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Chapter 2. Essential Hardware for Mobile Computing

Chapter 2. Essential Hardware for Mobile Computing

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accessoriesyoumightconsideraddingtoyourtravelgear.

Attheendofthischapteryou'llfindouthowtoaccessallthe

hiddensecretsofyourlaptopkeyboard.



[Viewfullsizeimage]



WhichLaptoptoBuy?

AppleoffersthreelaptopsiBookG4,PowerBookG4,and

MacBookPro.AllcurrentmodelsalreadyhaveAirPortExtreme

installed,awireless(Wi-Fi)cardthatcanconnecttoawireless

networkinyourhome,office,atmanycoffeeshopsandbook

stores,manyhotels,andatthousandsofotherhotspot

locationsaroundtheworld.

BelowisinformationaboutthecurrentmodelsofMaclaptops.

KeepinmindthatthemodelsAppleofferschangeregularly!



Ahotspotisalocationthatprovideswirelessnetworkaccess,usuallyforafee

andsometimesforfree.SeeChapter9formoreinformationabouthotspotsand

Wi-Fi.



TheiBook

TheiBookisaconsumer-levellaptop(idealforstudents)witha

ruggedanddurableplasticcase.Youcangeta12-inchdisplay

fortheultimateinlightweightportability,ora14-inchdisplay

formorescreenrealestate.

The14-inchiBooksofferyouachoiceofeitheraComboDriveor

aSuper-Drive.AComboDrivecanreadandwrite(burn)CDs.It

canalsoreadaDVD(meaningthatitcanreadthedataona

dataDVD,anditcanplayamovieDVDdisc).Butitcan'twrite

aDVDasadatadiscorasamovieDVD.ASuperDrive,onthe

otherhand,candoallofthesethingsreadandwriteCDsand

DVDs.



Thescreenqualitymaybeadecidingfactorinwhichlaptopyou

chooseifyouplantouseittoeditphotographicimagesorto

givepresentationstosmallgroupswithoutaprojector.The

contrastinaniBookscreencanvaryalot,dependingonthe

anglefromwhichyouviewit.Ifyouwanttoadjustcolorsor

retouchimagefiles,youhavetomakesureyouhavethescreen

atjusttherightangletogiveyouanaccuraterenderingofhow

theimagereallylooks.Ifpeoplearegatheredaroundyour

laptopforasmallpresentation,thescreenwilllookgoodto

thosedirectlyinfront,butitwillbesub-parforeveryoneelse.



ThePowerBook

Apple'snewestPowerBooksarealuminum-cased,professionallevellaptops.They'reslightlymorepowerful,theyhavemore

portsforplugginginotherdevices,andtheyofferuptoa17inchdisplay.A17-inchscreenmakesthePowerBook'shigh-end

modelattractivetoprofessionalsandisincreasinglyreplacing

thedesktopcomputerintheoffice.ThePowerBookalsohasa

higherqualityscreenthantheiBook,andhigherresolution.

Thesemaynotbecriticalconsiderationswhenyou'retraveling,

butifyouwantyourlaptoptobeyourmain(oronly)computer

whenyou'renotonthego,givethePowerBookextrapointsfor

providingmoreoptions.

LiketheiBook,PowerBooksalsocomewitheitheraComboDrive

oraSuper-Drive.IfyouchoosetheComboDrive(whichdoesn't

burnDVDs),you'llsaveacouplehundreddollars.Now,you

maythinkyou'llneverhaveanyreasontoburnaDVD,justas

Robin'smotherandsomeofourfriendsthought.Butitwasn't

longbeforetheywereshootingdigitalphotos,editingmovies,

andaskingwhyweletthembuyacomputerwithouta

SuperDrive!



Robin'smom,PatWilliams,headingtowards80yearsold,maybeoneofthe



onlygreat-grandmothersintheworldwhohandsoffheroldMacstoherchildren.

