Nancy Looks at a Couple of Outstanding Mac Products

Two outstanding new products came my way in the past couple of weeks and I would like to bring both to your attention. The first is Attaché, from LapWorks, a company whose products I have written about before.

Attaché Notebook Stand


LapWorks Attaché

LapWorks makes notebook computer stands, a necessity in this day and age of small, high end computers. It is really important that you elevate your notebook computer so that a good air flow is maintained to allow your machine to run as cool as possible. If you donit you could shorten the life of your notebook.

With their latest product, the Attaché, the folks at LapWorks have outdone themselves. It is made out of high density ABS plastic and includes a large aluminum plate that absorbs and dissipates the heat. It plugs into your computer with a USB connection and contains 4 USB 2.0 ports. It contains 4 push-button elevation settings designed for either direct keyboard or external keyboard input. This stand is most appropriately used in a stationary location such as your desktop.

There are two silent built-in cooling fans and an on/off power switch. The fan speed is 2200 +/- 10% RPM. The fan noise level is < 23 dBA. I had to put my ear down and feel the breeze to determine that the fans were actually working because I couldnit hear any noise. There is a one year warranty..

According to the press release, "The concave design creates an air space, called a convection cell, under the computer which allows the heat that radiates from the bottom of the laptop to escape upwards. Fans blow cool air into the convection cell to cool the laptop and force the hot air out and up."

The Attaché, which is the unit I reviewed, has an aluminum face plate that absorbs any heat that the fans donit blow out and dissipates it across the face plate into the air. There also is a version called the Envoy that contains all the features of the Attaché except the aluminum face plate. It sells for U.S. $49.99.

At the base of the stand are two flip-up stoppers designed to prevent a computer from slipping off the stand. The stoppers are designed for the newer computers so anyone using a a G4 will find that they block the CD Drive and it is necessary to lift the machine slightly to utilize the drive while using the stand.

This type of inconvenience is a fact of life for those of us who continue to cling to our older model Macs. I find it to be a small inconvenience when balanced against all the benefits of this particular notebook stand. The stoppers do fold completely flat if the user does not wish to use them.

This is a great product. It is very sturdy. I like the inclusion of the USB ports. I like the design of the elevation stand. It doesnit slip once it is set. I like the design of the flip up stoppers and I love the way the cooling fans work. It is big enough for a 17" notebook.

The Squirrels from Crumpler

CompanyCrumpler USA
ProductChester Squander
PriceU.S. $95.00

Chester Squander

I have not adopted a family of squirrels. The Squirrels are a family of computer bags, called laptop briefcases by Crumpler. Believe me I saw a plethora of computer bags at Macworld, but the whole Crumpler line stood out for several reasons, not the least of which being you could hardly get up to their booth because of the crowds around it.

Iive used this particular style, the Chester Squander, for the past several weeks to tote around my 15" PowerBook G4. Anyone with experience with this model knows that they are somewhat heavy, so comfort can be a real issue, especially when you are 5i3", weigh 120 pounds, and are over 65. I can say with complete honesty that this computer bag is a joy to use and carry.

It is also quite stylish if you are into that sort of thing. I am, so I like that about it. This model comes in red/dark red, black, brown/dark brown, and olive/light olive, and like all the Crumpler products, it displays the unique Crumpler logo.

Crumpler Logo

Concerning the specifics, the Squirrel comes in 5 sizes. The Chester Squander fits my G4 with no pushing or pulling -- it slides right in. The outside of the case is water resistant polyester and the inside is a very soft, brushed polyester. There is a removable and adjustable shoulder strap. Inside is a full briefcase organizer, expandable filing pocket and storage space.

You can purchase Crumbler bags through their web site, at their New York City stores, or at speciality stores like REI across the country.

I really have enjoyed using this bag. I like everything about it. I like the way my computer fits in it. I like all the pockets. I like the comfort of the straps and the weight of the bag. I like the way it looks, and I think it is worth the price.

Like I said at the beginning of this column, these are both particularly good products and if you are going to go with the best computer on the market you might as well aim for the best accessories at the same time.

Donit forget the latest revision of my manual for beginners is available. Details about purchasing your copy follows.