Staying on the Cutting Edge of Technology (For Free)

May 1, 2001

3 Min Read
Staying on the Cutting Edge of Technology (For Free)

Staying on the Cutting Edge of Technology (For Free)

By R.K. Kliebenstein

Itrecently occurred to me that with the advent of new technology, we all should tobe able to dramatically reduce our office costs. Following are some ways toincrease office productivity and cut costs in our daily operations. Please bewarned that not all of these cutting-edge ideas are for you, but there are waysto cut costs with services that are absolutely free.

Free Long-Distance Calls

There are a number of websites through which you can make long-distance callsfor free. My recommendation is faster your modem and the better your Internet-connect rate, the better thesound quality. There is absolutely no charge for a subscription. If you'd liketo hear the sound quality, send an e-mail to [email protected],and type "DIALPAD" and your phone number in the subject header. Wewill call you back on Dialpad so you can hear the quality of voice transmission.There may be a small echo or delay, and the quality is compromised bysimultaneous speaking.

Free Internet Access

Again, there are a number of free dial-up connections, but my favorite is connect speeds are good and they have a good catalog of local-accessnumbers. There are some annoying banners, but if you are paying the standard$19.95 per month for dial-up access, this can save you more than $239 per year.

Free E-Mail Address

There are at least 15 "free" e-mail portals. My favorites areeither Yahoo! ( or Hotmail ( biggest drawback to these free e-mail sites is you are likely to bebombarded with "SPAM" or junk e-mails, and some of the content istotally unacceptable. There seems to be less inappropriate SPAM sent, and it seems the site's e-mail client is easier to interface withEudora or Outlook. Hotmail has a larger capacity, but both services limit yourstorage capacity (the number of e-mails you can save). There may also be alimitation on the size document you can attach to e-mails (incoming andoutgoing).

Free Fax--No Machine Needed

My office subscribes to eFax ( allows us to send and receive faxes electronically for free. The servicecan be upgraded to convert incoming faxes to Microsoft Word documents, and tofax directly from either Word or Excel. In addition, for a small monthly fee,you can upgrade to a toll-free fax number so those who send faxes to you canavoid long-distance charges. Through this feature, I can receive weekly reportsfrom facilities, and save them in directories on my computer. Then I can printthem later at my leisure. This allows me to archive all incoming faxes withoutwasting any paper.

Free Hard-Drive Space

Need a place in cyberspace to back up your computer? Storing back-up tapes onsite won't help you in the event of a fire--or in the event of theft by anemployee who knows where the back-up tapes are. One website,,allows you to store files for free. Once you outgrow the provided free space,you can purchase more space at a very nominal cost. It is also a place to storefiles for other Internet users to access. Imagine telling users they can go toan address on the Internet to get a picture of your storage property or a siteplan!

Free Web Hosting

Want to build a personal or business website and have it hosted for free? or www.bigstep.comand you can get a free website. I prefer the latter. The site has a free engineto build a website that gets the basic job done. To see an example of a typicalwebsite built through this free service, visit

R.K. Kliebenstein is the president and founder of Coast-To-Coast Storage,a consulting firm in the self-storage industry. Coast-To-Coast has a specialinterest in technology consulting to assist owners in the upgrade of theirfacilities. For more information, call 561.367.9241;

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