Macworld Gear Guide

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Gifts for nine-to-fivers

Life in a cube farm doesn’t have to be dull. The addition of just the right gadget—a high-fashion fan to stir up that stale office air, a monitor big enough to sneak a peak at the last season of “The Office” (without blowing your budget)—can help quell the drudgery; the right keyboard accessories can help quell the RSI. We asked the folks around our office to suggest some of the coolest office gear they’d seen lately; here’s what they came up with.

Key : $ —gifts costing between $0 and $30; $$ —gifts costing between $31 and $200; $$$ —gifts costing more than $200.

Laptop desk $$

clear, $144; white, $149; edgeBlur

Do you use a laptop at the office—and then tote it home with you so you can work late into the evening? If you’re one of the overworked masses, the surface , from edgeblur, could be your new favorite place to work. It’s a highly configurable laptop desk that has side wings for your mouse and/or coffee cup, and adjustable supports in the back that tilt your PowerBook or iBook to a comfortable angle (and help it keep cool). You can use it in your favorite chair, in bed, or anywhere else you feel like working.—Dan Miller

Save your hands $$

$200; Contour Designs

Anyone concerned about ergonomics—and that should be anyone who uses a computer—will want to know about Contour Design’s RollerMouse : it’s a keyboard tray with its own built-in, programmable mouse-replacing roller bar. Roll that bar, and your cursor moves up and down. Slide it side to side, and your cursor does likewise. It makes the sideways mouse-grab a thing of the past, keeps your hands on the keyboard where they belong, and is easier to use than a trackpad.—Dan Miller

Savvy cephalopod $

$15; ThinkGeek

The people who make AC adapters don’t seem to be communicating with the folks who make power strips: the former are so bulky that you can plug only a few at a time into the latter. But the geniuses behind the PowerSquid have a solution: the Outlet Multiplier . It lets you plug in five AC-adapter bricks at a time without sacrificing other outlets. It also comes with keyhole slots on the back so you can mount it on a flat surface.—Cyrus Farivar

Breath of fresh air $$

$50; Brookstone

The biggest problem with the modern office environment isn’t the fluorescent lighting or bitter coffee. It’s the stale air—you’re probably breathing some right now. If you are, the MiniMax Tower Fan could make your lungs a bit happier. Small enough to fit on a desktop but strong enough to air out a stable, it won’t make recycled office air any fresher. But at least it’ll move that air around a bit, and look really cool while doing so.—Dan Miller

Desktop big screen $$$

$229; Westinghouse Digital Electronics

If you want to turn a Mac into an all-around media center, Westinghouse Digital’s new HD-Grade monitor can help. This display has a single Digital Visual Interface (DVI) input, so it will work digitally with new DVI-equipped Macs. Its response time (15 milliseconds) is fast enough for games and movies, and its 1,280-by-768 native resolution will make ’em look nice and sharp.—Dan Miller

Alarming development $$

$35; with radio, $60; with CD and radio, $100; Brookstone

The weakest excuse for being late to work has to be “my alarm didn’t go off on time.” Don’t let your cheap old alarm clock embarrass you ever again. Thanks to an embedded, self-powered microchip, Brookstone’s SmartSet Alarm Clock always knows the right time, even if the power goes out. It also adjusts itself for daylight saving time and remembers separate alarms for weekdays and weekends. Unlike some of Brookstone’s goofier gadgetry, this device could actually be useful.—Dan Miller

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