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Choosing the Right Accessories for Computing on the Go
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Gregory Quick has been involved in the computer and consumer industry for more than 30 years...

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Choosing the Right Accessories for Computing on the Go

A buying guide for road warriors

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Thoughtfully selecting the right set of peripherals and gizmos will make working with your netbook or notebook computer a breeze.


On-the-go-accessories

So you are your office’s designated road warrior, off at the drop of a hat to far flung corners of the state, nation or globe. Of course you have your notebook, still the essential tool in a time of tablets and smartphones, but regardless of if it is the latest streamlined model or a hefty hand-me-down, there are always accessories that can make you more efficient.

Questions abound as to what direction you should go first—removable memory to keep proprietary information secure? Cooling can be very important if you spend a lot of time with your notebook on your lap.  How about a portable DVD/Blu-Ray to play movies?  (Strictly on your own time, of course).

Removable/External Storage

Flash Drives. Thumb drives. Stick drives. Whatever you call them, they are the small storage devices that plug into your computer’s USB slot. Their capacity has skyrocketed in the past few years and now with multi gigabyte versions available they can carry multiple business presentations.

Another form of storage is an external DVD/RW drive. While most notebooks feature such a drive, if you are an ultra-light system user you might have a netbook, which most likely will not have a drive. A very flexible solution to repair this lack is the Fanton Netbook Mate. A combination hard drive, DVD player, and USB mini-hub, it meets a good deal of a user's external storage needs.
 
The Netbook Mate serves as a docking station for a netbook and has a variety of features starting with the removable 160 GB hard drive, providing a massive upgrade in storage capacity. Coupled with that is a DVD/RW drive that enables the creation and viewing of DVDs and CDs by the user.

It also has two additional USB ports, enhancing the netbooks capacity to handle additional plug-in devices that support that standard. Last but not least is the cooling fan that helps keep your netbook at a tolerable temperature.

All-In-One Kits

Speaking of the many needs of netbooks, for users of full-featured notebooks netbooks  can seem very underpowered or under-featured. If you travel and make presentations, write text and e-mails but have no need to manipulate fancy graphics or do process-intensive tasks, they can be a blessing. Still, it is nice to have the option to add additional components when and if you need them. A solid solution is the PC Treasure 10” Ultimate Netbook Accessory Kit. Available in Ice Blue , Red, Pink, Navy, Black, Purpleand Green, the kit provides a host of products that help make using a netbook more productive.
 
The kit features an external DVD/RW drive that gives users the option to use the drive for display purposes, view movies while traveling, or burn discs with data for customers. PV Treasure includes a 2.4 GHz Wireless Mighty Mini Mouse so that a user can make presentations using the netbook without standing at the computer. The bundle also includes a four-port USB hub for connecting a range of devices and has an adjustable Blast Cooling Stand with built-in speakers. Last but not least is the PocketPro Deluxe 10” Netbook Case.

Wireless Connectivity

While we are starting to take wireless connectivity for granted, older notebooks might not have native support built-in. In that case, a simple USB adapter could be the answer so that you can connect wirelessly to a variety of networks. A good example of this class of product is the Linksys WUS600N Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter for Windows.
 
The adapter supports a number of 802.11 transmission standards including 802.11a, b, g and n, so that even the fastest wireless protocols are supported as well as the older, slower ones.  Built with two integrated antennas, it supports a variety of security standards including WEP, WPA & WPA2 Personal as well as security key bits up to 128-bit encryption.  Weighing in at less than half an ounce, it provides a very lightweight method to stay connected.

Presentations

One of the most common tasks a road warrior has is to make a presentation. Even those willing to lug around a large notebook with a screen larger than a small TV understand that having your clients huddle around the computer is not the optimum environment to make a pitch.
 
Many businesses are set up so that the attachment of a computer to their display system can be a snap. But as anyone knows, there are often glitches which, while usually minor, are very irritating. Instead of completely relying on your host, come prepared with a controller that you know handles the presentation. For this look to the Mobile Edge Express Presenter Remote, a small device that takes control of any slide show on your computer. 

The wireless remote, along with its USB adapter, is capable of controlling a number of applications such as PowerPoint, iTune or Windows Media Player from up to 60 feet. It does not require the user to point at the computer due to the integrated RF technology and so eliminates the need to constantly turn and face the computer to advanced or retreat the slides. Compact in size, it can fit in a notebook computer’s Express Card Slot when not in use.

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