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A leader in the world of computing accessories, Kensington ( www.kensington.com) has been around since 1981. And when it comes to mobile accessories for your laptop, they have some great products to choose from. I thought I would just give a small sampling. THE FLYLIGHT AND THE FLYFAN Two truly innovative products from Kensington are the FlyLight ( www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1334.html) and the FlyFan ( www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1471.html). Both products are based upon the same design — the main part of the unit is on one end of a 19-inch totally flexible arm, while the other end plugs directly into a USB port.

The FlyLight is perfect for any location where you’re using your laptop and need a little extra light. Plug one end into the USB port on your laptop computer and position the FlyLight’s flexible neck. It can reach around your laptop to shine on your keyboard, or it can be turned to the side if you need a small reading light for your magazines or files. The FlyLight is just a small LED that uses less than 90 seconds of your laptop’s battery charge per hour (if you’re running on your battery, of course). This is an almost negligible drain on your laptop battery, but you’ll want to keep an eye on the power consumption just to be safe. I thoroughly enjoy using this product. The flexible neck is ingenious, and it stays put regardless of how you twist it around. The light is just enough for seeing your keyboard in the dark, whether you’re at home, on a plane or just locked up in a dark closet.

The FlyFan is based on the same concept — the fan is placed on the end of the same stay-put flexible neck, while the other end plugs into your USB port. The blades of the FlyFan are small pieces of nylon which turn out to be totally harmless to your fingers or your face if you should come in to contact with the spinning fan. There is no on-and-off switch on the FlyFan; you just simply plug it in and it runs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test a beach or pool scenario with the FlyFan, but I imagine that it would come in handy in exotic, sunny locations. When I’m hot, I point the FlyFan toward my face. Other times I have the FlyFan pointing down toward my laptop to make sure my little computer is staying cool. I am thrilled with both of these nifty little products. They’re easy to use, require no software or installation instructions, and work perfectly. The FlyLight $19.99 www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1334.html The FlyFan $24.99 www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1471.html THE POCKETHUB AND THE POCKET KEYPAD For you laptop users who only have one USB port on your computer, you will probably be interested in two other products from Kensington — the PocketHUB (www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1469.html) and the Pocket KeyPad (www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1470.html).

The PocketHUB is the answer to the issue of having too many accessories and not enough USB ports. The PocketHUB virtually turns your one or two USB ports into four. You simply plug the USB plug of the PocketHUB into the USB port on your computer. Then any USB devices that you have, such as your mouse or MP3 player, can be plugged directly into the PocketHUB. The greatest thing about USB ports is that they use power from the computer to power the devices they support. For example, if I use a USB mouse, I can simply plug it into a USB port and it will run automatically — I don’t need a separate power supply. The same is true for MP3 players, some scanners and several other devices. The USB plug, however, does have some limitations. If the devices suck too much power or you have too many USB devices plugged in at once, then you need extra juice. Fortunately, Kensington thought of this and included a separate power supply for the PocketHUB. The PocketHUB worked perfectly for me and gave me the opportunity to have more than two USB devices operating at the same time. Kensington also threw in a handy traveling pouch that easily fits both the PocketHUB and the power supply. A related device to the PocketHUB from Kensington is the Pocket KeyPad. The main idea behind the Pocket KeyPad is that you can give your laptop a full featured “number pad” such as you normally find on full-size keyboards. I’m talking about all the number and mathematical keys that sit way down on the right side of a full-size keyboard. I don’t know about you, but I like to use those keys, and it’s always been very annoying for me to input numbers on my laptop using the number keys up at the top of my keyboard. The KeyPad has turned out to be the perfect solution for my needs.

The Pocket KeyPad plugs into a USB port on your laptop computer. The cord is plenty long enough, so you are fairly free to place the KeyPad wherever you want it to be. There is a “NumLock” key on the KeyPad that you can toggle off and on that allows you to use either the numbers or arrow keys. The KeyPad is compact and thin and appears to be very solid. Like the PocketHUB, the KeyPad also provides two additional USB ports at the top of the unit. If you plug the KeyPad into your only available USB port on your laptop computer, the KeyPad will then provide you with two additional USB ports to use for other USB devices. It’s a great design for a great product. PocketHUB $49.99 www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1469.html Pocket KeyPad $49.99 www.kensington.com/products/ pro_mob_d1470.html Brett Burney is the Legal Practice Support Coordinator at Thompson Hine (www.thompsonhine.com) in Cleveland. He also reviews products for Law Office Computing magazine (www.lawofficecomputing.com) and writes a monthly legal tech column for LLRX.com. He can be reached at [email protected].

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