From the June 1998 issue of Startups

Typically, purchasing a computer for an employee means selecting a model that's ideal for performing specific tasks. It also means finding one that complements the computer resources you already have. For Warner Weiss, owner of Sugars International LLC, an Englewood, Colorado, homebased software development and consulting business for the sugar industry, the answer was the Hewlett-Packard Brio 8177.

Weiss was already using one of Hewlett-Packard's Vectra models for software development. What he needed was a PC for his part-time accountant to keep the books on, and one to back up software used by clients in the field. For Weiss, the Brio 8177, which contains a 233 MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, 32MB RAM, 1MB VRAM and a 4GB hard drive, filled the bill. "We were looking for a machine that stepped up the speed and performed better backup. So far it's worked really well," says Weiss, 55.

At a price of $1,689, the Brio 8177 comes loaded with Microsoft Word and other business productivity software. This was attractive to Weiss because he needed a PC with software that would allow his accountant to create letters and other correspondence. Weiss added Hewlett-Packard's 7110 rewritable CD-ROM drive to back up accounting and client data, software and more.

For Weiss, the Brio 8177's strong communication tools have been a real plus. This model comes with a 56 Kbps modem, which he uses for speedy Internet access; he also finds it handy for sending and receiving large files via e-mail to and from his many international clients. Weiss is also using the Brio 8177 to create a Web page for his business.

Visit Hewlett-Packard's Web site at http://www.hp.com/go/smallbiz for details.

Fine Print

Sales and marketing materials usually call for the professional look of laser printing. At $349, Mita's DP-580 laser printer is an affordable solution that could bring your homebased business into the world of high-quality printing. This 1,200 dpi laser printer outputs halftones and graphics clearly, making it a strong choice for printing the charts, graphics and visuals included in most business materials. At six pages per minute, its speed is also quite good.

The DP-580's compact, lightweight design works well in tight quarters. It has a top-loading 100-sheet paper tray and a single-sheet bypass tray for inputting special paper on the fly. The versatile DP-580 accommodates up to 24-pound letter- or legal-sized paper, as well as envelopes, letterhead, labels and transparencies. The printer also collates automatically.

The DP-580 comes loaded with 10 TrueType fonts and 35 Intellifonts. It also has a single cartridge imaging unit and a 2MB memory capacity. Go to http://www.mita.com for more information.

Copy Cat

Most people think moving from the corporate life into the entrepreneurial world means having to live without perks like a high-quality copier. Canon's PC 430 personal copier ($369), however, provides a flexible, affordable solution that will likely meet most homebased business requirements.

The PC 430 copies letter-sized documents at a fairly swift clip: 4 copies per minute (cpm). This versatile copier accommodates legal-sized documents as well; however, output speed in these cases is reduced to 3 cpm. Unlike the laborious single-sheet feeding feature that some copiers have, the PC 430 also contains a 50-sheet multi-stack tray for continuous copying.

Additional features of the compact PC 430 copier include a single cartridge system for easy maintenance and an energy-saving auto shut-off feature that powers down after 51¦2 minutes if the copier is not used. For more information, visit http://www.canon.com

Just In Case

Carrying cases for notebook computers are old news. But carrying cases for personal digital assistants (PDAs), handheld PCs and mininotebooks? Now that's news. Targus recently introduced a full line of carriers that prove handy for storing a handheld PC or PDA and all its accessories when you hit the open road.

One product to consider: the Targus PDA/Handheld PC leather organizer ($79.99). This organizer holds a PDA or handheld PC that's up to 9.5-by-5-by-1.5 inches in size. It's also roomy enough to accommodate extras like PC cards, a cellular phone, spare batteries, disks and more. For details, check out http://www.targus.com

Cross Reference

When you're the only employee on staff, getting organized means everything. Smith Corona's Work Ready TelAssistant TA-2632 can help. The TA-2632 combines the features of a phone and an electronic organizer into one unit, so there's more synergy between your phone communication and organization tools.

The TA-2632 is a two-line speakerphone with multiple speed-dial lists for quick access to your most frequently used numbers. It also has useful electronic organizer features. A 128K electronic phone book holds up to 2,000 card files with contact information that's shown on the phone's LCD display. The TA-2632's pager-notification feature forwards a caller's phone number to your pager, keeping you up-to-date while you're out of the office.

Wireless infrared data transfer allows easy transfer of files to Smith Corona's portable TelAssistant products, such as the PTA-632 pocket electronic organizer, so you can take your contact information with you. The PTA-632 has a 128K electronic phone book for storing contacts, a calculator, a monthly calendar and a to-do list. You can also set an alarm to alert you at a specific date or time of an important event. Together, the two products cost $199; purchased separately, the TA-2632 sells for $149 and the PTA-632 costs $69. For more information, call Smith Corona at (607) 753-6011.

ontact Sources

Sugars International LLC, fax: (303) 770-2831.