Computer Hardware for Freelancers
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Power and Power Protection
The battery that runs a laptop provides it with not just its mobility, but also independence from the power grid (“mains” for you British folks. :) ). If your house power goes out, you can still use the machine, since the battery is the primary source of power: the A/C adapter just recharges the battery. A laptop’s battery also helps protect against (though not guarantee safety from) power surges and spikes.
If you have a desktop computer instead, you need to deal with these issues proactively. At the very least, get yourself a decent surge suppressor into which you can plug the computer. If you live in an area that is prone to power outages, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will cost a bit more, but will provide both protection and the ability to keep using your computer during brief blackouts.
“Hello, Mr. Client? Er, I was just about done with that three-week, $2,000 project you gave me. Unfortunately, my hard disk crashed and I lost everything. What’s that? You’re canceling the project to give it to someone else?”
It’s not a matter of if you will experience data loss; it’s a matter of when. So, if you don’t want to find yourself having this sort of conversation at some point in your freelancing career, then be one of the minority of computer users who actually pays attention to data protection before disaster strikes.
Backup has never been easier: external hard disks are both large and cheap, with 1 TB units costing less than $100 and providing all the storage space you are likely to ever need. Another option is an online service; these can be more expensive over time, but provide service benefits such as automatic backup when files change, and the ability to restore files to a new computer if that becomes necessary.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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