How do you drive a DIY’er insane? Hand him or her a screwdriver, then have them try to dig ancient, stripped screws out of some drywall. From there, you just have to stand back and wait for the sweating and profanity to ensue – don’t worry, it won’t take long.
It’s pretty amazing how something so small and seemingly insignificant as a stripped screw can jeopardize a person’s mental state and waste so much time. Working on a family renovation project a few years back, I couldn’t believe how much of a pain it was trying to remove old curtain-rod hardware, but unfortunately that one seemingly piddly aspect of the process had to happen before we could patch the walls and paint. No getting around it.
Sigh. Wish I’d have known about the proGrabit back then. This ingenious little bit set would have gone great with my brother’s power drill, and would have saved more than one member of the fam a heck of a lot of time. Let me explain: Rack-a-Tiers’ proGrabitis a double-sided drill bit that works with just about any power drill. It has two ends: one acts as a reamer, to grind out the center of any screw head. Once everything is cleaned out, you just flip the bit and use the other side to actually bite into the screw and draw it out.
Where has this thing been all my life?
We’re coming up on Easter in a couple of days, but today I’m going to track back a couple of weeks to a very cool experience I had on St. Patrick’s Day (and no, it didn’t involve green beer or Bailey’s). A few hours before tucking into a plate of corned beef and potatoes, I got the chance to be a guest on Debbie Mahler’s Technical Tidbits podcast show on BlogTalkRadio. It was great – definitely one of the most enjoyable radio interviews I’ve ever been a part of! For that particular show, the topic was computer, laptop and data security, and it was my job to give listeners tips on how to prevent thier laptops and personal information from being stolen.
Throughout the course of the show, a bunch of cool products made their way into our conversation, but there’s one in particular that I thought would be totally blog-worthy: the 3M Notebook Privacy Filter. This is probably my favorite pick for all of you serial public laptop users out there. You know who you are: the folks who are zoned out in front of their notebook computers in Starbucks, Paneras, and airports the world over. The ones who are so intent on their screens that they wouldn’t even know it if some shifty-eyed shyster were lurking around, trying to steal glances at personal information over their shoulder or from the next seat.
You heard me. And clean up that mouthful of Frappuccino® you just spewed all over your keyboard. Bad people can steal account numbers, passwords, and entire identities by peeking at the right laptops at just the right moments. Many of us will squeak by without ever becoming a victim in that manner, but you never know. And yes, I know it’s beyond cliched, but better safe than sorry.
Back to the notebook privacy filter. It’s so simple, so easy to use, that the whole thing is almost comical. It’s just an overlay that you slide over your laptop screen. Once that baby’s in place, things suddenly become a lot more secure. Sitting in front of your laptop and gazing at the screen head-on, everything’s clear as day, as it should be for the legit user. But should someone try to sneak a peek from an angle, all they can see is dark screen. No passwords, no Social Security numbers, no photos – just dark. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to see the light…
Ever since I got into the cable management business, I’ve come to think of heavy duty cord covers as being essential wherever pedestrians, vehicles, and ground-level cables need to harmoniously coexist. They keep wires and hoses from the irreversible damage that happens when they’re trampled underfoot by pedestrians (or run over by carts, cars and trucks), and they protect people, too – any of you ever tripped over a power cord?
There’s just one small hitch – heavy duty polyurethane cord covers can require a hefty startup investment if you need more than a few. Say that you belong to a small organization (like a school, church, or not-for-profit organization) that needs to put on a special event. Say that at this special event, there will be power and data cords running all over the ground, to hook up speakers, computers, video displays, and maybe the odd cotton-candy machine or two. Add to those cables a bunch of event attendees who probably won’t be looking where they step, and you have some serious liabilities on your hands. You need industrial-grade cord covers to keep things safe, but don’t have the budget to actually purchase them. What do you do?
We realized that the Need vs. Cost issue can be a problem for some organizations, so we’ve come up with a solution: rentals. If your business is located in the greater Fort Lauderdale/Miami metro area, you now have the option to rent Electriduct Hawk cord protectors on a daily basis. No paying full purchase price or footing hefty shipping bills – just reserve the number of cord protectors you need, drop by our warehouse to pick them, and bring them back when you’re done. Be sure to check out the details – it’s an option you won’t want to pass up!
Plugging your laptop in at home or the office is usually a no-brainer, because those are the two places that we’re pretty much guaranteed to have decent surge protectors lying around (Right, people? Please tell me that you’re protecting your electronics!). But on the other hand, what do you do when you’re traveling with a laptop?
As far I can can tell you, no one I know (including myself) has, up to now, been known to pack a nice surge protector for the road. And it’s easy to understand why – most of them aren’t designed with portablity in mind. There’s either the heavy duty brick-style battery backups that lurk under our desks (and we all know that anything brick-like doesn’t pack well), or the power strip variety, which don’t take up much space, per se, but still have those unwieldy, hard-to-coil-into-any-configuration power cords trailing off their ends.
So what’s a techy jet-setter to do? I’ll tell you this much: they (or you – or even me, for that matter) shouldn’t be putting their expensive electronic lifelines at the mercy of strange, unprotected power outlets. Just because you’re visiting a sweet place, that doesn’t mean that a power surge won’t strike. You have to be ready, no matter how deluxe the surroundings. That’s why EZ Gear created the Surge2Go™, a super compact, travel-friendly surge protector that is positively made for purses, computer bags, backpacks, and suitcases. At only a little over 5x2x3 inches in size, it’s pretty darned mini, and here’s something else cool: the cord is only 8 inches long, and is actually made to coil around the surge protector’s outer perimeter for storage – no cable clutter!
Sorry, this product has been discontinued.