On the Road
by Cate Eales
Appeared May 30, 2012 on castanet.net
I wrote about keeping your laptop cool.
That column seems to have chased away the hot weather, but it DID result
in a lot of really great questions about laptops, including questions
about travelling with laptops. So if you’ve got a laptop or you’re
thinking of buying a laptop or even if you just enjoy giving advice to
your friends who have laptops, read on.
How do I protect my laptop while travelling?
You want to protect the laptop itself from damage and theft. Start with
a good laptop bag. Whether you go with a briefcase style, a messenger
bag, or a backpack is up to you, but get something actually designed for
a laptop. Don’t throw the thing into a shopping bag and expect it to
To protect the laptop from theft, buy --- and use --- a notebook lock.
Kensington is the gold standard for these, but Targus also makes good
ones. You can have either a key lock or a combination lock, but
whichever you choose, get a decent, brand name one.
Here's a video showing one kind of Kensington lock . And here is a
Yes, those locks can be picked or the cables can be cut, just like on a
bike. But locking your computer will slow people down or discourage them
completely, just like "the club" on a car steering wheel.
And speaking of cars, there is a
LoJack program for laptops, here, and there are programs like LoJack
for laptops (and phones). LoJack will cost you. I use a free service
called Prey, which you
can see here. I have it for my netbook, and my Android phone.
If your laptop is stolen, these programs help you locate it. Even if you
can't locate it, you can wipe the data from it remotely, and that brings
me to my next point, which is: Make a complete backup before you leave
home. And leave the backup at home. If someone steals your computer AND
your backup, you're out of luck.
What about protecting the stuff that’s on the
Besides protecting the machine itself, you want to protect your files
and information that are on the computer. Make sure you have a password
on your computer, so someone can't just grab it and start using it. The
extra three seconds it takes you to logon with a password every time you
start up your computer is well worth it in terms of security. I always
recommend a password on laptops even when you’re not travelling.
There are also precautions you should take when you are using WiFi in a
hotel, restaurant, campground, airport, library, coffee shop, or
anyplace that isn’t a secured network. This excellent article explains
five things you can do to protect yourself from data and hardware
theft while using public networks.
This article from Microsoft covers much of the same ground, but it’s
worth a quick read.
What should I consider when buying a laptop?
As luck would have it, I have a little checklist on just that very
topic! You can
download it from this link. I hope that helps you!
30K Club Bikeathon
On June 16, 2012 I am riding in the
Bikeathon as part of
Team Tweet4OK. The event will raise money to help find homes for
those who have none and fund programs so they can stay housed. The event
is run by the
Kelowna Gospel Mission.
Please sponsor me in the 30K Club Bikeathon
If you would like to sponsor me, it’s very easy to do
that. Any donation, large or small is welcome and much appreciated. You
can click on this link
to make a secure donation online. If you would like to sponsor me
and are uncomfortable about online payments, please send me an email at
firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a phone number so I
can contact you. Many thanks!
I welcome your comments and
questions. I can also visit your home or office to help you and your
computer get along. Call me at 250-764-7043, email
email@example.com or visit
Computer Care Kelowna on
You can read previous columns here:
http://rlis.com/column.htm. If you'd like to subscribe to this
column by email, please visit this link:
http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618. It's easy, and free. If
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Kensington MicroSaver Keyed Notebook Lock Video
Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Lock Video
LoJack for Laptops
Five tips for using your laptop on WiFi hotspots
Four Safety Tips for Using WiFi
Looking for a Laptop?
30K Club Bikeathon
Kelowna Gospel Mission
Cate’s Bikeathon Sponsorship page:
Computer Care Kelowna
Getting Along With Your Computer Column Archives
Get Cate's column by email
Cate Eales 2012 – All Rights Reserved