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Pack a few bytes next time you travel
Ajay Jain
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September 26, 2007

If you are one of those people who need to hit the road or take to the skies frequently, you would do well to pack in a mini-arsenal of tech hardware and software to make the experience more productive and relaxing. Here's a suggested shopping list to get you going:

A warning: Don't be disappointed, but some of these goodies may not be available in India; prices for these have been quoted in US dollars. But if you are a traveller, you will get ample opportunity to pick them up overseas. Or just use your credit card and order it online for home delivery.

MojoPac -- to pack your laptop into an iPod: Unless you plan to use it during the journey, leave your laptop behind. And carry everything you need from your laptop -- software applications, personal settings, files, preferences -- in your pocket. Ringcube's MojoPac software allows you to do that -- you can virtually transport all of this into any USB device like an iPod, a cell phone, a portable drive or even a USB stick.

All you need is a Windows PC to plug this USB into to work as if you were on your own laptop; disconnect when done without leaving a trace of what you did on the host PC. Sync back when you are home, and it will seem your own computer was always with you. The Freedom version is free, and gives you most of what you may need. There are paid Deluxe and Enterprise Suite editions too with additional benefits. Download at

WiFi Finders: If you are carrying your laptop though, you might as well connect to a WiFi network. How would you normally look for a signal? By powering up your laptop and checking if there are any around? A cumbersome process. Get hold of a Wi-Fi Finder to locate the signals for you before you need to open your laptop.

Popular brands include IOGEAR and StarTech. Prices start at $17 (Rs 680); might not be available in India easily, so get one from overseas.

USB Massager: Travelling and working on a laptop for long hours can cause stresses in your body -- so why not get yourself a massage? This rubber massager can get to work for you; it only needs to be plugged into your computer's USB port for it to draw power. The ball vibrates at 3600rpm, and the nobbly bits are really good at working on those aches and pains. You could try to massage your palms, neck, back and shoulders, or even put it on the floor and rest your feet on it! Many brands are available in the market; prices start at about $20.

USB Reading Light: Ever wondered why no one has made keyboards that light up? Untill you get the answer, pick up one of these metallic, flexi-bodied lights that draw power from your USB port for use when there is poor ambient light. Costs around $8.

APC Plug-and-Play external battery (UPB60I): If you are going to be on the move for long, with little chance of getting a charging point, this battery from APC could be handy. It works with most laptop brands and models, and can provide up to six hours of additional power depending on the machine. Costs about Rs 13,000.

APC Mobile Power Pack (UPB10): A handy accessory, it is another power storehouse to charge up your mobile devices including phones, PDAs and iPods. When on short trips, you could take only this for recharging and leave all the unwieldy chargers behind. Costs around Rs 3,900.

APC Travel Power Adapter with International Plug Kit (TPA90DCI): Use it to simultaneously charge your mobile phone, PDA and laptop from a single airplane, car or mains power outlet. It has USB charging ports too, and comes with four international plug adapters to give you worldwide adaptability. Priced at Rs 6,779.

Universal power adapter: Another handy thing you always wish you had when travelling overseas to plug in your devices into different kinds of mains around the world. Available at most airports and markets in the world. A smart one would cost you around Rs 800.

Archos Media Players � carry your entertainment with you: Watch out for this device -- these players are fast emerging as the hottest consumer electronics items around. And why not? With hard disk capacities of up to 160 GB to carry all the music, pictures and movies you might need when on a long haul flight, it can also be used to review work documents in PDF format. You can also record TV shows through your Archos and watch them offline. With many models to choose from, Archos players vary between $200-600.

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