WhenPatgotanewG5withtheIntelprocessor(shewantedtogowirelessso

shecouldgetAirTunes,plusshewantedaSuperDrivesoshecouldburnher

movies),shegaveherG4iMactoRobin'sbrother,Cliff.



Ifyoucanaffordtheextraexpense,gettheSuperDrive.Evenif

youaren'tinterestedinmakingyourownmoviesonDVD,and

evenifyoudon'tneedtobackupdatatoadiscthatholdsmore

thanfourgigabytes,it'llprobablybeeasiertosellyourlaptop

laterifithasaSuperDriveinit.

APowerBookincludesaPCcardslot,alsoknownamongoldtimersasaPCMCIA(PersonalComputerMemoryCard

InternationalAssociation)cardslot.ThePCslotacceptsPC

cardsthatcanadddifferentkindsoffunctionalitytoyour

laptop.SomePCcards,forinstance,provideextraUSBor

Ethernetports.OtherPCcardadaptersholddigitalmediacards

liketheoneyourdigitalcamerauses.

YoucanalsobuyaMicrodriveaminiatureharddriveandaPC

cardadapter(shownontheright)toaddagigabyteof

removeablestoragespacetoyourlaptop.InsertitintothePC

cardslot.



Forpresenters,someofthePowerBookmodelshaveback-lit

keyboardsthatcansensewhentheambientlightislowand

illuminatethekeys,whichenablesyoutoseeyourkeyboardin

adarkpresentationroom.Thebuilt-inspeakersonthe

PowerBookaremorepowerfulandsoundbetterthaniBook

speakers(ofcourse,externalspeakersaremuchbetterfor

presentations;seepage18forsuggestions).



TheMacBookPro

TheMacBookProisthefirstmodelofMaclaptopstofeature

Intelprocessors,boastingincreasedspeedandperformance.All

oftheMacapplicationsthatarebundledwiththesenewlaptops

havebeenspeciallyoptimizedfortheIntelchip.Manyofyour

favoritethird-partyapplicationshavebeen,orareinthe

processofbeing,optimizedforthisnewprocessor.Thebiggest

differenceyou'llnoticeotherthanblazingspeedistheiSight

camerathat'sbuiltintotheborderofthescreen.

AninternalmodemisnotincludedinMacBookProlaptops.If

youneedone,atinyUSBmodemisavailableattheonline

AppleStore.



ThePCcardslot(describedabove)inaMacBookProusesa

newanddifferenttechnology,whichmeansyouroldcardswon't

fitinit.ThenewslotiscalledanExpressCard/34.



LaptopConclusions

TheiBookismoreaffordableandit'sdurableanicefeaturefor

travelers,students,andotherruggedtypes.It'sagoodchoiceif

youwanttobemobileandsaveafewdollars.

ThePowerBookisalittlemoreexpensive(exactlyhowmuch

moredependsontheconfigurationyouchoose),buttheextra



speed,power,andhigher-qualityscreencanbeworththeextra

moneyifyouusethelaptopasyourprimaryworkcomputer.

TheMacBookProisthetop-of-the-linelaptop.Othermodels

withtheIntelprocessorwillbeavailablesoon(probablybythe

timeyoureadthis).







EssentialMobileAccessories

WhileyourMaclaptopanditsincludedsoftwarewillgetyou

connectedandonlineinmostsituations,therearesomemobile

accessoriesthatmakemobilecomputing,bothdomesticand

foreign,easierandlessstressful.

Onesmallrealitycheck:Ifyoucarryallthisgeararoundwith

you,itmeansyou'reprettymuchobsessedwiththisRoad

Warriorstuff.Yourloadcanbelightenedconsiderablyifyou

eliminatethedigitalcameraequipmentfromthelist(whichI

personallyconsidermoreimportantthantheconvenienceof

travelinglight).



