(TheStreet would like to hear from entrepreneurs what made their small businesses successful -- newfangled strategy, clever products or services, tried-and-true management techniques. To do so, please click on this link and follow the directions. TheStreet's readers may soon be hearing about your business.)NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hot town, summer in the city, time to get my in-car tech pretty ...
Yeah, I know, keep the day gig. But it really is time to sing aloud: Summer vacation is here! Or rather, for us small-business types, what's here is the annual ritual of taking work with us as we pretend to have a few days off.
That usually means time in the car. Besides being relatively cheap, getting there in our own four wheels lets us stay in control of our mobile destiny and bring along every conceivable portable work gadget.
Considering all that's new techwise, it should come as no surprise there's a fresh passel of excellent in-car technology. Here are my picks for the best.
They're here -- truly fast 4G networks.
leads the way with more deployed markets than
combined, and its Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot is the tool of choice to access this fast-growing, fast cellular infrastructure. The unit, which can support up to five users, turns your rolling bucket of bolts into a mobile Wi-Fi
: Users log in independently, with no tricky cell modems to finesse, then surf, share content and even game to their hearts' content.
Don't expect a true, landed Internet experience with the Overdrive; we are still talking a cellular connection here, so service is spotty. But that fact is, not only have I filed stories with the thing from Vegas to Virginia, but my nephew Ross and niece Anna and I have wasted many a vacation hour battling the undead in
Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies.
And you can too.
: Though not quite like Spock verbally quizzing the Enterprise mainframe, the BlueAnt S4 really can make and receive calls in the car with no hands. The tiny S4 is basically a Bluetooth-enabled speaker with some bad-ass voice recognition built in.
The unit takes some getting used to. Managing background noise and remembering the menu commands are the worst -- I, for one, would not normally say "BlueAnt speak to me." But clip it on a car visor, turn it on and the S4 becomes a true plug-and-play voice-control phone system any Bluetooth device can see. Using it makes you not only more productive, but safer.
SamlexAmerica, DC-AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter ($99)
: What is a clunky, old power inverter doing here in a world of wonder devices such as Garmins, iPads, or Toshibas? Because what really turns your car into a rolling work station is power. And not goofball, 12-volt DC rinky-dink car power, but legit 120-volt wall power like what's back in the office.
And my current power weapon of choice is SamlexAmerica's excellent line of DC-to-AC inverters. Just updated, Samlex provides crystal-clear juice for your laptop, phone or iPod. There are limits. Don't plug in too many gadgets, for instance, and never start or stop the car with the system on. That basically uses your device's batteries to help crank the engine -- not good. But done right, the Samlex can extend your battery life indefinitely. And trust me, that's what you really need when on the road.
-- Written by Jonathan Blum in New York.
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Jonathan Blum is an independent technology writer and analyst living in Westchester, N.Y. He has written for The Associated Press and Popular Science and appeared on FoxNews and The WB.