In the Bag

What’s in My Bag?

As an avid golfer, it is always interesting to know which clubs the professionals are using. I thought extending that concept to computing might be useful to readers.  In this article I’ll tell what hardware and software I use daily and how I use them together to provide a cohesive system that works for me instead of against me.

At the Office

My desktop PC is a Dell Optiplex 755 with 4GB of memory running Windows XP Service Pack 3. I have two 19-inch widescreen monitors with built-in speakers, and a wireless keyboard and mouse. 

I still use Windows XP because that is what many of my customers are using. I have other PCs in my office running both Vista and Windows 7 that I can use when needed.

Since I can remote into a customer’s PC via the Internet to solve problems, I put their screen on one of my monitors while I have the other to run the rest of my software such as e-mail, Internet browsing, and the QuickBooks accounting package.

The built-in speakers and wireless keyboard and mouse provide a less cluttered desktop for me.

Since Byte Savvy is a Microsoft partner, I use Microsoft Office Small Business Edition as my productivity software for creating documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint Presentations, and database applications for internal company use. 

Outlook, Exchange Server and my Motorola Droid are the mainstay of my communication system.  This means that I am never out of touch with the office for e-mail and appointments.

A couple of months ago I started following the “Getting Things Done” productivity system ( designed by David Allen.  I use the Internet-based “Remember the Milk” software system ( to keep track of all my tasks.  Since this software also communicates directly with my Droid phone, I can stay on top of everything wherever I go.  Another helpful book in this area was Getting Organized in the Google Era by Douglas Merrill which helped me refine the system to handle the vast amount of information we are subjected to daily.

In the Field

A good deal of my work is done on the customer’s site where I troubleshoot system problems.  My solution here was to purchase an ASUS 1005HA netbook computer.  I selected this model because it had all the features that I needed:

  • Small and light weight
  • Long battery life (10 hours)
  • Supported an external PowerPoint Projector
  • N-speed wireless capability
  • Bluetooth connectivity

This light-weight companion goes easily with me in my travels for note taking, holding technical reference information, and providing Internet search capabilities with the aid of a mobile AirCard.   As an added benefit, it is great to take along while attending technical conferences.

Communicating on the Go

The last component in my arsenal is the Droid phone that I have been using the last couple of months. This powerful device brings all the pieces together. It helps to keep me on top of my e-mail, tasks, appointments, driving directions, and much, much more.  I will talk about the Droid in detail in a future article.  For now let me just say that Droid Really Does!

In Conclusion

So there you have it.  These are the tools that I use every day to stay in control and get things done for my customers.  In future articles, I will go into greater detail on several of these topics in the hope that you can gain something from my experiences.  By all means, please add comments about what does and doesn’t work for you.

While this didn’t help your golf game any, I hope that it gave you some hints to improve your computing.

About Dick Buchanan

I started working with computers some 25 years ago when my wife, Carol, and I purchased our first PC which was a Kaypro IV CP/M machine. This lead to studying computer science at Seattle Pacific University and becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). During this time I have worked for The Boeing Company, IBM Global Services, and Microsoft. I currently own and operate a local computing services company called Byte Savvy located in Kalispell, MT
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