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two locations:  one user

Posted on 2001-06-04
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I need to set up offices in two locations for myself.  I have a computer in 1 office already.  I've thought of either getting a second computer and a removable hard drive that I could interchange at either location, or geting a laptop, and two docking stations.  What would be the best way to have all my information at either location?
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Question by:otwelmr
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by:melchioe
ID: 6153075
Ease of use would indicate to me that the laptop and two docking stations would be the least hassle (imho).  I've done several of these things, and as long as there does not need to be a computer in both places at once, the docking station is probably the best solution.  A desktop computer with a removable hard drive will tend to be quite a bit slower (at least with the removable hard drives I've seen for desktops, like the ORB).  A nice laptop will probably cost about the same or less than two nice desktops, and you won't have to mess with slow hard drives or removing parts.  And you'll have a laptop incase you travel or need to work at home (ugh).
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by:magarity
ID: 6153089
If this were me, I'd do the laptop and two docking stations idea.  Laptops offer a lot of flexibility.  The main issue:  Are you cool with lugging the thing around?  A serious laptop meant as a desktop replacement will be moderately heavy.  Like in the 6.5 to 7.5 pound range.  By that, I'm expecting you to get one with a large screen, at least 14 inches.  Maybe one of the 15 inch models.  Of course, if you get docking stations, it's easy to have an external monitor of whatever size you please hooked up, but that's an expense you'd have to decide for yourself.

The best answer is: Which of those options fits your budget the best?  If you already have one computer at site #1 but then get a docking station for a laptop there, you'll need to find work for the existing computer.  Perhaps a backup server for the laptop's data as well as something to use if the laptop goes on the fritz.

A laptop with x-power of CPU and hard drive will cost a lot more than another desk machine with x-power, even if you factor in a removeable hard drive.  As I said, it's up to your budget.

regards,
magarity
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by:slink9
ID: 6153228
A slower, but cheaper option is to use a remote control program to access the data on one machine from the other.
If it is just a matter of carrying data back and forth you could get either two internal CD-RWs or one external (parallel or USB) CD-RW.  I believe the two internals will be the best option if you will not need to add a third computer since my experience is that the externals cost about twice as much.  Of course, if you add a third and fourth (fifth, sixth, seventh ...) computer you can use the external on them whereas you would need to acquire internals for them also.
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by:slink9
ID: 6153233
CD-RW will also give you a good backup medium, although it is rather slow.  It takes about a half day to back up my 7G drive to CD-RW (and verify, of course).
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by:melchioe
ID: 6153277
Ease of use would indicate to me that the laptop and two docking stations would be the least hassle (imho).  I've done several of these things, and as long as there does not need to be a computer in both places at once, the docking station is probably the best solution.  A desktop computer with a removable hard drive will tend to be quite a bit slower (at least with the removable hard drives I've seen for desktops, like the ORB).  A nice laptop will probably cost about the same or less than two nice desktops, and you won't have to mess with slow hard drives or removing parts.  And you'll have a laptop incase you travel or need to work at home (ugh).
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by:bparnes
ID: 6153306
I think I want to put in a plug for going the removable hard drive route. My suggestion probably uses a different device to facilitate things than what the previous experts probably had in mind when they talked about being "quite a bit slower." My suggestion should not result in any slowdown at all.
 
What I have in mind is a device that externalizes the attachment of a standard 3.5" IDE hard drive to a desktop computer. The device is a bay that in turn fits into a standard 5.25" external bay on a desktop computer.  Here's a link to what I have in mind:
     http://www.compgeeks.com/details.asp?invtid=GN210

You'd need to have two identically equipped desktop computers, one for each location. You'd install one of the hard drive bays in each of the computers as well. You'd then be in a position to plug your hard drive into one of the computers and use it as normal. When you're done, you take the hard drive out and schlepp it to the other computer, where you plug it in and it continues to work as expected. (Remember that this is made much easier when the two computers are hardware identical.) The only thing you move back and forth is the hard drive. This approach has the benefit of allowing either computer to be used when the drive is on the road with you. Just equip each potential other user with their own drive, and show 'em how to attach it to the drive dock.

