Macessity intros TrayStation convertible laptop stand

Mac accessory maker Macessity on Monday announced the TrayStation Cooler/Riser, a combination laptop stand and cooling tray.

Like traditional laptop stands, the TrayStation lifts your laptop to a more-ergonomic height (in this case, approximately six inches off the desk) when using the computer with an external keyboard and mouse. However, the TrayStation's clear-acrylic top surface separates from the steel base, allowing you to use the former as a low-profile cooling stand when the laptop is sitting directly on a desk.

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Knomo Prague laptop bag

Laptop bags are primarily utilitarian products. You start by looking for features like cushioning, space, and comfortable straps. London bag maker Knomo addresses these key protection and ergonomic requirements, but the company’s designs focus on appearance.

The laptop bags in Knomo’s Carnaby collection, for example, are definite head-turners. Available in black or brown, the Carnaby bags come in three similar styles: the tote-esque Sheya and slender Marbella can each hold laptops up to 14 inches; the briefcase-style Prague holds a 15-inch laptop. (If you’ve got a 17-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll need to check out the Cholet or Una bags.)

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Logitech intros Portable Lapdesk N315

Logitech on Tuesday announced the Portable Lapdesk N315, a lightweight, compact laptop desk designed to keep both your lap and your notebook cool over extended use.

At 14.4 inches wide, 10.2 inches deep, and 0.4 inches thick, and weighing less than 2 pounds, the N315 is designed to be small enough to pack in a laptop bag but large enough to accommodate 15-inch laptops. The N315 features a non-slip, washable surface and includes a slide-out mousing surface so you can use a desktop mouse while working on your lap.

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The case of the missing ExpressCard slot

As Apple giveth, Apple taketh away. Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line with a new 13-inch model and a revamped 15-inch model, adding, peculiarly, an SD Slot to each of them, ostensibly to make it easier for digital camera users to transfer data over. But in the case of the 15-inch, this move came with a price—the elimination of the ExpressCard/34 expansion slot that had been a fixture of the 15-inch MacBook Pro since its inception. The omission has led to howls of derision for certain classes of MacBook Pro users who depended on that interface.

The ExpressCard/34 expansion slot remains a fixture on Apple’s most powerful MacBook Pro—the 17-inch model. But that’s it. No other MacBook model has the card interface.

Admittedly, many people have never used their ExpressCard slot in their lives. Like the PC Card interface that preceded it, the ExpressCard/34 expansion interface is mainly there for users who need some hardware capability that the MacBook Pro lacks, and the MacBook Pro is certainly better-equipped than many lesser PC-compatible laptops out there.

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Shrinking your mobile gear

Over the past few weeks, I’ve covered a few ways to lighten your laptop bag and reduce bag clutter. One suggestion was to carry short cables and adapters in lieu of full-sized versions. Another was to make your AirPort Express Base Station double as a USB charger for iPhones, iPods, and other gadgets. Those articles turned out to be quite popular; while serious road warriors may not be able to do without particular heavy gear, most people can lighten the load of gadgets they carry when traveling.

In that spirit, I wanted to wrap up this miniseries of Mobile Mac articles by showing you a few of the other small-and-light gadgets I carry with me, as well as a couple newer items I’ve been testing that similarly aim to help you cut down on bag weight. (Some of these items I’ve covered individually in the past; I’ve linked to those articles in the text below.)

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Climbing Mount Everest with a MacBook Pro and iPod

If you're planning an expedition to conquer Mount Everest, you need to make sure you have all of the necessary supplies. If your list of supplies is anything like the most recent group to take on the Everest challenge, you should pack your MacBook Pro and a few iPods, too.

On the First Ascent Web site, Gerry Moffat, head of production for the team, films daily dispatches and uses his MacBook Pro to transfer and edit the data. All of the footage is shot on a solid state cards on the mountain.

"It's then put into the trusty MacBook Pro," Moffat said in a video on the Web site. "These have been functioning superbly all the way up—we're at about 21,000 feet."

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Thought Out updates MagStay MagSafe collar

Thought Out has released the MagStay Uni, a version of the company's MagStay accessory compatible with the latest "unibody" MacBooks and MacBook Pros (but not the MacBook Air). An update to Though Out's older MagStay Pro—we covered that version last year—the MagStay Uni is a plastic collar that fits around your laptop's MagSafe jack, using the adjacent Ethernet port for support, and makes it more difficult for your power cable to detach. A small opening in the collar lets you view the charging light on the MagSafe connector.

The idea behind the MagStay is that Apple's MagSafe connector, designed to prevent damage to your laptop by allowing the power cable to easily disconnect under strain, makes it too easy to accidentally disconnect. The MagStay avoids such accidental disconnections in situations where it's safe to circumvent the MagSafe's protection.

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