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Home Office Tech Tips


You want reliable, comfortable and efficient tools for your home office. What software and apps help remote workers get organized and connected while making their home offices more efficient and less stressful so that they can get things done?

We'll look at external drives, thumb drives, wireless mice and wireless keyboards.

  • What can a desktop external hard drive do to help you back up important documents? Today, portable hard drives can be taken along with you on trips. Home-office workers appreciate slim design and reliability.
    • When shopping, consider how quickly you can transfer large files like music and photos to the device, and calculate its price per terabyte so you know you're comparing apples to apples.
    • You can expect portable external hard drives to weigh about five ounces and yet whiz along at more than 80 megabytes per second with long-term reliability. Backup software helps users back up files from their phones and computers.
  • For off-site backup, you can install an app on your computer that runs in the background and backs up data from the internet directly to the service. Your backups are safely off-site. It backs up external hard drives as well. Once you set it up with your email and password, it works unobtrusively in the background. A subscription will cost you a few bucks a month.
  • Network-attached storage drives offer support for many third-party apps, with hardware encryption, media streaming, remote access and data protection. These devices can be used as web-hosting devices, backup devices and media streamers. They come with interfaces that are easy to understand. You'll find models that feature two GBs of RAM that can be expanded to six GBs. Hardware-level encryption and an interface that pops out as a widget to show an overview of the drive's health are other attributes you may want to consider. You can also choose a model with a feature that prevents accidental file deletion. You can access files remotely using optional cloud services. Some units will alert you to drive failure, have USB ports, use FTPs and come with VPN server capabilities, IP cameras and UPS compatibility.

Consider various add-ons

  • Thumb drives are useful. What can you look for before purchasing one? Speed, a metal case to prevent accidents and a price somewhere under $30 are all reasonable demands these days for a standard 62-gig drive. Five-year warranties are average for flash drives.
  • When choosing a wireless mouse, look for one that fits your hand size and grip and tracks accurately on most surfaces. Look for a medium size, an ergonomic shape, customizable buttons, long battery life and a three-year limited warranty.
  • If you're interested in adding a Bluetooth keyboard, you should either look for a MAC/iOS or a Windows-specific key layout. Consider a backlit keyboard. Zero in on keyboards that let you quickly swap among multiple devices, have well-spaced keys and feature adjustable backlighting.
    • You may like the ability to instantly switch from your computer to your phone and then to your tablet. Such capabilities come at a price: usually between $60 and $100 more than other keyboards.
    • Other features to consider include built-in rechargeable batteries that charge via Micro-USB cable even when you're using the keyboard, built-in number pad, and USB transceiver for optional RF connectivity while on the go.
    • Don't overlook curved, split keyboards with large, curved wrist pads and chiclet keys. These provide more comfortable typing, especially if you're prone to repetitive stress injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. You can check with your doctor and follow his or her advice based on your personal needs: Some units allow you to detach the keyboard's two pieces to angle them independently to exactly fit your hands.

When you work remotely, you want a working environment that's right for you. Look for the products that keep your workspace efficient and ergonomic.

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Davis & Graves CPA, LLP
Davis & Graves CPA, LLP
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Gresham, OR 97030
Office (503) 665-0173
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