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Card Readers and Docking Stations

Stuffing a Home Office into Cramped Quarters

It’s all about convergence. Why have a single product offer just a single function when something of exactly the same size can offer so much more? Going through the iPod accessory market, you are bombarded with a wide assortment of docking and charging stations, but most of these offer but a single function: to connect your iPod (or iPhone) to your computer. Well, they usually do charging too. I guess that’s two functions.

By the same accord, you may have invested in an external card reader, because your laptop is only able to handle SD/SDHC memory cards. What about those Memory Sticks from your PSP or the CompactFlash cards from your digital SLR camera? Continuing with this line of thought, you may also have a USB hub, because you got a MacBook Air and it only has one USB port.

Stuffing a Home Office into Cramped Quarters

Griffin Technology knows that we only have so much room on our desks these days and that’s why it has introduced the Griffin Simplifi. As you can probably surmise, this handy gadget combines the funcitonality of an iPod/iPhone synchronization and charging dock, a multi-card reader, and a powered USB hub into one neat little package. There are only two powered USB ports, but it’s definitely a good start.┬áThe Griffin Simplifi has a sticker price of $70 and can be found anywhere you find Griffin iPod accessories.

Multifunction Inkjet Printer

Stuffing a Home Office into Cramped Quarters

Multifunction. Just like the Griffin Simplifi described above, one of the greatest keys to dealing with cramped quarters is to squeeze as much functionality into a single device as humanly possible. You’ve got a crowded condo and you simply don’t have the space to have a bunch of single-function products.

Printers, as you know, are no exception to this rule. I’ve seen some rather compact photo pritners, but they’re not very useful for printing documents. In the interest of frugality, I’d say that most people would be happier with an inkjet multifunction printer than a laser one, especially if they need color or photo printing. One of the greatest products that fits this bill to a tee is the Canon Pixma MP620.

Some of the core features on the Canon Pixma MP620 include 4×6 borderless photo prints, preview screen, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth 2.0, multi-card reader, Ethernet, PictBridge, integrated scanner with 2400 x 4800 dpi optical resolution, built-in copier functionality, and a color printer (up to 9600 x 2400 dpi).

Stuffing a Home Office into Cramped Quarters

Its greatest shortcoming is the lack of fax functionality. If you need something that can also do fax, you may have to look at some of the larger business solutions out there. Bear in mind that fax-equipped multifunction printers usually aren’t very good for printing photos.┬áThe Canon Pixma MP620 Multifunction Printer is listed at $150 and can probably be found online for less.

Other General Tips and Hints for Cramped Quarters

In general, there are a few other things that you may want to consider if you are setting up (or modifying) a home office in your cramped quarters.

First, don’t just focus on the horizontal space available to you; also consider the vertical. You can build shelves into the wall, for example, to store your books, CDs, and other stuff. Second, make extensive use of organizers and other items that can help clear up tht clutter. A pile is, well, a mess. Organize that chaos in such a way that you maximize the use of your space, but at the same time, don’t buy organizers for the sake of buying organizers. Third, don’t forget about the space behind your chair. You can find simple “inbox” style organizers at dollar stores that offer several pockets. Use this to organize some of your documents before you have a chance to file them away.

This is just the tip of the cramped and cluttered quarters solution. Do you have a tip that you’d like to share? Click the link below…

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