitsu Lifebook P 1610 . . . it is very portable–the keyboard is a bit small, and a tablet PC. He was running Gentoo Linux comfortably, even with the rotating screen bit. The display is nice and it can do some passive solar-light stuff that makes it readable in sunlight with very low power consumption. He says he gets a few hours battery life on the thing, but you can get a bigger battery. He says he got it refurbished from Fujitsu through eBay, where they dump their inventory.
Personally, I am curious as to how you structure time and manage / track work so as to get important things done. But that’s more something I get to work out for myself. Good luck!
Yes, and the killer app on the Sidekick that you don’t find on other gadgets: an SSH client!
I looked at Sidekick, and decided against it. The main reason is that I was looking for a phone and a good call deal. GMail and web is needed but secondary to calling functions. Cingular has the minutes rollover thing, which I dig. I then bought Cingular’s phone and plan from Amazon, ’cause you get a better phone with same or less money at Amazon. The one I got is Razr V3xx. It has 3G. In my comparison test at a Cingular store, 3G web connection speed is vastly superior to that of non 3G. The phone has MP3, but so far I haven’t used that yet.
After traveling with my phone for the last month, I am not satisfied. Sometimes I don’t get people’s phone calls, sometimes the call is dropped in the middle of conversation. Now I am stuck with the 2-year contract. I may go back to Nextel, which was provided to me from my former employer. I didn’t have any call related issues with Nextel.
SSH on Sidekick is nice. I will keep it in mind when the need arises.
For laptop, I got HP Pavilion dv6253 for about one grand. So far I am happy with it, although it is a tad heavier than I would like. I should have wiped out the pre-installed Vista, though. Dell’s recent Linux laptop/desktop got me excited lately, although I don’t think I would buy any computer hardware in the next 6 months or so.
I will write more on my business and time management. Right now I am selling my body to various consulting companies who have good name recognition and marketing. They then subcontract stuff out to me. Currently it is mostly high-end Sql Server stuff.
Oh, one more reason I didn’t pick Sidekick: porn star Paris Hilton owns (or at least used to) it. However, I am not looking down at you, though 🙂
[…] I purchased a laptop soon after this post. It was a HP Pavilion dv6253cl Notebook, pre-loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium Edition. This machine has 2 gig of RAM, 120 gig of hard disk space, and AMD Turion Dual Core processor. I bought it at Costco, 1000 bucks plus tax. It has a built-in card reader and webcam. […]