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Pack the right tech gear for your summer travel


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POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

This time of the year (economic situation notwithstanding), Hawaii people will continue to travel to the mainland and beyond. Here are some thoughts on what to bring with you in the way of tech gear that will make your travels more pleasurable and productive:

A laptop power adapter will connect and charge your laptop battery. Many seats on planes and trains have outlets for these. They can be used for PDAs, cell phones and DVD players as well as your laptop. I-Go, for example, makes a laptop charger that has changeable tips to match many different laptops. (I found myself without a charger on a recent business trip to Guam, and this product saved my bacon).

Here are some other suggestions: mobileoffice.about.com/od/laptopaccessories/tp/poweradapters.htm.

Noise-canceling headphones are a must for that flight out of Honolulu Airport. New York Times tech columnist David Pogue gave the Panasonic RP-HC500s (as little as $100 online) a thumbs-up. He reckoned it was just as good as the $260 unit from Bose. If space and weight are an issue, Bose makes a wonderful earbud headphone. I take these with me all the time.

If a long auto trip on the mainland is part of your itinerary, you'll need a car inverter (which plugs into the cigarette lighter) to charge your laptop or other mobile devices in the car. Sears has a good model (bit.ly/RRvQe) that includes a USB plug for charging your iPhone, iPod and BlackBerry simultaneously, if necessary.

You might want to bring a USB PowerStick ($60), a charger that plugs into you laptop's USB jack. Resembling a flash drive, it can charge mobile devices such as your iPod or cell phone from the laptop — even if you're away from the grid.

If wireless connectivity for you and the family is a must, Verizon has a cool new product called the MiFi, a battery-powered EVDO modem that allows up to five mobile devices to connect to the Internet. Weighing in at 2 ounces, it leverages Verizon's 3G network and creates a Wi-Fi zone that can be reached from up to 50 feet away, even indoors. Price is $100 with a two-year service plan, or you can buy it outright for $270 and pay $15 for 24 hours for accessibility on an ad hoc basis.

Concerned about backing up your files while on the road?

Last time I was there, Costco had a pack of inexpensive flash drives ($50), or if you need larger capacity, I've used Seagate's 320-gig USB 2.0 Portable External Hard drive, which goes for less than $100.

Bon voyage.

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Cliff Miyake, vice president and general manager in Honolulu for tw telecom, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).