3M laptop filter makes it tougher for nosy to read...

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November 26, 2001|By Kevin Washington

3M laptop filter makes it tougher for nosy to read screens

Trying to keep the world from seeing what you're typing on your laptop in a public area seems nearly impossible. But 3M knows you want to keep what you write to yourself and offers the Notebook Privacy Filter ($80) designed to keep nosy neighbors from trying to get a glimpse of your screen.

Your top secret data is protected by a thin, smoke-colored plastic sheet that fits over your display.

If you sit directly in front of the plastic, you can see what you're typing. Sit at an angle greater than about 60 degrees and the screen appears black.

3M has cut what look like tiny louvers into the plastic sheet to obscure text and images from anyone casting a sideways glance at your monitor .

Held in place by little plastic tabs with adhesive that you attach to your computer, the privacy screen fits monitors up to 14-inches.

The screen can be detached when you close your notebook, or you can leave it in place.

For casual computer users reading e-mail or playing a video game on a computer in a public place, the privacy filter seems a bit pricey and unnecessary.

But in an age when more and more people are using computers to conduct sensitive business while on-the-go, 3M's Notebook Privacy Filter can make you feel more secure.

Information: 800-553-9215 or www.3m.com/cws.

Canon S800 printer produces sharp results

For the next six weeks, most of us with even a little interest in photography will be shooting dozens of pictures of kids, grandparents and relatives we haven't seen all year in the usual holiday ritual.

If you're shooting digital pictures and want the instant gratification that comes from printing your own images as Grandma watches in amazement, the Canon S800 Color Bubble Jet ($300) meets all of the criteria for a no-hassle printer that gives superior results with some speed.

The S800 is a dedicated photo printer with six color ink reservoirs instead of the usual four, which helps produce realistic flesh tones. It uses the impressive Think Tank system, which allows you to replace one color at a time, rather than buying an entire color cartridge when one hue runs out. In the long run, it saves ink.

Each major printer manufacturer has its "exclusive" method for laying down the tiniest droplets of ink, which in aggregate create a picture. Canon's method, MicroFine Droplet Technology, works as well as Epson's or Hewlett-Packard's systems.

The S800 can produce 2,400-by 1,200-dots-per-inch images and spit out a 1,200-by-1,200 dpi 8-inch-by-10-inch color photograph in about 2.5 minutes. The prints were faster than some $400 inkjet photo printers we've tested.

Most of the photographs we printed with the S800 looked just like photo-finished pictures. Sharp details and crisp color were the norm. Advances in paper and ink over the past year have helped.

Black text, on the other hand, was just decent - good enough for most business uses, but not nearly as sharp or crisp as that produced by Canon's other great consumer printer, the S600, with similar settings. Most users, however, would never notice the difference.

Canon claims that its inks won't fade for up to 25 years when printed on Canon's Photo Paper Pro - if the photographs you produce are kept under glass in normal room lighting.

The S800 offers a additional perk. You get Microtech's Zio Compact Flash Card reader in the bundle so that you can move digital photographs to your computer via a Universal Serial Bus port.

Information: 800-385-2155 or www.usa.canon.com.

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