Coffee shops are mini offices now, with at least half the seats filled by people on laptops. After writing about using a VPN for online security last week, I decided to point out three gadgets that can make your Starbucks computing time more secure.
Prying Eyes: No matter what you’re doing on your computer, chances are you don’t want everyone who walks by seeing your business. Grab a Privacy Devil Privacy Filter (privacydevil.com) and it will be your secret. This thin black filter, created by 3M, reduces the viewable area so only people directly in front of the screen can see what’s on it. I consider it a must for working on an airplane, where laptop screens are all too visible. Prices start at $35. If you buy, look to Amazon where they seem to be cheaper.
Unwanted Watchers: Every laptop sold these days comes with a video camera for face-to-face chats, but that video camera can be hacked. You could live your life unsure whether or not anyone is watching you while you’re online, or you could simply pay $6 for a C-Slide Webcam Cover (www.c-slide.com). The cover adheres to your laptop and has a sliding panel that blocks the camera lens when not in use. It’s a neater solution than covering your lens with duct tape.
Bathroom Breaks: I was doing a little laptop computing the other week when nature called. The usual protocol is to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your laptop for a few minutes while you step away. I looked to my left: The guy was sketchy. I looked to my right: The guy was frantically jotting in a notebook and mumbling to himself. No good options there. If only I’d had the Kensington Laptop Locking Station 2.0 with me ($120, www.kensington.com). Kensington makes smaller solutions, but my slim Apple laptop lacks a security slot so I need this larger product that clamps around the hinge and includes a key, lock, and cable to keep it in place. I’ve tried the Locking Station since then; it’s a heavy piece of hardware to tote around, and I wish it came with a carry bag. Still, it’s the best way I’ve found to make sure my laptop is still in place when I get back to the table.
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