As a bootstrapping start-up we are thinking of saving on the IT hardware cost by making more use of the hardware that we have.

As a solopreneur I have a laptop config : intel core2duo processor, 3Gb RAM and 250 GB HDD. Now we are planning to increase our team to 3 members. Will like your suggestions on the nest cost-effective step that I can take so that I can use the computing power of the existing laptop to act as a kind of server and then buy to more monitors where the new recruits can do the daily work on and they need to have different login id and access and they dont need access to all the files/applications as are available in my laptop. We use internet intensively to do our day to day activity.

Please share you experience, whether you think this is a good ploy or there is any other more effective way of achieving the same result.

migrated from stackoverflow.com May 19 '10 at 17:42

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  • 8
    I could understand this with server hardware but a laptop!? Seriously, just buy some hardware and quit being cheap! – Earlz May 19 '10 at 16:45
  • 4
    If you were employing carpenters, would you have them share the same hammer ? – driis May 19 '10 at 16:50
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    @Earlz: We are not all rich Americans. In many countries, labour is relatively much cheaper than hardware. – Thomas May 19 '10 at 16:53
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    In any case, doesn't this belong on SuperUser? – Chris Lercher May 19 '10 at 17:03
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    Perhaps you could have the additional team members write their code on paper. One team member could act as the "key puncher", and type all of the code into the computer. He could print out the compilation errors, and the other team members could go back to their desks and make the corrections on paper. – Gilbert Le Blanc May 19 '10 at 17:25

As a minimum you have to connect three monitors to the laptop. Right? I never saw laptops with more than two video-outputs. So at least you'll need some piece of external hardware to make connection possible at all. Such hardware isn't free even for desktop systems. I don't think that you'll find something cheaper than buying two additional low-end desktops.

  • After all, the day is long, split it in three parts, 8 hours each.
  • Take a look at pair programming
  • Ask for help from FFF (Friends, Family and Fools)
  • 1
    +1: Best idea in this situation: program in shifts, or program in groups. Splitting 1 laptop 3 ways leaves 3 people without enough computer to get their work done. – Satanicpuppy May 19 '10 at 18:24

I'm with the other commenters that this is probably a very bad idea, especially for the computer you're talking about. That said, there's products like the Aten CS231 that do "computer sharing", allowing multiple monitors, keyboards, and mice to be hooked to a single PC and have multiple simultaneous users on a single system. I know that 3-say sharing devices exist, but I'm having trouble digging up a product name.

I still can't stress enough that by the time you've gone this far, you're not far off money-wise from just purchasing a few cheap desktop systems.

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