Burney’s Gadgets for Legal Pros: Batteries and Backups

Brett Burney is the Legal Technology Support Coordinator at Thompson Hine in Cleveland, Ohio. He regularly reviews products for Law.com’s Automated Lawyer and Law Office Computing Magazine. Feel free to e-mail Brett with your legal technology questions.

Link to Archive of Burney’s Gadgets for Legal Pros

Tekkeon myPower ALL MP3400

Mobile road warriors appear fearless until you see them frantically searching for a power outlet to re-charge their phone or laptop. The best laptop batteries last 4-5 hours; cell phones only give you so much talk time; and now Bluetooth headsets add another fast-dying item to the inventory

There are a variety of extra power creations on the market today that you can tack on to your cell phone or suck down power from the sun. But I haven’t found anything quite as sleek as the myPower ALL from Tekkeon Inc.

Tekkeon offers two models – the MP3400 gives you a little more power and charge capacity than the MP3300. I would recommend going with the MP3400 since it’s larger capacity means you can power many laptop computers.

The myPower ALL MP3400 is basically a big battery with an innovative connector on one end that can accommodate a plethora of various devices including cell phones, DVD players, digital cameras, and iPods. Tekkeon provides 8 adapter tips with the MP3400, but you can purchase additional adapters as needed.

I was hoping the myPower ALL was going to be lightweight, but the reality is that so much power has a slight heft to it. The MP3400 weighs in at around 16 oz. That’s not terrible, but it certainly adds to the weight of your briefcase.

However, at 3.28″ x 6.80″ x .92″, the MP3400 isn’t bulky at all. And the outside casing has a really nice black glossy finish.

The only trick to using the myPower ALL MP3400 is making sure you set it to the proper voltage for the device you’re charging.

Fortunately, the power adapter on every electronic device has its voltage output plainly printed on the block. Whatever voltage output is stamped on your AC power block is what you set the MP3400 to read. There are a series of LEDs on the top with voltage readings from 5V to 19V (the MP3300 only goes to 14V).

A small switch unlocks the voltage setting, you click to the proper number, then pop the switch back to lock it in place.

It’s important to get the voltage setting correct, although there’s really no danger of frying your devices.

While most portable power solutions can handle cell phones, few of them can provide enough power for laptop computers. That’s one of the primary reasons the Tekkeon myPower ALL MP3400 appeals to me.

When I used the Tekkeon myPower ALL to power my Dell laptop, I set the voltage just under what it needed. That way it still powered my laptop, but didn’t take extra juice to charge the laptop’s internal battery.

The myPower ALL easily powered my digital camera, Treo 700w, camcorder, and even my AA battery recharging station. This wasn’t all on one charge of the myPower ALL, but I was pleasantly amazed at how much I could power with the MP3400 before I had to re-charge it.

If you do a lot of traveling, or just regularly find yourself far away from electrical plugs, the Tekkeon myPower ALL MP3400 will give you a lot of extra power packed in a polished, compact case.

Western Digital My Book Pro Edition

Hopefully by now no one needs to impress upon you the importance of backing up your computer data. Most folks know how critical backups are to their livelihood; it’s just a matter of getting the right equipment and setting up a system.

I propose that the Western Digital My Book Pro Edition is an excellent choice for your backups – it’s easy to use and looks good on your desk.

This is a high-end, high-capacity, premium external drive that comes with a semi-premium price when compared to other external drives on the market. The My Book Pro, however, has everything from blue LEDs to high speed transfer interfaces.

Western Digital has been in the hard drive business (both internal and external) for quite a while and their “My Book” series of external hard drives have caught the fancy of many folks simply because they stand upright and look similar to hardcover books. It sounds a little silly, but if you’re going to have an external hard drive on your desk, it might as well look appealing.

The My Book Pro Edition offers three different interfaces – USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800. Most PCs have a USB port and the My Book will slow down for a 1.0 USB connection if absolutely necessary. But the My Book Pro lives for speed. If your PC has a FireWire connector, it will probably be of the 400 flavor unless you’ve purchased an expansion card that contains a FireWire 800 port.

Fortunately, the My Book Pro Edition works both sides of the computer fence, so it can plug right into a Mac without a problem – either USB or FireWire 400. And if you have one of the new Mac Pro’s, you’ll have FireWire 800 built right in.

A quick word on the speeds – USB 2.0 can burst up to 480 Megabits per second (Mb/s), but FireWire can sustain a speed of 400Mb/s or 800 Mb/s. FireWire is also known as IEEE 1394 connectors.

If that wasn’t enough, Western Digital included a slightly-stripped-down version of the reliable EMC Retrospect backup software to make sure that you don’t have to drag-and-drop anything. There is a CD included in the box, but the software also resides on the drive itself. When I plugged it into my PC for the first time, it asked to be installed and away it went. The only thing left was for me to set up a regular schedule for backups.

I was also extremely impressed with how quiet the My Book Pro Edition was, mostly due to the fact that there is no internal fan. There is a series of holes and vents around the unit to help with airflow.

Lastly, major kudos to Western Digital for actually supplying all three cables in the box – many manufacturers won’t do this. You’ll still have to plug in the AC adapter to run the My Book Pro.

The Western Digital My Book Pro Edition comes in a 500GB capacity for $349 and a 250GB size for $219. I would definitely recommend going for the 500GB model since I view it as insurance on the future – you’ll have lots of space and the faster FireWire 800 interface will start showing up on more computers.

Posted in: Burney's Legal Tech Reviews, Gadgets