Notebook surge protector available for international travelersAmerican...


Notebook surge protector available for international travelers

American Power Conversion's SurgeArrest Notebook ($29.95) surge suppressor has been an invaluable part of my mobile computing tool kit for the last few years. The newest version of APC's stalwart is the SurgeArrest Notebook Pro ($59.95). It works basically the same way as the original: one phone line in from the wall, one line out to your modem, one line out to the telephone. Where the original plugged directly into the wall outlet, the Pro attaches itself "inline," between your AC power adapter and the plug leading to the wall socket. The Pro can only connect to laptop power adapters that use C8 style, two-prong connectors, but most laptops are thus equipped.

The main functional difference between the two models is that the Pro was designed with international travelers in mind. While the original SurgeArrest can handle domestic surges, the Pro can handle line current the world over. It also has an "excess current detection" circuit that allows you to determine if there's too much current on the modem line (a danger with digital phone systems). The Pro comes with a five-year insurance policy with $5,000 of equipment protection.

The new Pro model costs twice as much as the original model and doesn't fit all notebooks. If you're not planning international travel and have a phone-line testing tool, the SurgeArrest will do the trick. If you travel a lot and need the excess current feature, the SurgeArrest Pro is worth the extra money.

Information: 800-800-4272 or In the last few years, scanning technology has improved greatly and the prices have dropped dramatically. A perfect example of both is the Visioneer OneTouch ($170 after rebate). While you can buy a cheaper scanner today, you won't find one that's easier, more versatile or better at optical character recognition (OCR).

The OneTouch is three machines in one, controlled by a row of buttons on the front of the unit. Press the first button and the document is sent to the scanner software. The second sends your output to the printer, while the third button sends the image directly to your fax program. The buttons are customizable: press one, hold it down and a window appears on your screen with various options for image handling.

One of the most impressive things about the OneTouch is Visioneer's OCR software. It has an amazing accuracy rate, making it a serious tool for translating printed documents into machine-readable text. For photos and graphics the scanning quality is good, but there are not as many options as on higher-end machines. After images are scanned, they can be tweaked using the bundled PhotoEnhancer software. The OneTouch is a perfect choice for home and small-office users. You can have it out of the box and scanning images in three minutes. It's always refreshing to encounter technology that's this easy, versatile and inexpensive.

Information: 510-608-0300 or surf on over to

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Pub Date: 11/02/98

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