The parade of small technological wonders, be they hardware, software,
or accessories, continues apace.
Hewlett Packard's recent release of the HP Officejet H470 adds
another option to road warriors, although probably more for those
driving from place to place, or perhaps taking Amtrak. The printer,
which lists for $249 with a $25 rebate through March 31, weighs 4.6
pounds, which is a fair amount for the air traveler.
That said, there are times when you need printing on the road, and the
H470 would appear to be the best option if you want, or need, to
duplicate the quality of a regular color inkjet printer. I've seen
other portable printers that are tiny, but these rely on thermal
printing, which requires special paper and thus added expense. To my
way of thinking, the inkjet has proven itself, and in this case, HP
has miniaturized it quite nicely.
Setup for the H470 was relatively straightforward: unpack the unit,
connect via the supplied USB cable, and load the software onto my
computer, in this case an Apple iMac. HP supplied both optional $40
Bluetooth and $80 Wi-Fi modules for wireless connectivity with a
computer, which can be handy on the road. Snap in the ink cartridges,
load some paper, and you're ready.
Print quality is equal to the HP 6940 printer that sits on my desk at
work. If I were on the road and had to run off something in a hurry, I
wouldn't be concerned using this device. If you need quality printing
while on the road, the H470 is a very good choice; information at
When a friend first saw the $199 (list) SimpleTech Marshmallow
Mini USB portable - and, yes, it has the word "marshmallow" in its
name, she thought it was a computer mouse of some stripe. This 250
Gigabyte hard disk drive isn't really as small as a mouse, but its
sleek lines, courtesy of Italian designer Pininfarina, make it look
Coolness, of course, isn't enough to make a good backup drive. The
Marshmallow Mini achieves its goodness because not only is it small,
but in part because it draws its power from a USB port or two on a
given computer. If the unit doesn't get enough "juice" from one port,
a supplied "Y" cable will connect to a second USB for power. That
means no separate adapter is necessary, and that's great when doing
backups on the road.
Not every computer will need the "Y" cable; Apple's new MacBook Air
gave enough power through its sole USB port to run the drive.
SimpleTech offers backup software called "Fabrik," which can also tie
into an online storage of the same name. In moving files between
computers, I found the Marshmallow Mini to be a great little product
well worth the cost. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without a way
to backup my hard drive and now, with this product, I don't have to.
Details can be found at http://www.fabrik.com/; the drives are also
sold by a variety of online retailers.
Crumpler is a company whose laptop bags, knapsacks and other items
have caught on in a number of places. The firm sent along their "Tony
Blair Special," a laptop bag designed to note the recent retirement of
the British Prime Minister; his image is on the bag's inside liner. Go
What does figure is that the bag, though a tad pricey at $80, is a
great way to tote around a small portable computer, 13 to 15 inches,
and accessories. Its blue-and-orange cover will stand out in a crowd,
and the padding is more than adequate. I'm thinking of another
Crumpler for my 17-inch notebook. Info at www.crumplerbags.com.