No travel kit should be considered complete without a collection of Zip-Linq retractable cables. Zip-Linq cables retract to a small key-chain-sized unit and extend at varying lengths to as much as 48". Cable choices include a variety of USB connections, 4 and 6 pin FireWire cables, telephone jack (modem) cables, Ethernet (Cat 5) cables, and PDA synch cables. Zip-Linq offers power cables and connectors to charge PDAs and mobile telephones. For special values, look at their travel kits, which include an assortment of cables and a USB, travel mouse, or power connections and cables for a variety of mobile phones. Check it out at www.ziplinq.com. Available at computer and office supply stores. Don’t leave home without them.
No matter what portable devices you use, you will want to add e-grips to them. eGrips are a self adhesive-backed decorative non-slip material that enhances the appearance of your device while making it less likely that it will slip out of your hands or off a table or wherever else you place it. Prices vary by device, but all are under $11. www.egrips.com.
Satellite radio is a relatively new phenomenon. There are two major suppliers of programming, XM ( www.xmradio.com ) and Sirius ( www.sirius.com). Both are by subscription (cost is about $11-14/month). Receivers are source-specific, so check out the programming before making your decision. The programming is similar between the suppliers, but there are some differences. Satellite radio gives you around 100+ stations with limited or no commercial interruptions. Reception in open areas is very good. Signal loss inside of tunnels, garages, and so forth can result in loss of sound until the signal is restored. Available in configurations for home/office, auto, and boom box. An excellent choice for your office, home, or car.
The Delphi All-In-One CD Audio System is the industry’s first all in one, self-contained boom box with an XM SKYFi receiver dock on one side and an AM/FM radio/CD player/MP3 player on the other. The SKYFI receiver ($129.95) is a portable XM Radio receiver that allows existing car or home stereo systems to receive XM Satellite Radio’s digital radio programming, coast-to-coast. SKYFi’s small, sleek design combined with Home or Vehicle Adaptor Kits ($69.99) or the SKYFi Audio System (boom box) allows you to take XM with you wherever you go. In open areas the sound quality and reception both proved quite good. The Audio System works on 6 D-cell batteries or a supplied AC connection. www.delphi.com
Innergy extended power external batteries for PDAs and laptop computers. A variety of adapter tips make the laptop battery compatible with a wide variety of computers. PDA batteries come with a leather Targus case for the battery and PDA. These batteries offer a good answer for travelers on long flights or PDA users making extensive use of Bluetooth and/or WiFi connectivity. PDA batteries start at $59 depending on power. Computer batteries cost $99. With the proper adapter, the laptop battery can also power DVD players, cell phones, and other devices. Actual length of operation will depend on the device used and on the nature of the use. www.pwrplant.com.
Need a case for your electronic gadgetry? Check out the collection from Waterfield ( www.sfbags.com). Among the notably excellent are their iSight and iPod travel cases and the combination iPod/inMotion case. Well made, just the right size, all the pieces have places, well padded and attractive.
Don’t feel like carrying a large computer bag? Want to pack your computer in a suitcase or a briefcase? Booq makes exceptional computer sleeves with straps. Put the strap on and use it as a small computer bag. With or without the strap, it is a competent and protective sleeve. Made for Macintosh PowerBooks and iBooks, the sleeves fit all similarly sized computers. $34.95; www.booqbags.com.
Apple Computer’s iPod ($299–499): a slick package and a solid product. A hard-drive-based MP3 player and more in shirt-pocket size available for the Mac OS and for Windows in 15, 20, and 40 Gb sizes. www.apple.com.
Griffin Technologies makes several iPod accessories. iTrip ($35) FM transmitter allows you to play iPods through any FM radio or car stereo system without wires. Powered by the iPod, no batteries required. Well designed to match your iPod. Griffin Technologies’ PowerPod ($24.99) provides DC power connectivity to all iPods. Talk about "plug ‘n play…. www.griffintechnology.com
Belkin also makes useful iPod accessories. Go to www.belkin.com and check out the Backup Battery pack ($69.99) that provides 15-20 hours of playing time for iPods; also check out their Voice Recorder ($59.95) enabling you to use the iPod to record memoranda, lectures, meetings, and so forth. Belkin also has a DC adapter and an FM transmitter for the iPod.
Altec Lansing’s inMotion is a cleverly designed external speaker system that folds up into a very portable unit and opens to hold the iPod. Thanks, in part to its MaxxBass technology, the inMotion provides good sound considering its compactness. Battery or AC power; $149 list. www.alteclansing.com.
Neither the ABA nor ABA Sections endorse non-ABA products or services, and the product reviews in the Technology eReport should not be so construed.