Filed under: Computer Accessories, Desks and Workstations
Today’s featured product is indisputably cool, but before I start telling you about it, I have to warn you that there are two types of people in this world: those who will use this product for goodness and productivity, and those who will start out with the best intentions but ultimately employ this product to evil ends (ie: transforming formerly useful desktop space into a dumping ground for yet more office clutter). I’m drawing a line in the sand here, people. If you fall into the former group (habitually good, organized and productive), proceed full speed ahead, and if you’re one of the latter crew, you can keep going, too – just know what you might get yourself into if your potential to pile up junk runs away with you.
That said, I’d like to introduce you to the Articulating Laptop Mount from Gator Cases. Gator has always been known for protecting laptops, digital displays and other electronics from damage during travel, but now they’re making those things more efficient and useful when they’re right at home in your workspace. Gator’s articulating mount for laptops, tablets and VESA-standard monitors not only lets you levitate your computer above your work surface to free up more useful space, it also gives you greater range of motion while you work, thanks to the fact that it offers 360 degrees of horizontal rotation, as well as 5 additional directional adjustments.
This is perfect for people who need more room on their desks for additional devices or other work tools (not piles of miscellaneous papers and a collection of dirty coffee mugs). And clutterbugs, please don’t feel bad… I only say these things because I myself know how easy it is to stash yet another pile of controlled chaos anywhere a free space opens up. If you’re an IT tech, musician or DJ who routinely juggles equipment, the Articulating Laptop Mount just makes life easier, and what’s even better, it comes in a clamp-on version that can be moved as needed (if you’re the type that works “on location”), or permanent versions for fixed desk or wall installation.
Early this morning, as I do on most Fridays, I took a quick peek at the reviews for today’s movie releases while perusing the headlines online. Much to my surprise, a critic whose opinion I trust said that although she was more or less dragged to see (out of a sense of duty to her profession) the Farrelly Brothers’ take on The Three Stooges, it was, in fact, non-stop fun. So it looks like this weekend I’ll be opening my mind (and wallet) to some eye-poking, nyuk-nyuks and other assorted buffoonery even though I’ve hardly been able to make it through a single commercial for this flick. Looks like things are about to take a turn for the wacky.
In that spirit, let me introduce you to a computer accessory that’s equally fun and wacky, but in a strangely stylish way. Meet the High-Speed USB Flex Hub from Manhattan.
If someone told you “hey, I just got a USB hub that’s bendy and kind of ring-shaped and red, green, orange and yellow,” you’d probably cringe inwardly (I know I would). I love bright colors and all, but generally speaking, I prefer them separately – not in Crayola-box mish-moshes. But somehow, this totally works – it’s fun and whimsical and super sleek, yet at the same time, it’s all business… someone has to transfer all that data, after all.
So if you’re running short on USB ports on your computer but want a way to lighten up the mood at your workstation, this is definitely it. It looks great, moves data super fast, and best of all, it won’t even try to poke you in the eye. Nyuk nyuk.
So, you say you wish you could squeeze more family or vacation photos into your workspace, but you hate clutter or just don’t have room to spare for another desktop picture frame? I hear you. Back when my husband and I were dating, he always felt a little slighted because he kept pictures of us around his workstation, but I didn’t.
I felt bad about it and even bought us matching collage photo frames for our desks, but even that never happened because between my keyboard, mousepad, monitor, desk phone, cell phone stand, mug, pen holder, notebooks, Post-It™ pads and stacks of trade magazines on my desk, I wouldn’t have had room to move my computer mouse, much less an elbow, without knocking something over. Where was the Manhattan Digital Photo Mouse when I needed to convince my sweet boyfriend that I wasn’t ashamed to display his face at my office?
It’s the ideal computer peripheral, really – all the power to click away to your heart’s content, combined with a slideshow of your favorite people and memories, all in the palm of your hand. Feeling a little stressed as you hammer away at a presentation that’s due EOD? Just take a few deep breaths as you gaze at your mouse and are whisked away to that beach hammock from last year’s tropical getaway. Frustratedly pondering why you allow yourself to be tethered to a desk for 40-plus hours a week? Glance down at the pictures of your pride and joy (who will be needing braces and private school tuition before you know it) gliding across your mouse, and find a renewed sense of motivation and purpose! (Okay, the second one may be a little far-fetched, but you see where I’m going.)
Long story short, being able to store and view an entire photo album worth of pictures (8MB, to be exact)on your computer mouse is kind of awesome! I used to think that those custom photo mousepads, were a fun idea, but this totally blows those out of the water. Like I said – awesome.
I’m not really what you’d call a “stuff” person, but make no mistake: what possessions I have I like very much, and tend to get a lot of use out of. I take care of them so they’ll last, and would be extremely put out if some lowlife were to try and take them from me. This is especially true where my computer equipment is concerned. While it would be annoying to have to go out and buy a new printer, it would be downright tragic to have to replace an entire computer. That’s why I’m so taken with this little low-tech but brilliant security system from Byte Brothers.
