Monthly Archives: April 2014

Accessory Troika

Usually I review but one piece of hardware or software. And it’s always something that either has a learning curve of some assembly required.

But this time, I thought that I would write about three recent purchases that make my computing day a bit more pleasurable. Some of you will say ‘DUH!’ But when you navigate your workflow day after day after day, sometimes the little things become very important without you perceiving them. And that’s the way it should be.

1. MacBook Air sleeve. Recently, I spent a short stint in hospital (which was the basis for my article, “Emergency Kit”). I performed most of my computing tasks on my iPhone. But every so many days, I would have someone bring in my MacBook Air 13″ to accomplish some heavy lifting. To my horror, they would ferry my MBA back and forth from my apartment in a supermarket plastic bag! My life repeatedly flashed before my eyes. This would not do.

So, after returning from hospital, I went online to look for a sleeve. Nothing fancy; no pockets, straps, pen holders, latte dispenser, etc. As basic as could be. So, it was off to the internet. I located one jet black sleeve on Amazon that fit the bill perfectly. And as a plus, I have a messenger bag that is also jet black. Now, should my MBA be left in an open compartment of the bag while at a coffee shop, I don’t have to worry as much about ne’er-do-wells who may eye up my computer as it disappears into its cavernous secret pouch, melding with the bag’s colors.

Definitely a “DUH!,” but an oversight all the same.

2. Just Mobile’s Lazy Couch. A simple set of rubber-padded stands, Lazy Couch elevates your laptop (BONUS: these work perfectly with your iPad, as well, though to be truthful, you can accomplish the same thing with your Smart Cover) to a more ergonomic typing level. And, of course, air can circulate underneath your computer (or iPad) to let it run cooler.

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Aside from its double duty, portability was its main attraction for me. The Lazy Couch stands can be interlocked as a single unit that tuck neatly into my messenger bag. They separate easily and reconnect equally so.

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Why, you ask, didn’t I scurry down to my local DIY store, purchase a dowel, some hosing and whatever else necessary to build my own solution? Because these two stands look great, didn’t break the bank (in fact, I believe that they are reasonably priced) and it didn’t cost me an hour or two rigging together something that probably would have been only half as reliable. And don’t forget, aside from the cost of the materials, factor in the cost of your time.

3. Slope. Unless you’ve had your mind immersed in a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for the past year, now doubt you have seen this Kickstarter success. Originally, I purchased one for my third generation iPad. But then I sold it to raise funds to buy an iPad Mini with Retina Display. But there was one problem that I had not thought of. The original Slope that I had bought was constructed to work with the regular size iPad not the my newer, smaller iPad.

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I kicked my rationalization skills into overdrive as Dekke had constructed a new Slope scaled specifically for the iPad Mini. As luck would have it, a friend of mine had purchased an iPad Air as a Christmas present for his wife. Rationalization: I could give my friend the old Slope in exchange for a bunch of favors he had recently performed. Ergo, I would HAVE to buy the new Slope designed for the iPad Mini! (Darn, I’m good!)

The whole Slope experience is pure class. As an example, the instructions for its use are on its website. So? They’re not in the form of text but in the form of several Vine videos! You can get no more intuitive than that.

That’s just three of the little helpers that keep me happy. I’m sure that if you look around your office right now, you’ll find several accessories that you already have or could do with. As they, sometimes it’s the small things that really count. If you have any that you recommend, visit my website and drop me a note. If I get enough responses, I’ll create an article from your responses.

©2014 Frank Petrie

 

 


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