All the Comforts of Home

You've chosen a spot; now you need the gear. As Steve and Angela said before, most places require that you BYOC--bring your own computer. (Though if you don't have one, hang in there--the Duo have a gadget you need to see.) Most notebooks these days come Wi-Fi-ready, but even a notebook that's already equipped with wireless-aware chips can be improved.

A better mouse, for instance, can make a big difference in your productivity and comfort. Most computers have a mouse substitute built in--either a pointing stick or a touchpad--but built-in pointing devices, as these mouse-substitute things are called, can be rough on the wrists.

Angela likes the Logitech V500 Cordless Notebook Mouse, which uses a USB receiver to make its connection. When it's not in use, the receiver tucks into a socket in the body of the mouse itself, which makes it a travel-friendly member of Angela's travel entourage. (She liked it so much, in fact, that she bought one for herself after her testing was completed.) Steve was less impressed, disliking the horizontal scrolling and being less happy in general about adding another object to his travel kit.

But the Duo don't disagree on another travel essential: USB drives, sometimes called thumb drives or flash drives. Just like hard drives, these smaller gadgets are designed for fast-loading file storage, only you can carry one around in your pocket, and if you drop it ... big deal. (Also, they tend to hold less than the hard drive in your notebook or desktop, maxing out at 4 or 5 GB.)

Some newer USB drives, though, can do a lot more than hold files. Steve displays one of those drives, the Kingston Data Traveler II Plus Migo Edition. The Migo can keep copies of your Outlook files, Internet Explorer bookmarks, cookies, folders, files, all that, and when you plug it into another machine--pop. Looks just like home. Any personal information such as data cookies stays on the drive, not on the machine you're borrowing; you can even password-protect it if you're really security conscious. But the Kingston unit doesn't let you take your own programs with you; you have to use the ones on the computer you plug into. (Angela, not an Outlook user, remains underwhelmed.)

But again, maybe all you need is the data storage. If you just need to cart data from one machine to another, and even from a PC to a Mac or vice versa, a basic drive is plenty good enough.

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