Apple 13" I-book, dual intel proccessor, and I have a cannon mini printer . Bought a small alum case from Home Depot for 19 bucks that both fit well into with some foam sheets to keep it all tight. Fits behind the passenger seat of the van out of sight. I have a big plano box between the seats which works great as a table for the whole rig. What I haven't done yet is stick in an invertor, so when I need to print I have been running an extension cord to the truck from the customer's exterior outlet, or I drag it all into the house. Next time I go near the auto parts store, it will be a different story.
The company I work for provides me with a laptop, it is usually with me in the truck.
I bought a wireless card for it and have good luck finding free connections to the Internet. Go on line and Google "wifi hot spots" and you can find lots of them in built up areas.
A few chain stores (Boarders Books for instance) provide free connections, I find if I park close to the stores I can connect.
Right now the lap top is dead, but they are getting me a new one.
A few of the things I find useful
Catalogs....while once I had to keep piles of product catalogs now I down load the latest ones and store them on the lap top.
I have had engineers email me changes (SK Drawings) on pdf and than I can print them out or work right off the laptop.
Handy when I take digital pictures, I can load them into the laptop find a connection and email them to whoever for comment.
Material orders...Esaily typed up, saved and sent to the purchaser.
The company has been seriously investigating a tablet PC based system (like the UPS guys use) The idea is for T&M jobs I will be able to enter all the material, time rentals etc, it will send the info to our shop where it will be priced by the shops software, sent back to the truck for printing and the customer ends up signing a work order that is already priced.
Anyway I really miss the laptop when it is broken.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
Bob, try an internet search for a subject called "evil twin". It is a pretty sharp way to hack your laptop when you use the card at borders or the coffee shops. There is a major service phone provider in most major city's with a city wide coverage for internet that provides a higher level of security and defeats the evil twin problem.
I would also like to know what you do to keep them warm in the winter or if it's even something to worry about. I bring it inside at the end of the day, but during the working day it is in the cab of the truck and the doors are closed. Is there some kind of blanket or seeing it's only an 8 hour day or so, should I not even concern myself with it. Now that I think about it, how do you keep joint compound warm inside the truck. I keep a small tub in there in the warm months and it's not an issue. I put it in my center console and have it wrapped in a shirt. Maybe that will work.
Bobby, I see your concern about winter chills. Winter for me means a low of 65 on the coldest day. Heat in summer is a real concern for me, I am wondering if I am cooking the battery leaving it in the truck, but then again the cordless drill battery's seem to be able to handle it alright.