CLNC® consultants often ask me, “Tom, should I buy a laptop or desktop for my legal nurse consulting business?” As always, my answer is firm and definite: “Well, my CLNC® amigo, it depends.” I love my laptop, but then again, I’m a mobile user shifting between the home office, the office office, the airplane office and the road office. On any given day I can be working from my lap in some mobile location. I’ll be logged into the Institute’s network through my Verizon wireless card from a conference room, camped out on the couch in our hotel room and once (well, maybe twice) in the backseat of a hotel’s airport shuttle van crunching away on a deadline.
Certified Legal Nurse Consultants have long known that one of the issues with laptops is that you must occasionally close them. When you do, the screen collects dust and worse, marks develop from the pressing of the screen against the keys. The longer you run it while it’s docked and shut, the more dust it seems to collect – kind of like little techie dust bunnies. When you finally open your laptop up in an attorney’s office, on an airplane or in the hot tub (just kidding), the screen will be marked and dirty. Kleenex® doesn’t cut it for cleaning (you really need microfiber cloth) and if you use it (even it’s clean) you’ll end up working in a haze or fog.
I had a chance to stand in line and look at the iPad this past week. As I always am with Apple products, I was very impressed with quality and display. It seemed to be an iPod Touch with a monster steroid problem, a little big to clip to your belt and too limited to replace your laptop.
The other day, an Institute staff member came into my office and complained that her computer was running slowly. I asked her if it was slower than normal and she looked at me sort of funny, then said yes. We went back to her desk to assess things. She had her usual 30 programs running with more open windows than a New Orleans nunnery in the summer.
I then asked when she had last turned off her computer.
I don’t like restraints; I’m a mobile user. I can pick up and go at a moment’s notice and I don’t like to be held down. Vickie snaps her fingers and I say, “How far are we going and how light are we packing?” That means my laptop and wireless card go with me just about everywhere. I use them on planes, trains and even in speeding automobiles (with someone else driving). I use my laptop at home, at work and at the CLNC 6-Day Certification Seminars. I also use it at Starbucks, preferring the security of my own wireless card’s network to one that might possibly be spoofed by some villain.
Last week I talked about what to do when you or someone not close to you anymore, spills a drink onto your laptop. This week I’ll discuss something that’s even more common – a wet cell phone. This is a must read for any cellphone user – wet or dry.
A couple of months ago I jumped on an airplane to Las Vegas for the Institute’s CLNC Certification Program. I normally work on flights. I carry my own water, jack my iPod Classic into my Bose sound-reducing headphones and crank up Prince. I’m so self-contained that the only thing that can ruin my flight is when the guy in front of me leans his seat back into my lap so he can sleep.
I haven’t gotten into the “cloud” yet. Something about keeping my documents in the vast reaches of Cyberspace doesn’t appeal to me. But for a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant who needs to move documents from one computer to another, I tend to prefer “sneakerspace.” This is where USB flash drives (or memory sticks) stand out. I don’t like to email confidential documents and burning them onto a CD is time consuming. Instead I jack a USB drive into one of the spare ports on my computer and drag the document(s) onto the drive. The hardest part is remembering to get the drive back from the recipient. It’s also another way to carry or send a set of your important data, reports, presentations, graphics, etc., from one location to another without having to carry a laptop or burn multiple CDs.
A lot is being said now about the newest form of laptops – the netbook. Laptops were originally designed to be semi-lightweight, portable computers that a legal nurse consultant could easily carry from home to the medical library, to work, to wherever. Soon form was forgotten and notebooks became larger, more powerful and screens became wider. Before long, laptops were “desktop” replacements and almost as heavy to carry.