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Tools of the Trade

The technology you need to start your business

  • Starring StarOffice: If you're just getting off the ground and your budget is tight, you can save money on your office productivity software suite. Check out Sun Microsystem's StarOffice 8 for Windows, Linux or Solaris.
  • Priced at about $70 for the downloaded version or $100 for a copy on CD, you get word processing, spreadsheet, drawing, presentation and database capabilities. StarOffice 8 can import and export from Microsoft Office, though formatting may occasionally be a little off. One advantage over the related OpenOffice, which is free, is that StarOffice comes with 60 days of free technical support. That should be enough time to work out any kinks you come across. Built-in PDF output capability is a nice bonus feature that can help you share files across platforms.

  • Hit Me With Those Lasers: Laser printing doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. An affordable personal monochrome laser printer like the Samsung ML-2010 can save your budget from the strain of constantly replacing pricey inkjet printer cartridges. For $130, you get room for 150 sheets of paper and print speeds of up to 22 pages per minute. The TonerSave feature lets you extend the life of your print cartridge by up to 40 percent. The ML-2010 is compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows and connects through a USB port.
  • A 5,000-page monthly duty cycle is suitable for most small-office or personal printing needs. Its small size (14-by-12-inch footprint) makes it a good candidate for even the most confined work spaces.

  • Go Go Gadget: Startup entrepreneurs need to stay in touch with their employees and their customers from the get-go. It can be a smart move to combine your cell phone with mobile e-mail and computing capabilities in one small package. The $399 (with plan and rebate) Palm Treo 700w smartphone runs on the Windows Mobile platform and lets you access e-mail and the web and carry your documents with you. The 700w works on Verizon's network and is compatible with its high-speed EV-DO data network and VCast for streaming video. A 1.3 mega-pixel digital camera and thumbable qwerty keyboard round out the features. Users who prefer the Palm operating system can look to the Palm Treo 650 for a similar set of features.

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This article was originally published in the June 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Tools of the Trade.

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