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Quain’s Top 10: Road Weary

1. Always have two ways of getting online.

You never know what America Online’s service will be like in St. Louis, so it’s best to have a backup Internet service provider you can use.

2. Install several printer drivers in your laptop.

Your software should include drivers for HP LaserJet, DeskJet, and Epson dot-matrix printers so you can plug in and print out anywhere.

3. Print out important contact numbers before you leave.

A good bump can disable your laptop and leave you standing in the airport dialing 4-1-1.

4. Use the password-protection feature on your laptop.

A password won’t stop a determined hacker, but it will keep the average thief out of your personal files.

5. Watch your notebook.

Especially when passing through an airport’s metal detector — a favorite place for scam artists hoping to lighten your load.

6. It’s inevitable: just when you really need it, your modem will break down.

Bring a spare, even if its just an old 14.4 Kbps PC Card modem.

7. If you don’t have a CD-ROM drive in your notebook, get an external one.

Most new software comes on CD-ROM.

8. If you’re on a flight and your laptop runs out of juice, head for the plane’s lavatory.

Many now have a power plug for shaving, but geeks know what they’re really for.

9. Buy a spare rechargeable battery for your notebook.

It will cost you around $100, but no notebook lasts long enough on one battery.

10. When you’re waiting at the gate for your flight, get a little extra power by plugging your notebook into an outlet.

Unless, of course, I’ve gotten there first.FCS