On the other hand, if what you really want is to be able to carry your data around with you, and you perceive the hard drive or the lap top as being the way to do that, there is a third option, and that is to use CD-RW drives in each machine, and just carry a small handful of RW-CDs back and forth.

As you can see, there are always multiple approaches to solving a particular problem. Often the "answer" lies in the details that get revealed after we discuss all the other issues that aren't mentioned initially. So, to get that process underway, perhaps you might describe what "all my information" entails.
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by:mwinter
ID: 6153312
For two computers to 'share' one removeable hard drive between them, the hardware set up would have to be the same for both as this information would be stored in the Registry of the OS that resides on the hard drive.  If the specs were different, one of the computers would not boot.
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by:bparnes
ID: 6153440
I tried to emphasize that the two computers should have the same hardware. However, even if they didn't, it's a bit of a stretch to say that "one of the computers would not boot." It would be far more accurate to say that the two computers would be constantly be engaged in plug 'n pray reconfiguration at boot up. It would slow things down at boot a fair bit, but I doubt it would be a show stopper.
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by:Steves2001
ID: 6153613
Why worry about lugging the operating system about on the HD?  Just get a USB external drive and transfer the data.

Or spend #300 and get a Iomega Jaz drive

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santiagoc earned 50 total points
ID: 6153794
Just like everyone else already said, the double-laptop option is the easiest one, but if you are not a big laptop fan, you can just interconnect the things with DSL and a remote control program, if you don't want to spend that monthly money on DSL, you can put an ordinary modem on both computers and log-on to the other one by phone and remote it, the DSL solution is more expensive but faster than two modems. This is, of course if you are not a big laptop fan. I would go for the laptop and docking stations (at least that's what i do to work and I'm doing alright so far)
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by:slink9
ID: 6153821
Welcome aboard, santiagoc.
Please read the suggestions below about answers versus comments.  You should definitely not post someone else's comments as an answer.  Please chnage your answer to a comment.
Following this protocol allows the poster to accept the comment that is the most helpful.
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by:slink9
ID: 6156084
Customer Service?
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by:slink9
ID: 6156100
otwelmr, why did you accept the answer that was clearly a reiteration of other comments?
What was the final resolution?
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by:magarity
ID: 6156164
What's up with this?  santiagoc gets credit for saying 'Just like everyone else already said'??

And then alternatively recommending a VPN which is too tricky for an inexperienced person to set up securely...
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by:Steves2001
ID: 6156945
Does anyone read the info on comment vs answers?  Manners seem to be a problem with newbies these days
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by:otwelmr
ID: 6157335
The question was locked, and I was prompted to either reject it or accept it.  Because the question was really one of opinion, I don't know how I could not have accepted any of the comments.  How should I ask a question like this one, when all I am really looking for is comments, not an "answer" per se.  Also, what decides whether a response is an answer or a comment?  I'm relatively new to this site.  Thanks
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by:bparnes
ID: 6157893
The questioner should think of accepting an answer as equivalent to closing discussion on a question. So a questioner should only accept an answer when s/he is satisfied that her/his issue is resolved to her/his satisfaction. Once that has been decided then the questioner should award the points to the expert who most contributed to reaching that satisfactory state of affairs, in her/his opinion. Questioners should have no qualms about rejecting a proposed answer if it doesn't meet two criteria:
  1. The issue has been resolved in a satisfactory manner, and
  2. The person proposing the answer was the one who most contributed to the meeting of the first criterion.

Likewise an expert should refrain from proposing an answer rather than a comment, if s/he has any doubts about the proposed answer satisfying either of the criteria already mentioned.

I think most everyone who reads this question will agree that mistakes (albeit innocent, made out of ignorance of the normal culture that is supposed to operate in these parts) were made by both parties. It's a shame that the design of Experts Exchange results in these kinds of mistakes being made over and over. When I see mistaken behavior being done repeatedly in software that I've created, I tend to blame my software design, and not the users. I encourage everyone here to feel the same way and not blame the novice users of this software for making these mistakes.
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