The Lok-Kit I™ is a simple-to-use kit that gives your tech stuff an extra measure of protection while you’re not there to defend it in person- and it doesn’t even require an IP camera and remote viewing app for your iPhone. No, all it involves is some refreshingly low-tech flexible steel wire, a padlock, and a few lock plates – and there’s even some super-strength adhesive thrown in for fun (more on that later).
Byte Brothers’ Lok-Kit I™ works by letting you adhere small, grommeted steel plates onto a stationary object and pretty much any combination of your computer tower, screen, peripherals, after which you run the included steel cable through the grommets to attach everything, and give the ends of the cable a final lockdown with the kit’s padlock. This effectively secures multiple components together along a single locked loop of steel cable, and even gives you the ability to anchor everything to a heavier, more permanent object, like a desk.
How do those grommet-equipped steel plates stick to your computer equipment? Easy – with that industrial adhesive that I mentioned before. If you’re the type that can’t even look at a tube of Crazy Glue without getting your hands stuck together, don’t sweat it – this particular adhesive is pre-applied, so the lock plates are actually peel-and-stick. Easy.
After all of the peeling, sticking, and cable-threading is complete, what you have is a sturdy and effective deterrent to smash-and-grab type thefts that would typically rely on fast access to unsecured equipment. Unless those bad guys come prepared with some pretty serious cable-cutting equipment, your computer is staying right where it belongs.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I am a big, fat computer kicker. You’ve probably heard of Restless Leg Syndrome, and while I rarely have any trouble staying still when I’m trying to snooze, it’s another story when I’m at my desk, desperately attempting to get some work done. Call it a combo of “ants-in-the pants” and the Seinfeldesque “jimmy legs.” May brain and work ethic might be saying “sit still,” but at some point, my feet get so bored that they resort to all-out mutiny, and start randomly lashing out at other things under my desk. They’ve slammed UPSs, yanked Ethernet cords out of wall ports, and worst (and most frequently) of all, kicked my poor CPU’s butt – mercilessly.
Poor computer towers- when they’re not being stomped by spazzy feet, they’re wallowing in a sea of under-desk dustballs, or in constant danger of having cups of coffee spilled near them. And the last time I checked, dust and liquids weren’t exactly known to increase the lifespan of electronics.
Luckily for my desktop, someone’s finally sticking up for the beaten-down CPUs of the world. Meet the Cable-Safe CPU Holder, a computer mounting system that installs under your desk to lift your CPU off the floor and out of harm’s way. You say that your computer’s been hacking on dustballs? Not anymore – now, it can hover cleanly above them. Watched in panic as spilled liquids have crept across the floor toward you computer? No worries there, either. And forget about the kicking – your out-of-control feet are going to have to find someone else to bully.
The Cable-Safe CPU Holder has a versatile design that lets you orient it horizontally or vertically depending on your desk configuration or space needs, and is available in a traditional “fixed” model for computers that rarely have to move, as well as slide-out and rotating versions for CPUs that are subject to frequent drive access, maintenance and updates.
Rest easy, little CPU. You’re safe now.
Filed under: Computer Accessories, Gadgets, Tools and Cases
Don’t ask me how it happened, but by some miracle, Geeky has become the new Sexy. The Conspiracy Theorists out there may surmise that certain tech companies, such as “Orange” and “The-Search-Engine-That-Must-Not-Be-Named” (names have been changed to protect those with powerful legal departments) may have started doctoring water supplies across the nation with geek-seeking aphrodisiac chemicals. Others may say that since we’re all a little gadget-crazy these days, it’s not so weird to pass up human interaction in favor of gaming and social media. Whatever the case may be, certified tech geeks are now making it to the top of “Most Desirable Valentines” lists everywhere, so that begs the question: what do you buy the Apple-Lover of Your Eye?
Chocolates? Sorry… they melt on fingers, and then smudge up computer keyboards. Flowers? Hellooooooooo, not unless they have a Web interface. A romantic dinner for two? Impossible: that would require forcible removal, possibly surgical in nature, from one’s laptop or smartphone. Looks like we’d better give you a few suggestions on how to spark gift-induced romance with your geeky sweetheart.
Being the crew of tech nerds that we are, a few of us at CableOrganizer.com put together a list of His and Hers Valentine gifts with a decidedly techy twist. From iPhone cord organizers and Bluetooths (or is it Blueteeth?) to solar chargers and USB hubs, our Geekentine’s Day gifts are creative, affordable, and may be just what it takes to score a non-virtual smooch or two.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Filed under: Computer Accessories, Server Racks and Enclosures
I never have to worry about keeping track of more than one laptop myself, but to IT teams that have entire fleets of corporate laptops to keep tabs on, I feel for you. Signing them in and out, making sure that they’re only accessed by the chosen few, and keeping them clean (data-wise) and functional has to be a pretty big job, and heaven forbid that one ever goes missing. (I once received a letter from a former employer that several company-owned laptops had disappeared, and that my personal information may or may not have been on one of them. I and hundreds/thousands of other current/former employees were then offered complimentary ID theft monitoring. Someone’s head had to have rolled for that one.)
