Travel Tech 101
FOR BETTER BUSINESS TRAVEL
BY PHIL BAKER
February 1, 2007 -- Here's an assortment of new products and software designed for the business traveler. They all attempt to make traveling just a little more convenient and--Dare I say it?--enjoyable.
PORTABLE POWER OUTLETS
Do you find yourself searching for outlets in your hotel room? Need to unplug the clock radio or lamp to find enough outlets to keep your gadgets charged? That's why Monster Cable developed Outlets to Go, a compact outlet strip. About half the size of an ordinary power strip, it accommodates four broadly spaced outlets for working with the largest power adapters. Its short, flat power cord wraps around and plugs into the unit for traveling. It costs $19.95; a six-outlet version costs $29.95.
About the size of a folding compact, Solar Style's Charger can recharge your cell phone, camera or iPod. The $55.99 kit comes with the folding solar panel and adapters for different products. A full charge for most devices takes six to eight hours. It can also be used to charge from a power outlet in case of cloudy days.
CLEAN SCREENS AND SHADES
Notebook screens--not to mention eyeglasses--tend to be dirt magnets. They attract all sorts of grit, dust and smudges. Purosol Plasma, originally developed for military optics, is an environmentally friendly liquid cleaner formulated for computer screens. It disrupts the molecular bonds that adhere dirt and fingerprints to the surface. It comes in a 1-ounce, unbreakable, travel-size spray bottle for $7.95. Purosol Optical, designed for eyeglasses, sells for the same price. Larger and less-portable sizes of each product are also available.
AVOIDING PEN PANIC
Always need to have a pen with you? Always have trouble keeping one handy? Clip the Inka Pen to your keychain. It's a solidly constructed, waterproof, stainless steel tube that contains a pen and stylus. It's designed to write at any angle and even works underwater. Other models are constructed of titanium and carbon fiber. InkaPen prices start at $25; refills start at $4.
TIME ON YOUR HANDS (OR WRIST)
Most timepiece companies have models that display two time zones for the long-distance traveler. A Swiss company called Doxa makes one of the few watches that display three time zones simultaneously using two concentric 24-hour dials. It also lets you convert time between any two cities. It's a rugged watch that's waterproof to a depth of 1,000 feet. The price is around $2,000.
TUPPERWARE FOR TECHIES
Otter Box makes beautiful and tough plastic cases that are nothing less than Tupperware for techies. They have heavy walls, rubber O-rings and sturdy latches to protect your electronic devices from spilled liquids and bad weather. Otter Boxes come in assorted sizes to protect everything from mobile phones and PDAs to cameras and music players to notebook PCs. The cases are reasonably priced from $10 at the Otter Box Web site.
SMALL AND STYLISH SOUND
Altec-Lansing's inMotion iM500 is a 12-ounce, .67-inch-thick speaker system for the iPod Nano. It takes up less space than a paperback, but has good sound for its size. The system is powered by an AC adapter or six AAA batteries, which are good for 10 hours of use. A great product in hotel rooms, the inMotion sells for $129.95.
MORE POWER TO YOU
Apple iPod users always have fought battery life. Just when they lasted long enough to listen to audio on a coast-to-coast flight, video content came along. Video, of courses, causes iPod batteries to run down much more quickly. Now Sonnet Technologies has produced the Volta, a high-capacity rechargeable lithium-polymer battery encased in a glossy black housing. It sits behind the iPod and, combined with the main battery, lets you watch 16 hours of video or listen to 80 hours of audio between charges. The Volta can be recharged from any computer's USB port and sells for $69.95.
A NOTABLE NOTEBOOK FOR THE MAC
Mac users generally have far fewer software choices than PC users. But there is a product available only for the Mac that has no real equal on the PC. NoteBook from Circus Ponies lets Mac owners create a virtual spiral-bound notebook for organizing all activities in one location. It can be used to take notes, create outlines, paste items from the Web and E-mails and add documents, files and images. Users can organize the notebook into tabbed sections, move pages around and insert new ones. NoteBook automatically indexes its contents and keywords from each page to make it easy to find information. Users can then send pages to other users as PDF files. NoteBook comes with templates for all sorts of projects, from note taking to book writing. It costs $49.95.
Now all travelers have to do is find room for all of these in their luggage!
This column originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com
Copyright © 2007 by San Diego Transcript. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.