SurgeArrest protects laptop computersIt's tempting to...


August 17, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn

SurgeArrest protects laptop computers

It's tempting to trust your hotel when you're on the road with your computer, feeling that the hotel you plug into is going to give you clean, uninterrupted power. After all, they should know what they're doing. But your computer is vulnerable wherever you plug it in. Don't put its life in danger.

American Power Conversion has released SurgeArrest Notebook, a new protector in their SurgeArrest line designed with mobile computing in mind. The small, one-outlet unit offers surge protection for your laptop and modem, and in/out ports for the phone system (so you don't have to reach behind the furniture every time you want to switch between the phone and the modem).

The SurgeArrest unit is relatively small and lightweight. It's also sized and shaped so that I could plug my modem transformer in the same wall outlet. There's a cap that goes over the three-prong plug when it's not in the wall to prevent it from getting bent up in your suitcase. A light at the top of the unit lets you know that it's on and working properly. The only drawback I found is that at $30, they could have made it a two-plug unit. The SurgeArrest Notebook guards the computer power and the modem connection, but not the modem power. The unit comes with six feet of phone cable.

Information: 401-789-5735 or on the Web at:

CD-RW 426 Deluxe works with Macs and PCs

It's hard to take a product from a company called "Smart and Friendly" seriously, but their CD-ReWritable drive, the CD-RW 426 Deluxe ($599 internal/$699 external), will quickly make a believer out of you. A rewritable compact disc drive serves several different functions. You can use it as a conventional CD-ROM drive, a CD-Audio playback machine, a CD-Recorder (for creating your own CDs and CD-ROMs) and a CD-ReWritable drive (for making CDs that can be recorded over multiple times).

Smart and Friendly likes to brag that its products are the ultimate "out-of-box experience." This means that the CD-RW 426 is a breeze to set up and use. It comes with a slew of software, including Adaptec's Easy CD Creator Deluxe, CD Spin Doctor (for creating your own CD-Audio mixes), Video CD Creator (for mixing video and audio for playback on a DVD deck), and Picture CD Creator (for assembling photo CDs). Five other multimedia applications are also included.

The CD-RW 426 plays back CD-ROMs at 6x speed, CD-R at 4x, and CD-RW at 2x. These aren't blazing speeds, but the unit's versatility and value make up for it. You probably already have a faster CD-ROM drive, anyway. Another nice feature for us "platform agnostics" is that the CD-RW 426 Deluxe works on both Macs and PCs. This drive has probably won more awards (from the likes of PC Magazine, PC World, MacUser) than any other. Maybe "Smart and Friendly" isn't as goofy as it sounds.

Information: 818-772-8001 or on the Web at:

Reviews of these and other gadgets are at

Pub Date: 8/17/98

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