By Joe Stoddard There's no "best way" to use technology. With ingenuity, remodelers can find business solutions the original developers never imagined.
Simple collaboration. A digital camera plus imaging software like Paint Shop Pro ( www.jasc.com) goes a long way toward eliminating project misunderstandings. Annotate your digital images, then post the marked up versions on your Web site. Or, embed them in contract documents and e-mail them to clients for approval.
Take remote control. You're at home, but your files are on your office computer. No problem. Fire up Microsoft Netmeeting 3.0. Created as a video/chat product, Netmeeting moonlights as an excellent remote control package, and it's free, unlike LapLink or PCAnywhere. If it's not already on your computer, download Netmeeting at www.microsoft.com/netmeeting.
Connect from anywhere. Need to get online but no phone jack in sight? Most new cell phones double as wireless modems. You'll need a special cable to connect the phone to your laptop and wireless data capability added to your account. Despite the slow-poke connection, the first time you download missing appliance rough-ins, or e-mail an approved change order without leaving your truck, you'll be hooked.
--Joe Stoddard is a technology consultant to the construction industry, firstname.lastname@example.org.