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Setup office center with the following things in mind.

Posted on 2003-11-27
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We would like to be set up to start an office at home. This may be for 4 to 6 months and then we would transfer to a proper office, so whatever we do should be transportable. Here are the items:

- 2 new PC's…….. maybe Dell? Fast and best available. Possibly raid for   redundancy

- Teamboard system  http://www.teamboard.com/

- Projection units for the computers. one fixed overhead and one portable -- reasonably priced

- Video conference set up.
2 locations  

Polycom

http://www.polycom.com/products_services/0,1816,pw-4353,00.html

  $600 version.


-      1 small (Light) laptop for traveling - road shows - CD, DVD long battery life etc.

-      Portable light printer for road shows.

-      Back up system (i.e. tape, DVD, or, otherwise) to automatically backup our files on network

-      All in one fax, copier, scanner unit

-      Other comments

I would like as much of the system as possible to be wireless for ease of re-locating and hook-up. For example if it is possible: o Computers to internet o Computers to projectors o Computers to Teamboard o Computers to Server


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Question by:john
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AlbertaBeef earned 500 total points
ID: 9835125
Considering what you'll be doing with the systems, I would recommend Dell, but only if you opt for the on-site support warranty that's available, so you reduce the downtime in the event of a hardware malfunction.  You can get next-day onsite warranty for both their desktops and their laptops.

Dell doesn't make the fastest computers, or the best for that matter, but when it comes to corporate situations, their service (if you get the onsite option, anyway) is very good.  It doesn't matter if you buy the fastest computer available if it takes three weeks to get it repaired and you have a presentation this coming Tuesday . . .

We frequently have our repairs completed same day with Dell (they contract it out to other companies, but they do well meeting the contracted times), and it's always been next day at latest.  Of course, we have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30,000 dell computers too, so they probably like us and want us to be happy...

I haven't personally used the teamboard product:  We use a 'smartboard' in our office (same thing, only different).  We have one Desktop PC in our conference room.  It's connected both to a projector and to the smartboard that we use.  It's a very simple thing to do, just follow the manufacturers instructions and install the software for the electronic whiteboard of your choice.  We had no problems getting ours operational.

For a backup, your best bet if you want to do automated backups is a tape unit.  If you're not backing up huge amounts you can get one fairly inexpensively and just use ntbackup and schedule it to run daily.  If you're backing up huge amounts, you might want to consider an LTO drive and decent backup software.  But in most small office environments you really don't need to.

For portable printers our laptop users are using HP products: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF02a/18972-236251-236267.html and we have the occasional issues, but for the most part they're happy with them.

There's a good review of multifunction devices available here: http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20030407/index.html

and the current recommendations are HP PSC 2210 and if on a budget, the Lexmark X125.

For wireless networking I'd recommend making sure your notebook comes with built-in 802.11b wireless technology and then buy a 802.11b PCI NIC for your PC, and a wireless broadband router.  That way you can have internet for both machines, setup a soho network, and can move them around to your hearts content.  Just an aside:  If getting 802.11b I'd recommend NOT using a 2.4GHz cordless phone -  they can interfere.  Although there's other wireless available for soho solutions, the 'B' does give the best range.

I just setup a wireless linksys network for a small home-office here today, actually, and was very pleased with the linksys broadband products.  They were inexpensive and went together without a hassle.  The customer got their wireless on a budget and are very pleased as well.
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by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9835140
Regarding the use of RAID for redundancy.  If you're backing up daily, you won't lose much information anyway, but if you want that added security you can setup a raid mirror pretty easily with a promise raid controller.  they're cheap like borscht (whatever that means.  I assume borscht is cheap to make) and work very well.
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by:Callandor
ID: 9838015
For reasonably priced projectors, I recommend the Infocus X1 - small, but puts up an image good enough in quality for viewing movies.