LaptopCarryingCase

Anicecarryingcasehelpsprotectyourcomputerandgivesyou

aplacetokeepmostofyouraccessoriestogether.Iprefera

backpack-stylecomputerbagbecauseIusuallyalsocarrya

camerabagthat'slargeenoughtoholdadigitalvideocamera

andadigitalstillcamera.WhenIwearthebackpack,Istillhave

onehandfreetousemymobilephone,myPDA,myGPS,ormy

iPod.OrtoshowmyIDtoairportsecurityagents.



MiniMouse

Alaptopprovidesatrackpad,soyoudon'thavetousea

mouse.Butforsomeofus,amouseismucheasiertouseand

thetrackpadfeelsawkward.Aminimouseisextrasmall,

lightweight,andpacksawaynicely.Thesmallfootprintofamini

mousegivesmoreroomtomaneuverwhenyou'reworkingina

crowdedspace,suchasacafetableoranairlinefold-downtray.



SearchtheInternetfor"minimouse"tofindawideselectionof

bothwiredandwireless(Bluetooth)models.Someofour

favoritescanbefoundatTargus.comandiogear.com.Don't

forgettoputamousepadinyourbag.



SpareCablesandCableAdapters

It'sbettertotakecableswithyouandnotusethemthanto

needasimplelittlecableandhavetospendhoursinan

unfamiliarcitytryingtofindone.

Telephonecord(RJ-11).Thisisanordinarytelephone

cordtoconnectyourlaptoptoaphoneoutletsoyoucan

useyourMac'sinternalmodem[*]

[*]TheMacBookProdoesnotcomewithamodeminstalledunlessyou

specificallyrequestandpayextraforit.toconnecttotheInternet.Sure,

youhopeyourhotelhasabroadbandconnection,butifitdoesn't,you're

prepared.



Alsoconsidertakingalongaduplexadapter(showntothe

right).Plugtheadapterintoaphoneoutlet,thenplugboth

thephoneandyourlaptopmodemintotheduplexendof

theadapter.Youcanonlyuseonedeviceatatime,butyou

won'thavetoplugandunplugaphonecordeverytimeyou

switchbetweenmakingaphonecallandgoingonline.

Ethernetcable(RJ-45).Thisisaveryhandyitemtohave

inyourlaptopbag.SometimesanInternetaccessarea(a

hotelbusinessoffice,aresortcommunityroom,oran

Internetcafe)providesanEthernetportsoyoucanconnect

totheirbroadbandconnection,buttheymightnotprovide

theEthernetcableyouneedtoconnectyourlaptop.Hotels

thatprovidebroadbandconnectionsintheirroomswilloften

haveanEthernetportclosetothetelephone(sometimes

labledasa"dataport")thatyoucanplugyourlaptopinto

usinganEthernetcable.

Ifyou'reataclient'sofficeandneedtotransferfiles

betweencomputers,youcanuseanEthernetcableto

connecttwocomputersandsharefiles.SeeChapter10for

moreinformationaboutfilesharing.

IfyouplantouseanAirPortExpresstomakeyourhotel

roomwireless,you'llneedanEthernetcable(seepage17).



FireWirecables.AFireWirecablewillconnectmostdigital

videocamerastoyourlaptop.Withyourvideocam

connected,youcanimportvideofromyourcamcorder,then

useiMovietocreateamoviewhileyou'reonthego.Ioften

useiMoviebecauseit'ssoeasy;withtheclickofabuttonI

cancreateastreamingQuickTimemovieanduploadittoa

webpageonmy.Macaccount(seeChapter4).

Ifyoudon'twanttoimportvideo,youcanconnectthe

camcordertoyourlaptopandshowyourvideoonthe

laptopscreen.WepackalongtwodifferentFireWirecables

sowecandothisa4-pinto6-pincablethatconnectsa

videocamtoacomputer,anda6-pinto6-pincableincase

wewanttoconnecttoaFireWireportablestoragedevice.

Decidewhichcablesyoumightneedandtakethemwith



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