Quain’s Top 10: Road Weary

Ten tech tips to make your trip smoother.


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.