I used to run a laptop, with a portable color printer.
Ran an inverter right out of the cigarette lighter.
I could print invoices, estimates, checks for gas, parts, etc., right on the spot.
I basically had no paperwork when I got home at night, other than entering in receipts.
The 2 reasons that I stopped doing it, was....
1. I was always nervous that someone was going to "borrow" it and not return it.
2. The other problem was, even when I put it under the seat, sometimes on the real hot days, especially if it's dusty when we were out mowing and had to keep the windows up, it would get so dang blasted hot in the truck.
Other than that, it worked great.
Now I just do all my paperwork at home at the beginning of each month.
In my small town and the fact I am planning on only working part time in Fert & Squirt, I am not worried about someone borrowing the Lap top. Maybe I have just lucky never to of had a problem that way. I do see and advantage in having it lock up in some way. But I will make sure I back it up at the end of each day. I know there is a UBS port thing that fits on your key ring.
I was more concerned along the lines of dropping it or some other Mechanical problem. I recently lost both a power supply and Hard drive about two months apart and blame it on a bad electric outlet.
Thanks for the quick answer. I am Glad you found it to work for you. Paper work is something I must push myself to do and feel a lap top would allow me to it as it happened. I don't think a Lap Top would have worked in my former business with many employees. But I am now semi retired and only doing a one man band part time Fert & Squirt. I am in fact looking for all the easy way to do things any more.
I use some pre-printed forms to note date/time of service (for weekly accounts) and any notes as necessary. At night, I enter the information from these forms into my billing software and keep the forms as a paper back-up. I thought about the lap-top in my truck thing but had the concerns of theft and damage.
I checked into it but ever since the day I ran over my backpack blower with the trailer (it's funny but don't laugh TOO hard), I've always wondered about the safety of a laptop, and yes of course, the heat. Certainly it would be cool but there needs to be some type of daily backup - One time is all it takes for all the data to go poof...
Far as someone stealing it, I have as much concern someone might snag my wallet or cellular one day, it appears equipment is higher on the thieves' lists.
The USB port thingy is a cool idea if you run the SAME software on your home pc as your laptop, then as you do things throughout the day, you update your data via USB once you get home.
One thing helped me as a Power-User (8+ hours/day on the pc or thereabouts):
A UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) has helped considerably prolong the life of components on my Pc.... I used to fry one component at least every 6 months (be it a cpu, a motherboard, a stick of ram, the graphics card - whatever just happened to WANT to go phhht)... Ever since I bought the UPS, my hardware appears to last years and nowadays becomes obsolete long before it dies for no apparent reason.
I long suspected power-surges (yes, the small ones) and the 'glitch' which sometimes would re-boot the pc were responsible, and still do. That and it sure is awesome when the power goes out but the computer stays running as if nothing (of course the cablemodem is hooked), so I have a chance to finish up / save and shut down normally (thou I only get maybe 5 minutes at full throttle), and that is very nice.
Thanks for your reply. But let me restate I am not concerned with thief. I am sure I can fine a locking device to keep it secure, or build a simple Plywood box for it. It will be in a Cab Over and there is plenty of room to build a make shift office. I am running this as a one man band.
I don't see why it couldn't be done. If theft isn't a concern, and you will benefit from having it with you, then I say do it. I have a cab over truck as well. You're right. There is enough room in the cab for some office supplies. Now that I think about it, would be nice to be able to whip out a professional quote or invoice at a moments notice. Hope this helps.
Ric, if you do a search, I see to remember Ray Kirby from Unionturf having a pretty sweet setup in his pickup truck. It's been a while, but I recall him having a silver/grey truck and trailer and some nice pics of how he set up his puter and screen between the seats.
I just added a laptop to my truck. The best thing I ever did. I no longer have sticky notes all over the dash and I can schedule jobs in Outlook to give me reminders of when things need to be done. I have my accounting program on the desktop and the laptop, so when I get home I make 2 clicks to the laptop and the computers connect through my wireless router and sync. Microsoft has a new powertoy called Synctoy that works great for this purpose and it's free. I'll try to take some pics of my setup this afternoon and post them.