TOP TECH @ OFFICE

     Print Edition: November 2012

If you want something free beyond Microsoft Office 
While Microsoft Office is considered be best as far as text, spreadsheets, presentations, data management, etc, are concerned, there are good alternatives out there. The most popular is the Apache Open Office, an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It works on all common computers and is available in many languages as well. All the data is stored in an international open-standard format and is capable of reading and writing files from other office software. This free software can be used by individuals, educational institutes and corporate offices. And then there is Google Docs for anyone with a Google account. This office productivity suite offers a set of performance tools and stores everything in the cloud on Google Drive. It also integrates a number of Google services, including Gmail, GChat and Google Calendar.

1. CISCO LINKSYS RANGE EXTENDER RE 1000
Price: Rs 6,499
For any office, seamless wireless connectivity is a necessity. But how do you extend the range of your wireless network? Well, you can install the Cisco Linksys Range Extender RE 1000. True to its name, this device extends the range of your wireless network with its multiple input-output antennae. It also works as a bridge to instantly connect wired devices to the network. Easy to set up, it is compatible with all b/g/n Wi-Fi devices- pretty much all computers and devices. The extender can be either placed on the wall outlet or on the desktop, depending on a particular need.

2. JABRA SPEAK 410 SERIES
Price:
9,858
Handling conference calls at work can become a breeze with the affordably priced Jabra Speak 410 Series. Compact and easy to move around, this Jabra device can be set up to make a conference call while on the move or at home. You need to connect the Speak 410 to a PC to take voice calls or stream music. Ideal for taking calls on speaker mode when in a group, it has also has a 3.5 mm jack for one-to-one conversations.

3. HEWLETT-PACKARD'S Z1 ALL-IN-ONE
Price:
99,990 onwards
Hewlett-Packard's Z1 has been designed to change the way the workstation is perceived. The world's only 27-inch all-in-one can do everything you would expect from a top of the line workstation and comes fully loaded with an Intel Xeon processor, ECC memory, NVIDIA Quadro graphics and more. The Z1 also comes with a toolless chassis, which means you can upgrade or change processors, graphics, pretty much anything by just pulling out the module and swapping it for a new one-all meant to drastically reduce downtime. The 27-inch in-plane switching (IPS) panel can display up to a billion colours making it ideal for design and graphic artists as well as industries that use a lot of visual simulations. The screen can be folded back in a reclining position to open the panel and facilitate the swapping of modules, all without a single cable in sight.

4. SYMANTEC ENDPOINT PROTECTION.CLOUD
Price
on request
This security solution from Symantec is aimed at small and medium businesses and provides comprehensive security for Windows devices and servers, all without installing additional hardware or management software. It provides an effective shield as an antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and host intrusion prevention protect with automated updates. Administrator get complete control over a web-based management controls and can also get live alerts and updates. Easy to set up and manage, this solution from Symantec can keep your business or office safe from all modern day threats.

5. FELLOWES POWERSHED P-35C
Price:
3,315
The risk of sensitive information and documents falling into wrong hands can be lessened by the use of a paper shredder. The Fellowes P-35c is the perfect deskside shredder. It cross-cuts up to five sheets of paper in one pass into small, unreadable pieces. The shredder has a powerful motor that helps in rending credit cards, staples and even paper clips. To prevent accidental shredding, a safety lock has been included.

6. BENQ LW61 ST
Price:
1,50,000
This DLP-based laser projector from BenQ has the looks to impress. It has been done in white with the controls lying on the top. A host of connectivity options has been placed at the back. These include LAN, VGA port, HDMI port and USB port. The LW61 ST has a 2000 ANSI lumens lamp that is bright and comes with a claimed lamp life of over 10,000 hours. The two 10W speakers onboard offer decent audio. While it is good at projecting content from 80 inches to 300 inches, it performs well even when a short throw is required. Unlike other projectors, the laser lamp in the LW61 ST does not generate heat and can be used for long durations.

7. PORTRONICS ELECTRONIC PEN
Price:
7,999
The Portronics electronic pen is an intelligent way of taking notes as it digitally records and stores what you scribble. It comes with a receiver, which has to be attached to the paper on which you write. It can be attached to a sheet, notebook or a bunch of papers. After writing, press the key on the receiver to save the content. The receiver can store up to 100 pages. You can transfer it to the PC using the proprietary software. The scribbled notes can also be converted to digital text for editing. The pen can also be used while connected to the PC.

8. ZICOM CCTV SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM & ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM
Price
on request
Just as at home, a workplace too should have complete protection. Consider installing CCTV surveillance cameras and access control system for keeping an eye on trespassers and stopping unwanted people from entering office premises. CCTV cameras are available in different variants-dome, IR bullet, box, etc. Using a Biometric Access Control System will introduce a professional fingerprint access and time attendance control system for more confidential locations and sections.

9. SAMSUNG SERIES 9
Price:
1,02,990
The Samsung Series 9 might be the thinnest notebook (or Ultrabook) around, but it is also super powerful thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor coupled with 4GB RAM. When we say thin, we mean a maximum thickness of 0.64 inches and a thinnest point of 0.5 inches. This also means that the Series 9 weighs just 1.16 kg. With a tough Duralumin unibody design, spacious trackpad and backlit keys, this notebook also has utility as one of its priorities. The 13.3-inch SuperBright Plus widescreen display is sharp and vivid with audio quality to match. Then there is a software launched dock on the screen to make life a bit easier.

10. CANON PIXMA E600
Price:
Rs 8,759
A workspace can never be complete without a printer, scanner and copier. The smart way is to get a good all-in-one with fax integration. This one from Canon, the Pixma E600, can print up to 800 pages with its low-cost, high-capacity ink cartridge. There are some additional features like auto document feeder and fax. A number of controls along with the display make it easy to use. The prints in both standard and high modes were crisp. It also quickly scans documents. A new cartridge costs around Rs  695 for the Pixma E600.

 WORKING ON THE CLOUD
The Cloud is not such a big deal. In fact, getting there is as simple as opening an email account. While there might be limitations to how much of the cloud storage you can avail of for free, it would still complement your office work in a big way, letting you access important files wherever you are and also aid collaborating with others without the need to sit across a table from them.

GOOGLE DRIVE: Add this as a folder in My Documents and keep syncing all your important files to the cloud. You will be able to access these files anywhere, anytime. Used with software provided by the service provider, you will be able to open and edit files, even those for which you don't have a licence.

MICROSOFT SKYDRIVE:
When Windows 8 comes all your work will be synced to the cloud so that you can continue work wherever you are. The sync is also real time and multiple users collaborate on a single file when needed.

EVERNOTE: If you see something interesting while browsing, you can clip it entirely or in parts using the Evernote Webclipper, a widget you add to browsers. The clips can be accessed later from any device. It can also save documents using the app and retrieve or share them.

DROPBOX: Use this to save whole folders to the cloud and access the same from your phone or tablet. While it can act as a good backup for your files, the service can also be used to share these large files with anyone.

NIVIO: This service lets you open and edit most Microsoft Office files from Google Drive as and when needed. With a nivio account you can also have a Windows desktop in the cloud, which you can access from any computer anywhere.

4SHARED: 4shared, and its PC programme 4sync, work like any other cloud service, syncing your stuff online. But this service also has a whole new dimension, where it lets you access other cloud services from its platform.


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