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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 likea 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.
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.)
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.
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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