Friday Lites -- Micro separation of duties while telecommuting

Creating my Windows 7 home workstation on a VM I’ve named “WorkerB” was a tremendously liberating experience.

I’m experimentally telecommuting on Thursday’s. Yesterday I had a great time using VMware Workstation to create a virtual machine dedicated to working from home. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.

I could just have well used Oracle’s no-cost VirtualBox and Ubuntu to basically accomplish the same thing.

Creating my Windows 7 home workstation on a VM I’ve named “WorkerB” was a tremendously liberating experience. I was able to set up Microsoft Office including Outlook, Facebook and Twitter all pointed at my work accounts without worrying that I might be messing up my personal social networks. (See my column on “Double Identity” here.) I downloaded work related materials, processed email and social network communications and generally did all manner of work.

All the while I merrily reassured Windows that yes, I did want it to remember that password or file location. In my previous work-at-home setup, I would have been loath to have these settings messed with, as it would have impeded my other, real use of my home computer as a home system. Separating my work and home computing needs on my personal system is a big step forward that I wish I’d taken a long time ago.

Setting up WorkerB did mean installing a second instance of Kaspersky, the Internet security software that I bought for home use. That wasn’t a problem since I’d planned ahead and gotten the 3-machine, 3-year license. And my home system (a Dell Inspiron) has a quad-core Intel i7 processor and plenty of RAM, so compute resource wasn’t an issue either. I don’t conduct testing at home--eWEEK has a beautiful, newly built lab at our equally nice new office in downtown San Francisco for that purpose.

For me, working from home is a pleasant, quite place to write, conduct interviews and generally ruminate on all things enterprise tech. Most of my work product and communication tools are Web-accessible so I never carry a laptop back and forth on the train. In fact, the only computer I’m inclined to carry anywhere these days is my mobile phone. For many years that was an iPhone on the AT&T network...lately it’s an HTC EVO running on Sprint. Since I own and pay for phone service, my next “workerB” experiment is going to take place on my mobile compute platform.

In the meantime, I’m back in the office today, enjoying the camaraderie of my fellow labbies and getting ready to go into the lab to do some mad scientist stuff.