12 great gadgets for the digital nomad

If you do your work on the run or in coffee shops, here are some devices that can make your life easier.

Lean, green machines

Solio Magnesium Edition and Voltaic Backpack

Why spend valuable work time searching in vain for an AC outlet when the sun can power your phone or other equipment? Solio's Magnesium portable solar charger has three photovoltaic solar panels that slide out to provide up to 8 watts of power. It's enough to provide 15 minutes of cell phone talk-time for every hour in the sun. Solio's Magnesium charger comes with a USB tip and a coupon for another iGo power tip of your choice. If you'd rather simply power your backpack, you can go green for US$249 with Voltaic's solar backpack. It puts out 4 watts of juice, has its own battery and comes with 11 power tips so it's sure to fit your equipment.

Keeping secrets

Fellowes Monitor Filter

The Fellowes Monitor Filter is essential equipment for digital nomads trying to keep a secret. Regardless of whether it's a spreadsheet for your company's upcoming IPO or the private portion of a friend's Facebook page, the filter will prevent those around you from seeing what's on your screen. Only those looking straight at the screen can see anything, so digital Peeping Toms peering sideways over your shoulder will see only black. Available for 12.1- to 15.4-in. displays, the filter costs about US$35.

Write on

Pulse Smartpen

When recording a meeting and taking notes is not enough, Livescribe's Pulse Smartpen lets you do both by linking your handwritten notes to what was said live. The Pulse Smartpen can play back exactly what was said and when by pressing the pen to any place in your notes. The only catch is that you need to use one of Livescribe's special 100-page notebooks, which cost US$20 for a four-pack. The US$150 charcoal blue pen looks and feels good when held, weighs 1.3 ounces and can record up to 200 hours of meetings, brainstorming sessions and contact info. The software puts it all together, along with cool apps like a translator and transcription service, but it only works with Windows computers.

A good call

iPaq 910 Business Messenger

HP's iPaq 910 Business Messenger may look like an ordinary smart phone with a screen on top and a thumb keyboard below for tapping out e-mails, quick memos and instant messages. But on top of calling and Web surfing over a 3G GSM quad-band mobile phone network, this 5.3-ounce smart phone can link with an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network at a connected coffee shop or client's office. Other features include built-in Google Maps with Multimodal GPS navigation, mobile versions of various Microsoft apps and an alphanumeric QWERTY keyboard. An unlocked iPaq 910 handset costs about US$500.

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Brian Nadel

Computerworld

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