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I use a laptop and smartphone (Verizon) Strong signal and few dead zones.
WiFi is available just about everywhere in my urban setting. All D.C. schools, coffee shops and even some liquor stores have free wifi. Some connections are stronger and faster than others but I have the good ones mapped out already. I can upload to RidgidConnect pretty easily. When no wifi is available, I can tether my Droid to the laptop but that can get expensive if I go over my 5 gig limit.
Verizon Cell phone & MiFw cost about $130 a month. Use Macbook all day check prices with ferguson and make will call orders online , check emails , check for jobs from craigslist . Enter in customer info & job info thru quickbooks for mac print invoices , receipts , Credit card receipts that even have a place for the customer to sign so they are like the same receipt you get were ever you use your card and estimates all with my portable hp office jet 470 with blue tooth that I have still have yet to figured out how to connect. get text jobs form "service magic" & "the home fixers" google earth the jobs to check out the neighborhoods to see if I want to go check state tax web page to see who the owner really is. Transfer money back and forth with BofA online banking to use account debit card. Also use quickbooks for mac to turn the laptop in to a C.C. terminal . Also pay bills with BofA online bill pay and check in with you guys all on the road!! So yes Internet in the truck , Cell phone , No PDA why not use a full size keyboard . Verizon is service provider , and the rates are not to bad if you consider the time saved to have the ability to be that mobile Oh yea and Email credit card receipts , invoices , and pictures of work done to landlords did that last week were I did a job in edgewood and landlord lived in Huston worked pretty good to!
jc, you want an inexpensive unlimited everything cell phone?
you can get a boost mobile/ sprint blackberry for $60.00 a month out the door no tax. has real internet and unlimited everything.
i have the boost/ sprint ingognito and it's $50. a month unlimited everything. the internet is the mobile style on this one. but i get my email, text, photos and everything needed.
i've been using a laptop for over 10 years in the van and just about 6 months ago i stopped printing invoices from the van and switched over to emailing invoices. much better as it automatically sends it to the customer and to me. if i can email from the job, great, if not i do it when i get home or get a signal. the invoices are all ready to be sent, so it's just a matter of a connection.
so not only do i have it on my invoice program, but if i'm out of the country and and don't have my personal laptop, i always have access to my email and the invoices are all there.
problem with mobile internet is it uses wireless cell towers. a lot of my work is in areas where there is no cell phone service. up in the hills is always hit and miss.
unless your supply house has user friendly access to your own account. it's useless as you need to know the product codes.