Even in the dog days of summer there's always some new tech tool to help a small business run more efficiently. Here's a quick look at a few of the latest products that can help keep you rolling along.
Fresh Batteries for Old Laptops
Unleash your laptop you know, the older model that hasn't been further than three feet from a wall socket since its battery went to lithium ion heaven back in 2003. Even a thorough search on eBay failed to find a replacement for it. FreshBattery.com wants to get you mobile again, and so it recently launched its Legacy Power line of batteries designed for more than 1,500 models of aging laptops including those from HP, Compaq, IBM/Lenovo, Apple, Toshiba, Sony and Dell.
Most batteries start to lose their full charge capability at about two years. After that, the charge time can substantially reduce to the point where you can't use the notebook unless it's plugged in to a wall socket. While the laptop's still useable, you lose any mobile advantage.
According to the company, the replacement batteries extend the life of these aging machines, and they provide current-day technology for better performance than the original battery. Bob Schaffer, FreshBattery's vice president of business development, said in a written statement that, Battery cells available today allow users to get greater battery capacity into their older machines. For example, an original Apple PowerBook G4 15 Titanium with 3600 mAh cells would run for two and a half hours. Now with a FreshBattery Legacy Power replacement battery that uses 4400 mAh cells, that same computer will run for 3 hours and 10 minutes.
FreshBattery calls its Legacy Power lined "reasonably priced" with about two-thirds of the stock selling for less than $100.
Audio E-mail: Hit the Brakes on Insanity
It's hard to believe that people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others to read their e-mail and text messages while they're driving. According to a survey on distracted drivers by Nationwide Insurance, one in five people text while driving, and it's even worse among 18 34 year olds, at one out of every three drivers.
If you're constantly on the road running your business, you know how important it is to stay connected. But it's not worth risking your life. That's where Vivee (Voice Interactive Voice Enhanced E-mail) comes in. An online service from USTelematics, Inc., Vivee reads your e-mail and text messages aloud to you from your mobile device.
According to the company, you download the Vivee software to your mobile handheld or laptop. It then connects to the Internet over Verizon's EV-DO network. Vivee uses an animated avatar that appears on the screen of your mobile device and reads your messages to you.
Vivee is compatible with PCs, laptops and Windows Mobile devices. The company expects to release an iPhone-compatible version by the end of the summer. The software costs $29.99. The monthly service fee is $4.99.
Peachtree Travels with TripsWare
Importing travel expenses into a small business accounting program isn't always easy. Can you say double-data entry?
If your employees submit travel and expense reports on a regular basis, and your company uses Peachtree accounting software, you might consider TripsWare. This online travel and entertainment expense management reimbursement system is now officially part of PeachTree's Add-On program.
According to the company, TripsWare automates the steps involved with expense reporting including data capture, allocation, approval, processing and reimbursement. Integration with Peachtree accounting software lets you import all the data into Peachtree, reducing inefficiency, saving time and improving accuracy.
TripsWare is a monthly subscription service. Pricing is based on the number of employees and the number and types of services you choose, but starts as low as $9.95 per person per month.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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