Holiday Tech Gifts to Make Office Life Easier
Of course, you have to show your face in the office every now and again. These gifts will make office time easier for you and your employees.
Laptops and tablets may be taking over the world, but there’s still room in the office for a desktop PC—especially when it’s as sleek as the Acer Aspire ZC-605 all-in-one ($599.99). It packs a huge 19.5-inch HD display in a slim, attractive chassis, and it features an ergonomic frame that tilts from 10 to 30 degrees so everyone is sure to find a comfortable angle for the screen. You can even adjust the built-in HD webcam up to 20 degrees to obtain the best position for videoconferences and video chats.
Figure 4: The Acer Aspire ZC-605 all-in-one desktop PC.
Frequently used ports and buttons are grouped together on the front for easy access, while cable management and keyboard storage save space and reduce clutter. The Windows 8 PC comes with an Intel Pentium Dual Core 2127U processor, Intel HD Graphics and 4GB DDR3 dual-channel memory, all of which are fine for business-productivity chores, and a generous 1TB hard drive provides plenty of storage for applications and files.
Smartphones and tablets have made the life of a business owner much easier—until it comes time to print from such a device. If yours is one of the millions of offices with an HP LaserJet, put the HP 1200w Mobile Print Accessory ($69.99) on your wish list. This hardware device connects to the USB port of supported LaserJet and Officejet Mobile printers and MFP models (generally those 2008 and newer) to allow wireless direct printing and printing via near field communication (NFC) from smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs.
Many small businesses have come to rely on cloud storage and collaboration services such as Dropbox and Box.net to house important documents. And while getting electronic documents into those services from a PC or smartphone is pretty easy, uploading paper documents is a multi-step affair involving a scanner and the associated PC.
The Dell Document Hub service streamlines that process by letting workers scan documents directly from a supported Dell mulitifunction printer to the desired cloud service, with no PC intervention required. You and your employees will also be able to search for files stored in the associated cloud services and print them at the MFP using just the control panel on the MFP (again, no PC required).
What’s more, the service offers OCR (optical character recognition) processing that takes place in the cloud, so you can scan paper documents and create editable files in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats. Dell Document Hub is currently supported on the Dell C2665dnf Multifunction Color Laser Printer ($600), and it supports scanning to and printing from Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SharePoint Online and SkyDrive.
For the boss who finds it easier to talk than to type, Dragon speech-recognition software (from Nuance Communications) is an ideal stocking stuffer. Instead of pecking out emails and other documents one letter at time, Dragon products turn your spoken words into typed text in popular office applications.
It’s perfect for brainstorming sessions (to capture those stream-of-consciousness gems) or for composing emails on the fly. You can even dictate into a digital voice recorder or compatible iOS device, and Dragon will transcribe the audio files. Editions range from $99.99 for the single-user home version to $599.99 for the Professional edition.
Masses of documents, emails, presentations, and information flying around are a hazard of being an entrepreneur. It’s hard to make sure the right people are synced up and on the same page—unless you have the gift of Podio. Brought to you by Citrix (the GoToMeeting people), Podio allows your team to communicate, organize, track and get work done in one place.
This cloud platform is accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection, and it lets you create different workspaces for different projects. Podio Lite supports up to five employees and it's free. Podio Teams offers more features and costs $9 per employee per month.
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