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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More Must Have NoteBook Accessories


By: The Editor

A Good Notebook Bag

Forget those that are bundled with your notebook computer. Get
yourself a good notebook bag that is well-padded both on its
load-bearing straps, and 100% around the notebook itself.

Aren't all notebook bags built the same?

The answer is NO. There are countless bag types and variations.
Not all of them have your comfort and protection of the notebook
itself in mind. Most of them sacrifice style for substance, which
is worse than not having a notebook bag in the first place. (continued...)

The best way to determine which notebook bag is the one for you
is to bring along your notebook while shopping. Put it in the bag
and ensure that it doesn't slip and slide around - generous
spaces DO NOT mean better protection! You want it to be snug.

Carry the bag with your notebook in it. Simulate a light
jog. Why? Experience tells me that's how you'll most
likely travel through the gates of airport hell. If the straps
start digging in those shoulders, start looking for alternatives.
A good strap should cushion those shocks as the bag bounces off
your shoulders while doing your airport jog.

Note also how the notebook bag opens up for main access. Again,
if you're a frequent traveler you'll want to have one that's easy
to retrieve and store your notebook for security checkpoint
purposes. The best are usually top-loading ones secured by either
a zipper or a flap. We recommend the flap versions because they
usually have an additional layer of cushioning right around the
top for the notebook, and secure well but open fast with magnetic
snaps/buttons.

The zipper types have none, and your poor notebook will get
whacked full-force if the bag topples head-long off an airport
luggage cart. Trust me on this bit: I've had enough times my
notebook took a tumble that way, and seen many other helpless
souls literally spill their notebooks' guts across airport gates
... Not a nice sight.

A good alternative to those shoulder-loading bags are the rolling
pilot cases. They are typically bigger than any shoulder-bearing
bags including backpacks, but offer solid protection with a
padded hinge-top opening similar to actual pilot cases. Roller
bags are also less taxing physically, and the generous
compartments in the bag means less luggage pieces to carry while
traveling.

A Heat Dissipating Cooler Or Pad

Heat is the number one notebook computer killer. Today's
notebooks are little thermal generators, with internal
temperatures that rise up to 150 degrees even with built-in
cooling fans.

Those internal fans and heat-dissipating systems work full time
more often than you think. That’s why they are usually the first
components in a notebook to die on you. When that happens, you'd
better not fire up that notebook, as it'll fry even before you
see the start screen.

So help out your hardest working notebook component and extend
its lifespan. Invest in a notebook cooler or a cooling pad.
Notebook coolers typically are low-rise, plastic or metal-faced
pedestals on which your notebook sits. They are equipped with a
fan or two inside, which serves to draw hot air away from under
your notebook, and thus promote a cooler operating environment.
Usually efficient enough to drop up to 15 degrees the operating
temperature, notebook coolers however require power for its fans
and would typically draw its power off your notebook's USB ports.
This could somewhat decrease your notebook's battery operating
time, but so far have proven to be negligible for many users.

Cooling pads normally do not have the fans, and are constructed
from some type of heat-dissipating material or designed a way
that your notebook would have extra clearance at the bottom to
promote natural air circulation. Despite the lack of fans, these
cooling pads do a surprisingly good job of cooling your notebook.
They are also much easier to carry with your notebook because
they are slimmer, lighter, and do not require power to do its job
therefore highly recommended.