Get your office to work in harmony
With the ever-increasing use of computers, it is hardly surprising that some people now have more than one machine in their SoHo (small office home office).
For instance, a husband and wife who both do a lot of work at home may have separate computers, or a family might have one PC for the parents and one for the children.
A frequent traveller might have a desktop machine at home and a laptop for the road.
Whatever the circumstances, it is not surprising that low-cost networking options are beginning to emerge to help people connect all these computers together.
In a SoHo environment, there are a variety of solutions, depending on your needs. If you simply want to share files between two machines, then the simplest method is still to copy them to floppy disks and manually transfer them to the second computer.
Unfortunately, this method does not work with large multimedia files and the like.
In these cases, some kind of network connection is needed. Visit any computer mall these days and you are likely to see shops selling small hubs from about $400.
However, with these you need a network card installed in your computer. For laptop users, this is not such a problem as 10 mbps Ethernet PCMCIA cards are now quite common.
If you want to share a printer then there are several other options. For instance, on some Hewlett-Packard printers there are two ports, allowing you to connect two computers at the same time.
Alternatively, you might want to try a printer sharer from a company such as Getex.
These sharers work by having an adapter that plugs into the printer, which can support connections from several computers.
You need to buy not only the adapter for the printer, but also an adapter for your computer's parallel printer port.