What are the three most important tools for online Freelancers and Net Professionals, aka Web Workers? I’d have to say a computer, Internet access, and possibly a cell phone if you are often mobile – in which case you’d want a powerful laptop. If you’re not mobile, you might want to skip a cell phone and look into VoIP software. Or a cell phone with VoIP capability, such as many of the Nokia phones. (Though with Skype‘s 3-day outage, I’m reluctant to recommend it.)

  1. Cell phone contracts are getting harder and harder to get out of, but people are trying unique methods including faking death. And when you can get out, you often have to pay a ridiculous penalty fee.
  2. One other option for Internet access that I didn’t mention is going to a coffee shop offering free Wi-Fi access. Except that a lot of cafes, tired of Wi-fi freeloaders, are charging for Internet access by the hour. Other establishments are charging a flat fee.
  3. Considering a new computer? Maybe I’m biased, but my feeling is that a lot of people who might be in the market for a laptop or desktop are staying away from PCs because of the Microsoft Vista operating system. Apparently a lot of pre-Vista software doesn’t work on it. If you’re making a living online, you just can’t take a chance switching. (I know at least one writer cursing her decision to switch.)

    On the other hand, Apple computers are, generally speaking, more expensive for the equivalent computing power. I’m still leaning towards getting a Mac Pro later this year, but it’s a significant outlay of cash.

    An alternative to both is running Linux on a regular PC. Some computer vendors are now offering Linux/ Windows dual-boot, or even just Linux. Linux supports hardware better than Windows, according to some people. And a good “windows” package for Linux is often easier to use than MS Windows.

    As a power user, I personally prefer Linux. But far too many programs that I need are Windows or Mac only. However, thanks to the growth of vmware (virtual machine software), you can now run software for one OS on other OSes. Something to think about: get the computer you prefer, and buy the right piece of vmware to run programs intended for other operating systems.

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