Whether you inhabit the heart of the Silicon Valley or the top of a lonely mountain, computers likely are an integral part of your life — a huge lifestyle switch from just a generation ago. But it isn't just the laptop or desktop itself that pays our bills, manages our schedules, or shuffles our spreadsheets. A host of gadgets help it run, to make all this high-tech hustle possible.
We close the week with a roundup that presents some nifty computing accessories. Whether you need cooling fans or a new mouse to improve your computer's performance, we're sure you'll find something that delivers a dose of digital satisfaction. And the only crashing you'll see around here, by the way, involves prices.
Skinit coupon: 20% off sitewide
Discount: 20% off via coupon code "SCHOOLSKINS"
Shipping: Starts at $2.99, or get free shipping on orders of $40 or more
Expires: September 30
Is It Worth It?: Just because you lug around a laptop doesn't mean you have to brandish the fashion consciousness of a geek (unless that's what you're going for in the first place). Skinit makes custom vinyl skins for laptops, desktops, MP3 players, iPhones, PDAs, and more. With the 20% off, you can snag some deals on attention-grabbing skins that depict anything from sea turtles to the logo of your favorite sports team. Do note that you have about two weeks to cash in on this deal — one of the best we've seen from Skinit — so we suggest browsing the site soon and picking out a skin that suits your taste.
Coolball Laptop Cooler Ball Stand 2-Pack
Price: $1.49 with free shipping via coupon code "2K3IOL"
Lowest By: $2
Coupon Expires: September 21
Is It Worth It?: A little bit of insurance goes a long way to protect a laptop, so it's hard to see how you could go wrong dishing out less than a $1.50 for these plastic ball stands, which help keep your computer from overheating. It's an extremely cost effective alternative to a ventilated cooling mat.
Laptop USB Folding Table w/ Cooling Fans, Mouse Pad for $20 + free shipping
Price: $19.95 with free shipping
Lowest By: $4
Is It Worth It?: It's not the price or quality that may be an issue here, but the utility. If you work most of the time at a coffee shop, library, or office, it's tough to determine where exactly you'll use this little table. That said, you may like working outdoors or in places where there's little desk space to be found — like in your soft comfy bed. This table will then turn any scrap of real estate into an office on the go. It features a retractable USB cable and adjustable legs, along with all-important cooling fans for keeping laptops chill.
Logitech K340 Wireless Slim Keyboard
Price: $21.99 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $15
Is It Worth It?: Like wireless mice, wireless keyboards give you lots of flexibility in terms of how you set up your workstation. Moreover, with this Logitech option, you could streamline too; the included "unifying" receiver will work for up to six of the manufacturer's compatible devices — including the mouse below. That means, you only need to occupy one USB port to simultaneously use both peripherals. Pretty neat, huh?
Logitech Performance Mouse MX
Price: $59.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $25
Is It Worth It?: This mouse looks like the computer equivalent of a drag racer. It works on glass, and you can recharge it either through your computer or a wall socket. It also comes with the aforementioned Logitech unifying receiver, so small that you can plug it into your computer and forget it. Hyper-fast scrolling allows you to breeze through reports in seconds; just be careful to get the hang of it so you don't accidentally scroll your way off of a key page at the Big Presentation. The average customer rating at Amazon: 4-plus stars.