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Old 09-08-2007, 10:07 PM   #1
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Smile Working From Your Airstream

Greetings,

My job allows me to work from home. All I need is telephone service, broadband computer Internet & E-mail access plus the ability to fly, when needed. I started with landline phone service & wired cable Internet service. I graduated to a cell phone/PDA (Treo Smartphone) with Internet & E-mail service plus the landline & wi-fi laptop Internet & E-mail access. Then I got a broadband PCMCIA cellular Internet/E-mail card for my laptop.

At this point, I finally realized that I could perform the duties of my job from nearly anywhere so long as I had cellular (voice & data) service and access to an airport within a day or so. That said, we bought a 19 foot Ocean Breeze Bambi and are ready to begin testing the feasibility of my idea.

The purpose of this thread is to allow people who simultaneously work and Airstream (and wannabes) the opportunity to share their experiences, plans, hopes, wishes, dreams &/or thoughts on this topic. My hope is that by sharing our thoughts, we can help each other actualize our dreams.

Thanks, in advance, for your participation!

Regards,

Jerry
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:21 PM   #2
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We, too, run our business (Moose Tags Cable Labels - Label Your Cables, cords, and wires.) from Lucy, our Safari 25FB. We have most of the same needs as yours. Broadband internet access, telephone, fax. We have all that covered as you did. We also need an onboard printer for invoices and shipping labels. We got a small H-P that fits in one of the overhead cabinets. We have it rigged so that we can print in place without moving the printer.

We do not full time, but have spent 150+ nights in Lucy in the last year, and plan to do more. We have been able to continue filling orders while on the road. It's a great life.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:33 PM   #3
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Good thread!

I am a graphic designer with my own business, and work from our home...we have been RVing for about 4 years whenever we can get away...3 years with a small SOB motorhome, but we sold that and bought a 19' Bambi earlier this year...and loving it. I am working toward being able to work from the road more seamlessly...been exploring the internet connection options and about to invest in an aircard for the laptop after picking several folks' minds about how they connectd, and what the best options are. I would like to hear more about what's working for others in terms of internet connections. I need sevice for not only for emial, but to transfer graphics files...so it need to have decent speed.

Once I have that figured out I really should be able to spend even more time on the road...and keep my clients happy! Actually, with my studio phone calls forwarded to my cell automatically, and internet abilties, most of my clients would not even know I'm not in the studio. Those who do know I'm working toward this think it's a great idea and are encouraging me to go for it...

TB
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:22 AM   #4
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For mobile internet connection anywhere there is a cell signal, we use Alltel Axcess Mobilelink. We do this via SuEllyn's cell phone with a USB connector cable. We are very satisfied with this service. The speed is much better than dial-up, but not up to cable internet speed. The cost is $25/mo for unlimited use anywhere. We were using an Alltel aircard which was costing $60/mo. The cell phone hookup just as well at less than half the cost.

We have also been noticing that more and more campgrounds are offering broadband wifi at the campsites.

We have now become so spoiled that we demand five-point hook ups (electric, water, sewer, cable, and wifi). Some days we have so many orders to fill that we work most of the day in the Airstream.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
We got a small H-P that fits in one of the overhead cabinets. We have it rigged so that we can print in place without moving the printer.
Did you go the "wireless printing" route, or are you still connected from 'puter to printer?
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:37 AM   #6
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As many know me here this is just a recap.

I converted a 28' Funeral Coach to meet my needs for a rolling showroom. As a manufacturers rep in the golf industry I travel around NC/SC.

During the cooler weather when the AS will be comfortable I overnight at Wal-Mart. When it's warmer the need for a/c takes me to campgrounds for electricity.

I've been the Treo smart phone route and now have a fixed "wall-top" mobile desktop with LCD monitor, and multiple laptops. Sprint provides the mobile broadband PCMCIA wireless card and I suppliment this with direct or wireless NIC connection when available for free. I also have a Samsung laser printer networked.

This past week my small laptop jumped off a counter in a golf shop at my first call of the week. The LCD broke and I was without my GPS navigation for the week. I didn't realize just how in love with it I was. Maps just don't do the same thing any more.

Working from an Airstream gets all kinds of reactions. Most are positive thumbs up type. Regular straffing with digital cameras. A lot are attracted to the logo art on the front quarters and the name on the nose...Airstream 1.

I'm closing in on 50,000 miles over the past two years. I love working from my Airstream.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Did you go the "wireless printing" route, or are you still connected from 'puter to printer?
We are using a hard wired printer. It is an H-P 3740 which cost under $40. We just pull the cords out of the cabinet when we want to print, hook it up and go. We never move the printer itself. We would have preferred wireless, but we couldn't find on small enough. There is probably one out by now.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:14 AM   #8
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Congrats on being able to work from your Airstream!

Here are links to some other threads on the forum that are similar to this topic.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:39 AM   #9
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Many of you know us as well, so I'll keep it brief. I publish a quarterly magazine while living full-time in our Airstream (you may have heard of the magazine). We have been traveling as a family for two years and blogging all of it. So far, we've covered 52,000 miles and nobody wants to stop.

We use a separate Verizon data card and a Kyocera KR-1 to broadcast it as wifi inside the trailer, because we have two laptops that often need to be online simultaneously. We use two cell phones and keep them on separate networks (Verizon & Sprint) so we have a better shot at coverage in marginal areas.

I find that wifi in campgrounds is often spotty and occasionally unusable, so I carry a range extender (Linksys WRE54G) to boost the signal. If you need to get online regularly to do your work, make sure you have at least three ways to get online so you have a backup if your primary method(s) aren't available. My rule of thumb is that the availability of Internet is inversely proportional to the desirability of the park. No method is perfect, so consider your style of travel and then learn about satellite, cellular, wifi, Ethernet, and the dreaded dial-up.

