I’ve been reading way too many articles about laptop thieves in airports and especially coffee shops. The first step, of course, is to get a secure password and a secure encryption system (we like Macs for that reason), but the second, is to lock your machine down if you spend a lot of time working away from home.
We tried out the Griffin Portable Security Techsafe locking system, which was invented I would guess because computers, at least our Macs, no longer come with a security latch built in to their cases. Griffin had to figure out another way.
Their solution is pretty easy. The kit comes with tiny clamp that fits easily into the hinge of most laptops. It’s a slightly delicate maneuver and not one you want to force, but once you do it once and see how it fits, it’s very simple. (The one big fear would be closing the laptop before inserting the clamp all the way, which would probably break the screen.)
Once the clamp is in, part of it protrudes out the back of the laptop, making it easy to latch onto with the include combination lock. LIke any lock and cable system, this is clearly not meant to chain a laptop somewhere out of sight and will only act as a slight deterrent, but one sure enough to stop anyone in all but the meanest of Starbucks locations.
Simple mechanism and combo lock so no extra keys to carry.
Cable wouldn’t stop of a dedicated thief, but weaker length is the clamp, which is made of a thinner metal, which could be cut pretty fast with wire shears. This could have been made more difficult with a shorter clamp that was more covered by the locking mechanism. The lock is set on one combination for life, so don’t lose it!
All in all, a good laptop security solution from Griffin.
Techsafe Cable Locking System from Griffin Technology $24.54 on Amazon.
GreatDad.com Review Policy: The featured product for this review was provided to us, at no cost, by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.
Hate me if you want, but I just won a new iPad last weekend. I was speaking at the Modern Media Man Summit and won the bright, shiny object on the first day, immediately enhancing my opinion on the conference, the people around me, and life in general. The iPad is one of those “things” that, when you touch it, brings immediate joy and amazement. I’m not ’90s enough to not see through it and realize how fleeting that joy is, but the first time you hold one in your hands, there is no denying the feeling it brings.
So, iPad or Kindle? Here’s my semi-objective take on the situation.
1. Thing of beauty, lovely to hold, likely enhances people’s perception of you, at least in the short term. I once had a brand new hard-to-get sports car that felt like it had the same effect. Kids would bow to me; pretty girls would yell to me from open windows. Literally. However, it left me wondering if people loved me, or thing surrounding me, and a bit confused at times.
2. Many, many apps and diversions, though much is still iPhone small and fuzzy when you blow it up to full-size.
3. Price at $499 intro is steep. Plus, the “cheapo” version, which I have is only 16G, which is like an iPod nano. It fills up very fast and could not take all of movies or photos without rejecting it all.
1. Highly practical solution for readers. Easier to read in glare, and supposedly easier on eyes after long periods.
2. Lighter weight than iPad, but iPad is so light, it’s hard to believe this is an issue.
3. Boring white, a little like beige computers of the ’90 before Mac reinvented the world. Utilitarian looking, and hard to imagine it inspiring anyone to new heights of poetry or enlightenment. You have to hand it to Apple. When I work with their products, I never feel like it’s the machine that isn’t inspiring. On the other hand, Apple forces me to face up to my own ability to realize the potential they provide me.
4. Cheap! The Kindle is $137 today in September and the rumor is that it will be sub-$100 by Christmas. Nice job, and I think an attractive price point, given that the books you stick into it are still going to be full price and not sharable with other people. (Does that suck or what?).
5. Better at beach and in sun (see ad below). I hate the beach and sun, so what do I care.
Bottom line: If you have the bucks, grab an iPad and experience limitless joy, at least for a short time – until iPad 2 comes out and you feel like a sorry loser for having the “old model.” Buy the one with 64G and bask in your good fortune, though quickly realizing that that still isn’t enough to sync without constantly pruning your collection of old “Gilligan’s Island” reruns.
Second bottom line: If you have kids love to read and who travel, buy them a Kindle for Christmas when prices come down. The Kindle, at a lower price, is a perfect solution to a child carrying 10-15 books in a suitcase. The Kindle allows no game-playing distractions and delivers on its promise. It’s a very practical way to carry lots of books to read on the go.
New Kindle ad. Selling on price not always a great story.
My kids are 5 and 9, and we are always trying to keep them away from all the evils the 21st century has in store. It may seem really antediluvian, but that includes PG-rated movies, Nintendo DS-style solitary video games, the wild and wooly internet, and even email. The longer we can put off the inevitable, the greater the chance that we will have an intersection of knowledge gained at the appropriate maturity level. My pulse races at what things my son and daughter might see if we didn’t work hard at this.
Some day soon my daughter is going to “require” email though, I’m sure since she has many friends whose parents are more liberal than we are when it comes to these things. Email is a great thing, and I’m tempted to give it to her today so she can write to her grandmas and aunt and uncle. But I’m also worried that it’s a Pandora’s box with some unpleasant surprises very quickly in store. I certainly don’t want to see her getting spam for low mortgage rates or black market Viagra, or worse.
There are now products though that open up email to little kids without fear. One is the Etendi BRIDGE, a product we gave our GreatDad.com Recommends seal to earlier this year. This site is subscription based and allows communication, IM and video, between a very limited number of people and was designed more for kids and faraway relatives than it is for young girls. I’ve encouraged them to consider a variation on this site for limited kids’ social networks.
Another is My Secret Circle, a USB-based device that allows your daughter (this is a “girl-oriented” product) to connect with friends in a safe and secure environment. The USB key is required to enter the website and use its functions including a personal Facebook-like page, chat/IM, email and games. Friends must have a My Secret Circle USB “key” as well to interact, and must be given a written out “Friend Code” to find each other on the site. My Secret Circle costs $19.99 on Amazon, and an extra BFF USB key is available for $10.
This product is developed for kids 8+ and is designed for this age group with appropriate messaging. Unfortunately, there is no parent supervision function, which might be problematic for two reasons. One, if the site password is ever forgotten for any reason, there is no way to retrieve it, unlike most sites that are tied to an adult’s email. Second, and more serious, is that there is no monitoring function for parents. While kids need private spaces, 8-10 year old kids are still very young to have completely private online spaces that might need to be monitored in many very easily imaginable situations.
Our favorite option right now is the magazine/website developed my New Moon Media, called NewMoonGirls.com. While this site does not have email, it does have many of the functions that My Secret Circle has like forums and IM with one key difference: it is completely monitored in the background by adults who see every word written. My daughter loves the magazine, which comes every two months.
These guys are too geeky to believe, but it puts my great dad credentials to shame when I see guys building custom stuff like this for little kids. Add this to the list of home projects I know would add immeasurably to children’s memories, but which I lack the competence, or motivation, to ever bring to completion.
This is one tiny video game machine.
I’m happy to report that our new app that helps dads find local activities via their phone is off to a great start. We’ll be launching the iPhone version as soon as Apple gives the green light.
Check out some of these positive comments:
This is a great app and is very useful, but didn’t recieve 5 stars because it seems to be focused on San Fransisco when I use it
Unbelievable, makes finding fun ideas so easy along with directions and everything u need 2 know. Sorry dads, i’m a mom using this
This is a really good app. Now I have a place to find different activies do with my kids. For sure a Man Secret!!!
I never knew half of this stuff was around! Mums world take aid from this also. But its best kept a guy secret!
I feel guilty i havent done 95% of the stuff this app says i could be doing with my kid right now!
i live in philly and i didnlt know half of the places here i could take my kids. love it love it love it! 5 stars