Like I was saying, the protection and maintenance is a lot of responsibility, so that would make anything that brings a little peace of mind and lets you turn your back without worrying a great thing, right? Meet the Dasco Secure Laptop Storage Cabinet, your newest ally in the battle against corporate computer/data theft. This thing is like a luxury high-rise fortress for company-owned notebook computers. Every laptop gets its own room (okay, so by “room” I mean “drawer”) with a keyed lock, and full amenities like power, luggage storage (aka: the roomy accessory drawer at the bottom), and even the option of “in-room” (okay, in-drawer) Internet access, so you and your staff can operate the laptops without actually having to drag them out and hook them up somewhere else.
Wow – secure storage and battery charging all in one place. No “Where did that laptop disappear to?” And no “Why wasn’t this notebook’s battery charged when I took it to my presentation?” So congratulations, Great Guardian of the Laptops: your job just got a lot less stressful.
Frequent presenters who don’t have the luxury of a permanent projector and whiteboard in all of their meeting rooms are about to get very happy. 3M’s V2 Mobile Presentation Stand is built especially for facilities where multimedia presentations are a regular occurrence, but small rooms don’t allow for an extra equipment. This intrepid cart is built to roam from room to room on demand, fully loaded with everything you need, including a close-range projector, whiteboard, a laptop, and maybe even some dry-erase markers.
Installing all of that equipment on one cart might sound kind of cumbersome, but actually, it’s not. Thanks to its compact and well-thought-out design, the V2 presentation cart can easily wheel down halls and through doorways, and won’t further cramp your space, even in a packed room. What’s really nice is that, with the optional laptop stand, it allows you to keep your eyes on your laptop throughout the entire presentation, instead of constantly turning around to refer to the screen.
Movement is no headache, either. Four casters help keep things balanced and moving smoothly from place to place, and then lock to prevent the cart from sneaking away once you get it where you need it. And then for the whiteboard adjustability, which is steady and jolt-free compliments of the V2′s pneumatic shock absorbers. Presentations can be stressful enough on their own. Make things easier on yourself with the right equipment management.
Not too long ago, I made the transition from desktop to laptop, and for the most part, it’s been great. The laptop is much smaller, leaves me with more space, and I can pick it up and take it with me whenever (and wherever) I want to. The only time that I miss my old desktop PC is when I’m having a really mouse-heavy day – man, can that touchpad get tedious. It works fine, so I can’t complain about that, but like many others out there (you, perhaps?), I’m sort of hardwired to use a regular mouse. In the sort of way that when I have to, say, navigate to and click on a few hundred links, I can start to feel a little fried.
That’s why I’m planning to get my hands on this little number in the very near future. The Mini Optical Mouse. It’s tiny, cute, and unlike the old roller-ball mouse that I used to wrestle with (sound familiar?), it uses optical laser technology that doesn’t jam up on you. Oh, and one more thing – its cord is also retractable, so everything packs up nice and easy when it’s time to ready the old laptop bag for an adventure.
I have a friend who’s quite the business jet-setter, and she swears by this thing. She does an awful lot of work perched at hotel room desks and airport laptop stations, but having the Mini Optical Mouse along for the ride helps her hit a level of productivity that’s much more on par with a regular day at the office. The faster she can work on the road, the less time she has to spend slogging through backlogged e-mails and reports when she’s back in the office. I’d shell out $30 for that.
Filed under: Computer Accessories, Gadgets, Home Theater
There’s nothing like a projected image to make you feel like you’re at the movies. When I was a kid, it was always a thrill to see the media center lady roll a projector into the classroom after we got in from recess, because it meant we were taking a break from the drudgery of Science and Social Studies, and getting to slack off with a few action-packed educational film strips instead. And then there was that time about 10 years back when, despite my being a mature grownup, I jumped right in when my Dad hauled out his work projector (typically reserved for presentations) to entertain my sick, stuck-at-home little brother – let me tell you, the best way to watch Ice Age is on the living room wall.
But those childhood (and kid-at-heart) warm-fuzzies toward projectors in general began to change as I left college and became immersed in things like real-world jobs and the multimedia business presentations that they often require. I’ve sat in more than one crowded conference room, looking on as guest presenters fumbled with laptop-to-projector connections as the hour of meeting commencement, pointing and laughing in derision, jogged right past them. Yikes. And these were intelligent, capable people. But technical difficulties will happen, especially if you’re an outsider dealing with other peoples’ electronics. It’s painful to watch.
That’s why I think that the X20 Digital Projector by 3Mlooks so incredibly useful and promising. What better way to avoid technical difficulties than to bring your own projector along? I know, I know – it sounds like a schlepping nightmare, but it’s not at all. To start out with, the X20 is little: only 11 by 8 by 2 inches (approximately). And at around 4 pounds, it’s definitely one of the lighter projectors out there. Did I mention that it comes with a carrying case? That makes it a natural for travel. But what I really like is that it can help cut down on how many other things you have to haul around.
While the X20 and it’s cousin, the WX20, both offer (of course) connections for laptops and other devices, the X20 also has USB ports for a mouse and flash drive – perfect for computerless .jpg presentations. And you know what that means, right? Leave the laptop at home!
Sorry, this product has been discontinued.