Excalibur Online

Laptop Mods

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Laptops are becoming increasingly commonplace as they get cheaper. I've been looking at how people use their laptops, and I think that there are a few synergies that have been left untapped. So, here are a few ways that could make laptops even more useful than they are now.

Why are people buying laptops with shiny screens these days? And by shiny, I don't mean bright, but rather shiny as in glare. How did screen glare suddenly become fashionable?

It wasn't that long ago that you could buy screen filters to cut the glare of those huge old CRT monitors with the shiny reflective glass screens. Progress led us to the flat panel displays. In addition to being much thinner, LCD screens always had the advantage of not needing a glare filter because their surfaces weren't shiny. I guess that was too boring and functional because now I'm seeing glary screens everywhere around campus. They're easy to spot because with Microsoft Word on the screen, you can always see yourself.

Now OK, I'm willing to admit that this can have some advantages. For example, you can keep constant vigilance on the state of your lipstick while you are entering data into a spreadsheet. You can see if someone is standing behind you while you are looking at naughty web sites and you could spy on that cutie sitting behind you while you check your e-mail. All very good ideas.

However, there is the one minor problem of always having to tilt your screen and rotate your laptop so that the reflections of the lights in the room don't blind you while you are surfing the net. This problem is, of course, compounded on a laptop since they are portable and you'll have a whole new set of lights to try to aim your screen away from every time you open it.

My suggestion to those who must have a shiny reflective surface on their laptops is to Velcro a mirror onto the back of the screen for the times you just have to look at a reflection. And for the times you wish to work - use the other side. Actually, that's not a bad idea when you think about it. There's a whole side of a laptop that's just wasted on a great, big, glowing apple or whatever. So instead of sitting there with a little billboard advertising the computer's manufacturer, you could be providing a service to others by providing them with a mirror so that they may fix their hair. Wouldn't that contribute to the making of a better world? I think so.

A cup holder/coffee warmer would also be a clever addition, I would think. Think about it, cup holders are appearing almost everywhere these days - in the car, bikes, desks - so why not on laptops? After all, there is almost always a beverage alongside a laptop, whether at the Student Centre, a café or the library. We know that spilled beverages and laptops don't mix. So, the obvious answer is to add a cup holder to help prevent the inevitable spillage. And then there is the synergy of that little fan blowing hot air out of your laptop which is normally just being wasted heating the environment and adding to the global warming problem. If it could be harnessed to keep your coffee warm, then at least it would serve a purpose.

Similarly, I've heard on good authority from a friend with cold feet that those great big adapters you plug in to charge and power your laptops make for great feet warmers. Or perhaps your cat would appreciate you slipping an adapter under the sweater she insists on sleeping on - or better yet, slip it under something you want her to sleep on to keep your sweater cat-fur free.

So start writing those letters to Dell demanding your heated coffee cup holder accessory. Quit looking at your reflection and do it now!

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