What's Your Damage?

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This story appears in the January 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

It's a scenario every laptop owner fears: dropping your portable computer en route to your destination and causing permanent damage.

Unfortunately, that's not uncommon. Based on claims handled by computer insurance agency Safeware Inc., in 1996 accidental damage to laptops increased 45 percent over 1995. Although you can't prevent theft or natural disasters, some accidents--such as having your computer slide off your lap and fall to the ground--are avoidable. That's the idea behind ergonomic laptop accessories. Here's a sampling:

  • Legtop Podeum Pro: Gone are the days of hunching over a laptop perched precariously on your lap. Rach Inc.'s Legtop Podeum Pro comes with a padded, built-in carrying case that, when unfolded, straps the laptop to your thigh. No matter where you're sitting, the Legtop Podeum Pro provides a hands-free ergonomic solution that goes where you go. Cost: $99.95.
  • ComputERGO: For those who need more space for their work, the ComputERGO from Neutral Posture Ergonomics Inc. may be the ideal solution. It's narrow enough to fit through an airplane aisle and resembles a suitcase when folded. Once opened, however, an entire workstation emerges: a work surface for your laptop, two fold-out wings for your mouse and documents, a file organizer, and retractable power cords. Your laptop secures to the work surface, which adjusts to two heights. Cost: $985.
  • Field-Pro: Who says you can't input data and walk around at the same time? It's possible with Pit Bull Chains' Field-Pro, a portable computer support system that attaches a laptop work surface at your waist. This product gives users mobility and saves time, too--no more waiting to input information you've gathered in the field until you're back in the office. You can even run through the airport while wearing it. Cost: $169.

Up, Up And Away

By Karin Moeller

Time to pad those travel budgets. Business travel costs are expected to head skyward throughout the year, according to Travel One, a travel management company in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Here's how the figures stack up for 1998's Average rate increase:

Hotels: 10%

Airfares (domestic): 6%

Airfares (international): 7.5%

Car rentals: 5%

Meals and entertainment: 2.5%

Road Notes

By Catharine Brockman Kuchar

  • Want to fly in style? Try one of Virgin Atlantic Airways' Inflight Beauty Therapists. On all flights between New York City; Tokyo; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Washington, DC, and on selected flights to and from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong, a therapist offers complimentary massages and manicures to first-class passengers.
  • Now it's easier to fly into New York City. Northwest now serves all four of the area's airports, with an additional three daily nonstop flights between JFK and Detroit.
  • Continental Airlines now offers a "cookie jar service" between meals for BusinessFirst customers. Complimentary snacks include chocolates, fruit, gourmet chips, cookies and cheese.
  • Is business travel stressing you out? According to a Hyatt Hotels Corp. Travel Futures Project Report, 40 percent of business travelers say being on the road is only a little stressful, while 37 percent find it somewhat stressful, 19 percent find it not stressful at all and 5 percent are very stressed out.
  • Radisson Hotels Worldwide now offers a "Business Class" package that includes a free newspaper, in-room movies, breakfast, coffee, no fax surcharge and a dual-ported phone for a $20-per-night fee. Amenities vary by location.

Contact Sources

Rach Inc., (800) 942-4902, http://www.podeum.com

Travel One, 5000 Atrium Wy., Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054, (800) 243-1600, (609) 222-3949


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