The printer is an HP1012 which we connect via USB and wirelessly (using an Apple Airport Express) depending on circumstances. One of the things I wish I had is a pure-sine wave inverter capable of running the printer, so we can print when away from electric hookups. We like to boondock a lot. Right now I just save up my print jobs for the next time we are connected to power.

We use OneBox to manage incoming calls and voicemail boxes, eFax for faxes, online banking for all bill paying, and online services for just about everything else in our business and personal lives.

We also use a iGo Anywhere 130 to supply power to the laptops and cell phones when we are not connected to power. Our large power requirements necessitated installation of two solar panels and four batteries. Thus, most of our equipment is solar powered!

Mail forwarding is easy and there are lots of services to handle this for you, so that's a non-issue. I just have a package sent to my next destination either care of a friend or General Delivery.

If you've got the right kind of job, you can do this, at least for part of the year. I always encourage people to look at how they can free themselves from the office. In the long run, being on the road has been much more productive and inspirational for me.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenCoombe
...This past week my small laptop jumped off a counter in a golf shop at my first call of the week. The LCD broke and I was without my GPS navigation for the week. I didn't realize just how in love with it I was. Maps just don't do the same thing any more....
Couldn't agree more! I use Oziexplorer (The Official OziExplorer Web Site - GPS Mapping Software for Magellan, Garmin, Lowrance, Eagle, MLR Receivers) shareware, which is a most excellent mapping program and provides for moving map with GPS input. You buy the software license and get free upgrades forever. It was originally written for coastal sailing, but has all the features a real map lover desires. You can make your own digital maps using a scanner, use GoogleMV to create area maps, or I would be happy to provide the AirForums community with scanned state highway maps (not guaranteed to be the most recent, however) or USGS topo maps. The possible down side is I only have scanned maps for the 11 western states (a slight bias revealed here, I fear). I do have digital road maps for all states...

If you've got a laptop, a GPS, and an interface cable, there's no excuse not to do this.

Zep
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:25 AM   #11
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Thank you. I have the Sierra 595 Aircard from Verizon Wireless. It seems to be able to get a cell connection even when the phone cannot. I recently bought an external antenna for it that suction cups onto a window or whatever. I'm looking forward to seeing if it increases range. EV-DO Rev. A seems to be the fastest network technology available now so I wouldsuggest you investigate it. Regards, Jerry

[quote=TBRich]Good thread!

snip >> ...been exploring the internet connection options and about to invest in an aircard for the laptop after picking several folks' minds about how they connectd, and what the best options are. I would like to hear more about what's working for others in terms of internet connections. I need sevice for not only for emial, but to transfer graphics files...so it need to have decent speed.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:31 AM   #12
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
We, too, run our business (Moose Tags Cable Labels - Label Your Cables, cords, and wires.) from Lucy, our Safari 25FB. We have most of the same needs as yours. Broadband internet access, telephone, fax. We have all that covered as you did. We also need an onboard printer for invoices and shipping labels. We got a small H-P that fits in one of the overhead cabinets. We have it rigged so that we can print in place without moving the printer.

We do not full time, but have spent 150+ nights in Lucy in the last year, and plan to do more. We have been able to continue filling orders while on the road. It's a great life.
I like your idea of keeping the printer in an overhead cabinet and not needing to move it, thanks.

Since your Moose Tags are so small, I can see how you could run your inventory based business from the AS. It's fortunate you're not in the refurbished industrial equipment business!!!
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:35 AM   #13
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I am a professional songwriter and my 2005 Bambi CCD is my "writing room" on the road. Inspiration is everywhere. Just hook up the AS and go get it.
DC
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr
Many of you know us as well, so I'll keep it brief. I publish a quarterly magazine while living full-time in our Airstream (you may have heard of the magazine).

...snip...

We use a separate Verizon data card and a Kyocera KR-1 to broadcast it as wifi inside the trailer

...snip...

My rule of thumb is that the availability of Internet is inversely proportional to the desirability of the park.

...snip...

The printer is an HP1012 which we connect via USB and wirelessly (using an Apple Airport Express) depending on circumstances. One of the things I wish I had is a pure-sine wave inverter capable of running the printer, so we can print when away from electric hookups. We like to boondock a lot. Right now I just save up my print jobs for the next time we are connected to power.

...snip...

We also use a iGo Anywhere 130 to supply power to the laptops and cell phones when we are not connected to power. Our large power requirements necessitated installation of two solar panels and four batteries. Thus, most of our equipment is solar powered!

...snip...

If you've got the right kind of job, you can do this, at least for part of the year. I always encourage people to look at how they can free themselves from the office. In the long run, being on the road has been much more productive and inspirational for me.
Yes, somehow I've heard of the magazine.... In fact, we just received a free copy that somehow mysterioously arrived in our mailbox. You will soon find that you have a new subscriber......me.

Thanks for your post. It is full of great info. The Kyocera KR-1 looks like a great device, I was unaware of its existance. I looked up the specs and it did not list that it supported the Sierra Aircard 595 that I have. Do you have any thoughts on this and support also for EV-DO Rev. A?

My fantasy (which is contrary to the reality of your rule of thumb) is to travel to some remote and beautiful place and use the trailer as an office & basecamp. I had not thought about the power requirements you mentioned. If there was no AC power at the camp site, and I wanted the availability of Air Conditioning, what are my choices?

Inspiration........yes!! A good thing!!
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