Accessories For Notebook Computers

Lynn Chan

Due to your business or daily activities, to certain extent you depend upon your notebook computer. Why not give it the best accesories, then? In this way, you will feel not only more comfortable with your workig tool, but you will also be able to optimize its working capacity.

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.

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.

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.

An Optical Mouse

Notebooks are normally equipped with touch pads which can be awkward. There's no substitute for the mouse. Notebooks are predominantly used on a static, flat surface. With wireless broadband hotspots mushrooming all over the nation's transit locations, table tops have become as much mobile computing desktops as surfaces on which lattes sit. The touch pads on notebooks are also rather vulnerable to damage by static electricity, which is a common occurrence in aircraft cabins,carpeted airport lounges and offices and will become a big problem when you're on the road and lose the function of your primary pointing device.

A good optical mouse be it wired or wireless, must be able to track movement on varying tabletop surfaces. Optical mice traditionally had problems with glossy, transparent, or light-colored surfaces,but technology has advanced to a level that these problems are almost non-existent. Although wireless mice are the trend these days, stick to a wired optical mouse by virtue that it does not require additional power or equipment to operate; as in batteries or receivers for wireless ones. You don't need extra equipment in your already-overloaded and heavy notebook bag!

A Multi-Device Charger/Power Adapter

Notebooks do come with their own AC-to-DC power adapters, but notebook owners typically carry a cell phone, PDA and digital camera in addition to the notebook. It's almost impossible to carry the charging devices of all these things. Do yourself a favor by getting a multi-device charging/power adapter. Some of them even have the capability to simultaneously charge and power an additional gadget or two, giving you an extra benefit of keeping your most-used gadgets well charged up for action.

Built-In Wireless (Wifi) Connectivity Or PC Card

Notebook owners are generally mobile information warriors. It is almost impossible to ignore the wireless revolution going around; WiFi and soon, WiMAX Hotspots abound wherever you go. Instant access to the Internet's unlimited resources and communicative offerings are just a little electronic card away.

If your notebook does not have built-in WiFi, get a PC card version which is often sold for less than $30 at computer stores. Plugging in a WiFi PC card means you can access the Web, read and send your emails, instant-message your colleagues,family,buddies,broadcast your vacation video/photos or company presentations and retrieve company information on secure virtual private networks anywhere, anytime you are around a hotspot, in broadband speed.
About the Author
2005 All rights reserved
Lynn Chan

Lynn Chan helps new owners learn about proper notebook care and use. She also authored the free e-course "5 Days To A Healthier Notebook Computer" found at http://www.notebook-computer-infocenter.com/5days-to-a-healthier-notebook.html To learn more about notebook computing, visit http://www.notebook-computer-infocenter.com




More articles