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mhomCAN THERE REALLY BE HARMONY IN A HOME OFFICE OF TWO, THREE, or more? We’d certainly like to think so. Of course, anyone who’s ever tried to work side-by-side with a coworker or spouse in a spare bedroom or converted garage may have his or her doubts.

That’s because the economics of running a home office often demand that you share not only your space, but also your printer, fax, and other essentials. But thanks to networking and hardware-sharing products, it’s easy to make smart use of your equipment–and increase your efficiency.

To help you …

iagbkYour Web site is up and running, but are you interacting with visitors? Adding something as simple as a guest book–an area where users can sign in and volunteer comments and suggestions for your site–gives you a way to offer an entertaining, interactive feature that not only racks up hits, but helps you collect valuable market data and sales leads.

Jack Leigh, a photographer in Savannah, Ga., whose work graced the recent bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, couldn’t agree more. His Southern Images Gallery site includes a simple guest-book feature. “Because …

kcrTELECOMMUTING IS ON THE RISE, and software manufacturers are making sure that their remote access software can handle the traffic. It’s no coincidence that market leader Symantec’s revenues in the first quarter of this year leapt nearly 40 percent over last year’s numbers. With the new features built into today’s remote access programs, people who need to run more than one computer can’t afford not to buy in.

Looking for security? How about software that automatically calls you back when you dial in to prevent anyone else from getting access? Want a program that’s easy …

eimtjpIF YOU’RE LIKE MOST PEOPLE, YOU wouldn’t dream of going to bed without making sure the front door is locked. And yet chances are you send sensitive information across the Internet without the slightest regard for security.

“If you e-mail something like a business plan or a legal negotiation, you’re playing with fire if you don’t use encryption,” says Mark Levitt, director of research at International Data Corp., a Framingham, Mass., research firm. It adds a step to the e-mail process, but for some home-based workers, it’s worth it.

In general, encryption software scrambles your …

imTHE FRIENDLY CHIRP OF AN INCOMING MESSAGE IS music to the ears of any home-based worker hoping to stay in touch. Instant messages–the equivalent of an online chat in which two or more people communicate in real time by typing back and forth–offer substantial benefits: You don’t have to pick up the phone to ask a quick question. You can drop in on a client or coworker even if you’re at home. You can communicate cheaply on the road or even overseas. You don’t have to wait for a client to check her e-mail. And, …