Tag Archives: gear

Belkin Laptop Cooling Stand

burned-mattress-boringtrash1.jpgThis photo is **allegedly** the aftermath of a mattress having caught fire due to a very hot laptop. It’s been making the rounds in blogs and e-mail forwards, and while I find NOTHING more annoying than any email with the letter F and W placed side-by-side in the subject line, this did make me wonder if my laptop actually could get hot enough to ignite cloth.

If you’re on the slightly paranoid side when it comes to safety (like me), you’re probably giving the eye to gadgets like the Belkin laptop cooling stand pictured below. The center-mounted high-capacity cooling fan dissipates heat and if nothing else provides you with a much more comfortable experience during the hot months of summer. No more of that too-warm feeling when using the laptop as it was designed to be used (in your lap) on a park bench, in the airport or relaxing in your lawn chair with your favorite beverage and a full half inch of sunscreen. Best of all, there is no power cord or battery to buy as this cooling stand is USB-powered.

The price is certainly right–at $23.48, I can afford to indulge my safety paranoia just a little bit. Care to join me in cooler laptop Nirvana? Buy the Belkin laptop cooling stand at Amazon.com. And yes, every one of these which gets sold via clicking here is a bit of financial help for Freelance-Zone.com. Thanks much for your support!


Canon CanoScan LiDE 25 Flatbed Scanner

canoncanonscan.jpgIn the age of digital cameras, Photoshop, and online media archives like Flickr, I never saw the logic in buying a scanner. I just hang on to the old pictures in my collection and enjoy ’em when I feel the urge. Leave it to Catherine Tully to show me the error of my ways.

Cath uses her flatbed scanner to scan the pages of every print credit she’s ever had. It never occurred to me to put a scan of a couple of my articles out there. I have to admit, those scans looks snazzy as hell on a resume page. There’s something about that option I really like.

Enter the Canon CanoScan LiDE 25. This baby is a steal at $49.99, and features image enhancing that kicks in immediately after you scan those magazine and newspaper articles. It also has a multi-scan feature for large projects. If you have a collection of photos you can run them all at once, as many as will fit on the flatbed. Another great feature lets you scan documents and create PDFs with the scans. Not bad!

I think this is my next tax-write off and addition to the home office. If you are looking for some new home office gear, you could do a LOT worse than this inexpensive scanner. Many thanks to Tully for inspiring me to give this technology a second look.

Buy the Canon CanoScan LiDE 25 for $49.99

Quantaray Pro Photo/Laptop Backpack


When you’re writing for a living, diversity is the name of the game. If you can add photography to the mix, you’re instantly more marketable in more ways than one. Since one of my main strengths is music and culture writing, I’d be a fool NOT to be a writer/photographer.

When I first started taking pictures for my pieces, I used any old bag for the gear, but after getting the Quantaray Pro as a gift, I am completely sold on a dedicated bag for all my gear. I carry my Zoom H4 recorder, mics, camera and lenses, plus my laptop in the Quantaray Pro and have used the same one for years without so much as a broken zipper. We do a lot of different types of gear reviews at Freelance-Zone, but this one ain’t based on specs alone–I am a huge fan of this backpack and will definitely buy another one just like it when I finally kill it years from now after one location shoot too many.

Buy the Quantaray Pro camera/laptop backpack for $79.00

Zoom H2 Handy Recorder


The Zoom H2 Handy Recorder  is a simple, easy-to-use digital recorder custom designed for interviewing and on-location recording. The built-in mics are broadcast quality and even features a surround sound recording option. The Zoom H2 records to an SD card and has a USB port, letting you send audio files to your computer, or you can listen to the playback with headphones Best of all, it records to .wav or MP3 formats in a variety of quality settings–with a 4 gig SD card you can record two hours of audio at the highest .wav setting (96K) or a whopping 130+ hours of audio in MP3 format. A half-gig SD card is included, plus a USB cable and power supply. The H2 weighs only four ounces and uses two AA batteries. The Zoom H2 is perfect for interviews and podcasting, even as a budget location sound tool for indie documentaries or film projects.

Buy for $188.00