LaCie PocketDrive
LaCie's PocketDrive

 

 

Lap Bottom
Lap Bottom above, Lap Desks below

 

 

 

Lap Desk

Lap Desk from Levenger

FEATURE August 16, 2000
Road Hog
[page 4 of 5]

For a nice combination of extra storage for special projects and backup, I like the expansion bay drives from MCE and VST. (Noticing how often these guys show up? Good.) They're truly portable and couldn't be more convenient: Pop 'em in your PowerBook, and go. Note that the one you buy may not be formatted in HFS+, so reformatting will be the first thing that you want to do. When backing up my original 6 gigs to move to the new 18 gig internal drive, those files ballooned to more than double in size on the traditionally formatted drive!

While less convenient for using with your PowerBook, external drives have their uses for transporting data from one computer to another. The most widely marketed drives are the red and yellow FireWire or USB drives (one or the other connection) from VST, and they're very good. Better still, though, are the sleek HandPocket drives from LaCie (http://www.lacie.com), which come standard in black and silver (which costs extra at VST!), and, best of all, come with both USB and FireWire connections on every unit. This dramatically increases the range of computers you can connect to, including your own. If you decide to add a FireWire card to your 1999 PowerBook, you can take advantage of that faster connection and still use the drive to connect to desktop computers, including PCs, that still only have USB connections. If you want or need an external drive for your PowerBook, I can't imagine why you'd choose anything but the LaCie.

Lap Bottom ($35) and Lap Desk ($29 in maple, $39 in cherry)
As cool as these new G3 laptops are, they can sometimes get hot. The 1999 400s in particular get uncomfortably hot on the bottom. MCE offers the LapBottom, a light rubber cushion that's sized just right, providing a ventilation for dissipating heat and a firmer grip for the computer on your lap, which is a nice bonus.

I like the Lap Desk from Levenger (http://www.levenger.com) even better for some situations, working in bed or a comfy chair in particular. (The secret's out: I want a computer that's muscular enough to allow me to accomplish real work, laying down.) It's big enough for the laptop, a mouse and some papers, but is also very light and easy to store when not it use. If you want to be conspicuous about storage, Levenger sells a sleek stand for it, but I find it just as easy to tuck behind something.

A phone cord
While not entirely necessary—you can always disconnect the cord from a nearby phone—your life will go much easier if you have one on hand. (I must have shared mine with a dozen reporters in the Macworld press room. After I'd filed my own stuff of course. Suckas.) And I've stayed in hotel rooms that don't have phones and electricity anywhere near each other often enough that I always travel with a 25' extension too so I can tuck it where I won't trip over it.

Kensington Targus Backpack ($70) http://www.kensington.com
You've gotta love these Dell guys in particular who carry their computers in computery looking bags that say DELL on them. Look next time you go to the airport: You'll see dozens of them. These guys are perfectly safe, though, because nobody in their right mind would want to steal one of those pieces of crap. Your G3 on the other hand might as well have a neon sign that says Steal Me if you put it a fancy leather case. Those are fine if your valet carries the bags onto your private jet, but the rest of us should be using one of Kensington's backpacks designed especially for notebooks. (They also make very pretty Steal Me bags, too, if you're determined to tempt fate and sticky-fingered Windows users.)

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