I prefer laser-based printers for their lower consumables cost (especially if you print a lot) and HP for their reliability and quality - if you can afford it, the HP Laserjet 3330mfp http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/4505-3182_16-9687675.html?tag=txt.  If that's too pricey, an ink jet with lower ink costs/page is the Canon Multipass F30 http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/Canon_MultiPass_F30/4505-3181_16-7102172-2.html?tag=review.
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by:john
ID: 9846153
I guess the o Computers to projectors o Computers to Teamboard wireless would not be practical

 We have one Desktop PC in our conference room.  It's connected both to a projector and to the smartboard that we use
do you use projector to project on smartboard or a pull down screen
how do they work together?


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by:Callandor
ID: 9846255
I think you write on the smartboard and it shows up on the other computers.  You substitute the projector for the monitor (or add to, if you have a multiple output display card).  The smartboard is an input device, and the projector is an output device.
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by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9846520
Yes, the projector projects  onto the smartboard the image from the PC.

However, as you 'write' on the smart board, the things you write are transferred into the PC.  You can then have it do text recognition, etc., and input anything you put onto the board into your meeting.  It's a great way for presentations and team meetings to input all the ideas,etc.
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by:john
ID: 9848351
I will go for a DVD backup they were complaining about having to change tapes before


Now all I have to do is the video conferencing part
I think the polycoms are glorified video cams?
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by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9848370
Well, they'll still have to put in DVD's . . .   Tapes are more standard than DVD's for backup, and more software supports it.
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by:Callandor
ID: 9850008
The polycoms do look like packaged webcams - nothing someone couldn't put together themselves; slicker-looking, though.
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Author Comment

by:john
ID: 9851827
I'm surprised there isn’t more choice in web cams without paying an arm and a leg for a better quality one
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9878804
Have you checked out Dlink's offering?
 http://www.dlink.com/products/DVC-1000/electronicHouseAward.asp
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by:john
ID: 9879902
Thanks looks real god
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by:john
ID: 9880124
Only problem would be sharing files and applications like power point etc.
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9880490
it's h323, you could set up a netmeeting conference and serve apps up that way
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by:john
ID: 9883392
Would it work on a computer monitor instead of a tv
Whats h323?
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by:Callandor
ID: 9883427
>Whats h323?
A standard for collaboration communication:
http://www.packetizer.com/iptel/h323/papers/primer/
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by:john
ID: 10092028
Follow up

Teamboard for Wall Mount Only - Charcoal or Anodized Frame 60" w x 48" h - - $2890.00
Teamboard Cabinet 60" w x 48" h - - ( 1 - Bullnose Wood Series ) - - $ 4800.00
Teamboard Cabinet 60" w x 48" h - - ) 2 - Bullnose Etex Series ) - - $ 4200.00

( 1 - Bullnose Wood - Teamboard wood cabinet venier finish options - black oak, dark oak, medium oak, light oak, maple, mahogany, walnut and cheery )

( 2 - Teamboard Etex Cabinet Finish - Etex Polymer surfacing options: taupe, putty, platinum, sand, gray, slate, charcoal and black )

Teamboard Connections - TeamBoard WiFi connects the TeamBoard to a computer without wires. WiFi addresses flexible room set-up with widely accepted, industry-standard (802.11B) wireless technology. Specify the compact WiFi adapter on your next TeamBoard, or order it as an upgrade for existing TeamBoards - NEW PRODUCT - EGAN IS CLOSED TODAY - WILL SEND YOU PRICING TOMORROW...

Sharp PG-A20x LCD Projector - 2000 ANSI Lumens, 3000 Hour Pro-Rated Bulb Warranty, 3 years parts & Labour, 2 year pro-exchange program. - - $ 3195.00

Polycom Via Video II - NEW PRODUCT - - $830.00

Labour & Installation - to be confirmed with site visit - not including electrical work - - including approximately 15' of high resolution VGA cable, S-Video, Composite Video Connection -- - $ 1500.00


Not too keen on  a no name brand  Sharp PG-A20x LCD Projector
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by:Callandor
ID: 10092065
I would think one of the NEC LT series or even the NEC HT1000 would produce a better picture (aka movie quality).  InFocus also makes good projectors for movies.  These are all DLP technology, not LCD, so their pixel fill ratios are much better (less screendoor).
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by:chicagoan
ID: 10092341
H232 is the transport protocol, once received you could display it on whatever that computer has attached.
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