The digital age has birthed a revolution in location independence and a generation of so called digital nomads working from hammocks and beach loungers in far flung places. This post explores the phenomenon of remote working, the tech, tools and services that make it possible and the mindset required to give up a traditional career and embrace the laptop lifestyle.

The planet has become a much smaller place in so many ways. Budget airlines have brought exotic locations, once the preserve of the wealthy, within easy reach of the average Joe.  The onset of the digital era, lower costs of technology and emergence of the world wide web have conspired to make the world a vastly more accessible place. Younger generations have lived through this shift in technosocial dynamic and capitalised on its many benefits. Backpacking around exotic lands with a laptop and smartphone in tow has become nothing short of a birthright to the youth of today.  And many are realising that with the modern technology and services now at their fingertips, the “gap year” can be extended indefinitely.

And from this brave new world the “laptop lifestyle” has evolved. Easy travel and accessibility to the internet has made remote working a very real prospect where it had been nothing short of impossible for the majority as little as 15 years ago. With affordable computers, smart devices and an abundance of innovative online services, it has never been easier to make a living online. Whether working for somebody else remotely or setting up and running your own business, the options for making a living online are endless. Blogging, e-commerce, digital publishing, app development and freelancing through a service like Upwork or Fiverr are all viable options and the online services to make it possible are in abundance. The concept of geo arbitrage is also a very influential factor. An individual living in a developing country whilst earning western wages online can live a relatively lavish lifestyle compared to if they were earning a local wage.

So why isn’t everybody doing this? The technology is available and it has been proven possible. This is very much down to  individuality. Working online is not everybody’s cup of tea, despite the dominance of the internet in modern life. Some people, by their very nature, would rather scratch their own eyes out than sit at a computer for a living. Others find the thought of living overseas, away from the security of a regular job, home, friends and family, simply unappealing or, indeed, downright terrifying! And of course there are some who just do not have the character or mindset to run their own business or work effectively outside of a structured workplace and routine. The laptop lifestyle is definitely not for everybody. But for those who have embraced it and the technology that makes it possible, it truly is a remarkable way of life that others can only dream of.

Andy Trowers is a staff writer for the popular online sales aggregation website http://www.canada.for-sale.com/.

androidWith everything from smartphones to iPads being sold in store and via sites like www.ebay.co.uk  it poses the question – are Android tablets driving the adaptation of laptops in emerging markets?

Well, let’s start with Windows 8. With its dramatic new style, bold Live Tiles, innovative Start screen (replacing the traditional Start button and menu of Windows 7) and a host of incorporated applications, it’s clear that Microsoft has made an epic attempt to bring Windows into the new world. A world of touchscreen mobile computing that’s taking the world by storm.

Not only was it designed for tablets, but for traditional PCs as well, which led to mixed reviews. While some people loved the clever new software and touchscreen capabilities, others criticised it for being over complicated and difficult to use, particularly with a keyboard and mouse. This led to the first revamped edition being released in October 2013, aptly named Windows 8.1.

Like all reputable technology companies, Microsoft listened to the feedback from its consumers and made various attempts to make its revolutionary new technology more user friendly. Not only did they reintroduce the Start button (with the traditional Start menu thought to be planned for Windows 8.2), but they also improved many of the applications.

The photo app, for instance, now came with many editing tools and users could choose from a wealth of other customization options. In short, Microsoft worked hard to make their innovative Windows release more appealing.

As well as Windows 8, many hybrid laptops also seem to have been inspired by Android tablets. Not only do they offer the practicalities of a regular laptop, they are also available with a full-functioning touchscreen offering the best of both worlds. They can be docked (ready to use with a keyboard and mouse) or used on the go providing users with a range of options!

The downside? Some are slightly heavier than traditional tablets making it more difficult to hold them for long periods of time and others don’t have the full capabilities of a traditional laptop. Other than that, they’re a great compromise for anyone that enjoys touchscreen technology but also prefers to type longer documents using a keypad.

What’s more, with the introduction of iCloud storage – a development which lets you access photos, documents, videos and more from whatever device you’re on – it’s now more tempting than ever to purchase devices with this functionality to allow for more flexibility. So, if you have an iPad, you might also want a hybrid laptop or an android inspired device to make working that little bit easier.

So while there’s still a place on the market for trustworthy desktops and standard laptops, it seems more devices are going down the lightweight, touchscreen route with clear Android influences.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Anyone looking for a new laptop has their own preferences in terms of manufacturer, operating system and other hardware; but when you’re looking for a new laptop for professional purposes it’s important that you look into what is genuinely important to you in terms of productivity as well as ease of use.

A graphic designer, for example, isn’t going to be looking for any old run-of-the-mill laptop that can be bought for budget price from a local electronics retailer.They are going to be looking for the type of device that enables them to show off their creativity and provide some amazing work for their clients using the latest and greatest devices and software. You can click here to find out more information about these kinds of laptops.

laptops

Graphic designers will be looking for very specific, specialist features, hardware and software to help them keep everyone happy – bosses and customers included – and to produce a piece of work that they’re genuinely proud of. If you’re a complete beginner moving into the industry, maybe going off to University to study a course in graphic design for example, you want to start out by looking into RAM.

RAM relates to the amount of memory on the device and will affect how many programs you can have open at one time, both in use and running in the background. In the early stages of your career, you may want to start off with a relatively low amount of RAM until you develop your skills and move into the industry full-time. At that point, you’re likely to learn about all the new programs and tools that are available,which may mean you need to upgrade your laptop or invest in more memory.

Until then, the screen size is particularly important. While many people are looking for something smaller and lighter, anyone working in graphic design is still going to need a screen that is large and clear enough for them to do their work with relative ease. In this instance, a small screen would be more of a hindrance than assistance because you would have to stop working to zoom in and out or move the part you’re working on into the centre of the screen. A rough guide for someone working in graphic design – or similar industries – would be to look for a minimum 15-inch screen (measured diagonally from corner to corner).

One of the best laptops released only this year that would be great for graphic designers, as well as those looking for a device that they can use recreationally, is the IdeaPad Y510p from Lenovo. It’s got all the spec you would expect to find on a desktop PC, and adds further weight to the argument that the desktop might be a thing of the past with laptops and tablets taking their place. The IdeaPad has a 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and the latest Windows 8 operating system. Suitable forgraphic designers as well as for those looking for entertainment from their laptop as it is great for gaming, watching films and has great sound quality for playing music too.

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