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-- by Cheryl Currid, Windows at Work Columnist
Ditch Dusty Development Tools If your company has already discovered the power of an intranet, try one more tool. Consider using Web-browser authoring tools for application development. These products are faster than traditional programming tools and offer many features necessary to build complete applications. New products let you build attractive hyperlinked pages, and some, like Microsoft FrontPage 97, let you embed programming logic or SQL statements.
Avoid a Web Disaster Don't rely on your Internet service provider (ISP) for backup Web access. Configure and maintain a backup access route with another ISP. You'll need to establish different DNS numbers and probably another name, which is a good idea from a security standpoint. Make sure both ISPs use different carriers, equipment and access points into your building. This won't make you 100 percent disaster-proof, but you'll be a lot safer than you were before.
Follow The Paper(less) Path Instead of breaking office workers' addiction to paper cold turkey, offer them alternatives. Set up a system for managing certain types of documents. Make electronic files the permanent ones, and ban file drawers.
Carry Extra Disk Space External storage devices may extend the useful life of a notebook computer. Iomega's Zip Drive provides 100MB of convenient removable storage. For a smaller, lighter solution, DataFab's Mobile Disk family of enhanced parallel port hard disks connects to just about any desktop or notebook to exchange files at more than 800KB per second. If all you need is an extra CD or CD capability, EXP Computer's CD-620 kit consists of a small 6X CD-ROM drive connected to a proprietary PCMCIA Type I card.
Convert Your Notebook to an Answering Machine Don't depend on your hotels' inconsistent (or nonexistent) voice mail system. Instead, bring along your own. Equip your notebook computer with a voice-capable fax/modem and install telephony software. That way you can take your messages with you when you leave.
Help Your Help Desk Give help-desk workers a page on your intranet for answers to frequently asked questions. This page is also a good place to post service announcements, training opportunities and links to helpful Internet sites.
Encourage Open Office Etiquette Multimedia computers are
increasing office din. The sounds may enhance one user's experience,
but noise pollution will soon fill cubicles and threaten to disrupt
colleagues. Include a set of headphones with each multimedia computer
you introduce into the workplace.