Slap Your Mac
Tired of toting around a laptop or an iPad that looks just like everyone else’s? Stand out from the crowd by customizing your computer with Mac-specific vinyl decals. Crafty Website Etsy.com features many vendors who make decals that take advantage of the Apple logo, but we’re a big fan of MacSlaps' designs in particular. These stickers put that logo into a Scrabble deck, into the hands of Snow White, onto the front of a VW bus, in the middle of Mr. Potato Head’s face, or in any number of other unlikely new locations. (All photography by Peter Belanger.)
$7 to $15; Etsy
Kick The Brick
You know how hard it can be to stow your laptop’s brick and cord under your desk without producing an unsightly tangled pile? Or how tricky it can be to move your laptop from one outlet to another without tripping over the dangling wires? Quirky’s PowerCurl MacBook Cord Wrap solves both problems: It’s a lightweight rubber wrap that fits snugly around your power adapter, and it has a wide outer groove in which you can wrap the cord. The Wrap comes in different sizes for Apple’s various adapters, and in a handful of colors, from easy-to-find bright orange to office-ready gray.
Suck Less Juice
The more gadgets we get, the more power we need to fuel them. One way to keep your electric bill down: The Conserve Insight sits between your AC outlet and an electrical device and provides live feedback about how much electricity the device is using, how much it’s costing you to operate, and how much carbon dioxide you’re producing in the process. Not only will it tell you how much electricity your laser printer is consuming, it’ll also help you find out which of your power bricks you should unplug when not in use.
An ergonomic mouse can help you avoid Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), but finding the right one can be tricky. Most ergonomic mice try to solve the problem by doing a better job of conforming to the shape of your hand. The ErgoMotion Laser Mouse takes a different approach entirely: It sits on a pivot base and can tilt and rock as you use it. That means it can work in whatever position you find most comfortable, and your wrist and hand are never locked into stressful, unnatural positions.—Roman Loyola
Timbuk2’s Quickie is a great bag for light packers or students running back and forth between dorm, library, and classroom. It’s really small but still roomy enough to accommodate an iPad (or an e-reader) plus a couple of other essentials (charger, cell phone, and so forth). The Quickie has a removable shoulder strap (available in several sizes) and a studded “love glove” lining to protect your gadget. It’s a great alternative to bulky full-size bags when you don’t have much to tote.
The ExtremKey All-Terrain Flash Drive from LaCie might not protect your favorite daredevil during smoke-jumping, cliff-diving, or motocrossing exploits. But with its ability to withstand temperatures from –120 degrees to 392 degrees Fahrenheit, water depths of up to 333 feet, and the trauma of being run over by a 10-ton truck, the ExtremKey can at least give you the comfort of knowing that your data will survive the most insane, er, extreme, pursuits.—Jim Galbraith
$50 (8GB) to $250 (64GB); Lacie
Laptop computers are ergonomic disasters: Set flat on a standard hotel desk, their displays are too low. Matias’s iFold is a portable, lightweight laptop stand that holds your MacBook about seven inches in the air; add a portable keyboard, and you’ve got a fully mobile workstation you can use without wrecking your eyes or wrists.
Worried about your favorite teen driver? You can keep a virtual eye on him or her with Lemur Monitors’ SafeDriver: It plugs into your car’s on-board diagnostics port and records the top speed, the distance driven, and sudden-braking events. If you just want to know how much you’re spending on gas, Lemur also sells the EconoDriver (shown here), which monitors your fuel consumption in real time and also reports on the cost per trip and your car’s fuel economy.
Safedriver, $70; Econodriver, $80; Lemur Monitors
Your MacBook might be the essence of elegance—unless it’s surrounded by an unsightly bunch of cables connecting it to your keyboard, monitor, and other peripherals. Warpia’s Easy Dock Wireless USB Docking Station solves the clutter problem by acting as a wireless dock: You connect your display, speakers, keyboard, and mouse to the Easy Dock, and then plug a simple USB adapter into your MacBook. The adapter wirelessly connects it to the Easy Dock and, from there, to your peripherals. With a range of 30 feet, the Easy Dock makes it so your MacBook doesn’t even have to be anywhere near your desk.
Take a Note
If work or school requires that you take notes, Livescribe’s Echo Smartpen can probably do a better job of it than you can. Like some other “smart” pens, the Echo acts as an audio recording tool. It also comes with a surprisingly powerful built-in speaker, a headphone jack, and enough memory to hold more than 400 hours of audio. Used in conjunction with Livescribe’s custom software and special paper, it can export notes you take to printable image files and match specific notes to moments in the audio recording.
$170 (4GB) to $200 (8GB); Livescribe