Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mac Paraphernalia

I note that the new 15" MacBook Pro has been released, the one with the LED screen. I've been hanging out for this, because I badly need a new machine, so I was reviewing mentally what accessories might need updating. I've nittered on about software quite a bit, so I thought that in this post, for a change, I'd list some of the gadgets and add ons that I use with my Mac. If you've found something that you think is better, let me know. I want light, functional, robust products (and I love gadgets).

I have an iLap stand, which I find very useful (using it now).

Cool feet. I got a set of these a few weeks ago, and they are fantastic. Love 'em. The improved angle of the laptop keyboard is worth the price, and better temperature control is a nice bonus.

ScreenSavrz - I've used these for years, and they certainly keep the screens of my machines in better condition. I use a lot of hand cream, which is good for hands, not so good for screens. ScreensSavrz protect the screen from oil (and hand cream) getting transferred from the keyboard when the machine is closed.

Wildeepz display cushions. I have a set for each laptop, and I'm going to need another soon for the new machine. My laptops have to move around a lot, and I don't want the display unlatching while the machine is in my briefcase (or worse yet, in the over head locker on some plane!).

Dimp Gel single pads. These are little round wrist rests - I have one on either side of the track pad on my lap top (which caused one of my more humorous managers to inquire "why does that laptop have nipples?"). Seriously, I've used these for years and I would not be without them.

Koss SparkPlug Earbuds. I use these in the office: they are light, block enough noise to be useful without making me oblivious to my co-workers, and the sound quality is good enough for me. And they're cheap.

To keep the SparkPlug's cable tidy, I use a Sumajin SmartWrap. I've tried various cable managers, and this one suits me best.

On planes, I like the Sennheiser noise canceling headphones - I have the PCX250. These have done a lot of traveling with me, and they are wonderful. They seriously improve the quality of the music on my iPod - I can hear things with these headphones that are lost with lesser headsets. If you fly a lot, I can't recommend noise canceling headphones too highly, and as a back up go to the chemist (pharmacist is you're in the US), and look for noise reduction earplugs. They are usually made of either dense foam, or a sort of malleable waxy material: seek those with the highest decibel rating. They block out the background noise of a plane - a good set will take the edge off the racket of squabbling children and give you a chance of sleeping. If you work in data centres, use earplugs there as well, and preserve your hearing (if you have never been in a data centre, take my word it: they are not quiet places).

I use a MacAlly Optigo mini retractable optical USB mouse, which I think may be discontinued. I've tried using Bluetooth mice with rechargeable batteries, and they are a pain when you are traveling. The weight of spare batteries, the charger, no, just no.

To keep the bits and pieces together, I use an Eagle Creek Quarter Cube, and the whole lot gets moved around in a Victorinox wheeled case.


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