KeySpan remote
KeySpan's remote





A Bug's Life

FEATURE August 16, 2000
Road Hog
[page 3 of 5]

KeySpan Digital Remote ($79)
This one is in the cool, rather than essential category, unless you use your PowerBook for presentations or hook its DVD outputs to a TV, in which case it becomes essential. The KeySpan Digital Remote is exactly what it sounds like—a remote control. The receiver plugs in to the USB port of your PowerBook, and the transmitter sends mouse movements, clicks and more. You can advance PowerPoint slides (although I'd rather you didn't, but that's about PowerPoint rather than the remote) or control multimedia players for movies, MP3s and more.

A Bug's Life DVD ($35)
Brought to you by Steve Jobs in his guise as head of the Pixar movie studio, A Bug's Life is the perfect demo disc for a number of things. Played back full screen, the colors looks stunning on the PowerBook's LCD screen. And because the frames come from a computer for film, they're rendered in progressive mode (one frame fills the screen) to display like computer images, rather than interlaced (odd lines displayed first, then even ones) like TV images. The difference in quality is remarkable, but nothing short of miraculous when paused. These are images of exceptional depth and richness and a beauty far surpassing the more technically accomplished Toy Story 2. It's just a lot of fun to show off to anyone who wants to see how good your G3 can look. I promise you'll agree with me that these two products appear made for each other ... which actually wouldn't surprise me a bit.

(By the way, if you didn't get the DVD option on the 1999 PowerBooks, you can add one for the expansion bay from MCE for $379. They're a lot more fun than you might think and really do play back on your TV just fine, especially with the Keyspan remote, above.)

Kleer Screen
As you travel, your screen will definitely start to get smudgy. The worst culprit? The computer's damn keys, which smear the screen when you close the computer, absolutely the most annoying piece of non-engineering on this thing. The good news is that Kleer Screen works miracles with it. You've never used anything this good for cleaning monitors (desktop monitors too). It works great for other things, too, including the outside of the computer, camera lenses, CDs and DVDs, and more. It includes the cleaning fluid and a special polishing cloth in both office and portable configurations (packed like wet-naps). I have plenty of both. How cool is it? MCE includes some free with orders topping $100.

An extra hard drive
You can go a couple of routes on this one, but pick one. Losing a 6 gig drive is annoying, but survivable. Losing 18 to 30 gigs is too gruesome to imagine. I'm not talking about drive failure as much as loss, which is always a risk with a computer that moves. You don't want to have to try to reconstruct that much of your life if some jealous Windows user walks away with your PowerBook. And the fact is that even 30 gigs for your system drive isn't really enough if you're going to be serious about editing video with Final Cut Pro, for example, which you can do quite nicely indeed on your PowerBook.


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