Choose the Right Location for Your MacBook - dummies

Choose the Right Location for Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

If you choose the wrong spot to park your new MacBook, you’ll regret it. Some domiciles and office cubicles don’t offer a choice — you have one desk at work or in the dorm, for example, and nobody’s going to hand over another one — but if you can select a home for your MacBook, consider the important placement points in this section:

  • Keep things cool. Your new laptop is silent, but that super fast Intel multicore processor generates heat. Make sure the location you choose is far from heating vents and shielded from direct sunlight. A laptop cooling pad elevates the base of your laptop to allow air to circulate underneath.

  • Outlets are key! Your computer needs a minimum of at least one nearby outlet, and perhaps as many as three:

    • A standard AC outlet: Make sure to use an appropriate current adapter if you’re traveling abroad.

      You can always add a surge protector (for basic protection against lightning). It’s not really necessary to use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (or UPS) because your MacBook’s battery will kick in automatically in case of a power failure.

    • A telephone jack: You’ll need this if you have a Lion-compatible external USB modem for connecting to the Internet or sending and receiving faxes.

    • A nearby Ethernet jack: This might be needed if you use the MacBook or MacBook Pro’s built-in Ethernet port for connecting to a wired Ethernet network, or if you buy a USB Ethernet port adapter for your MacBook Air.

      If you prefer to send your data over the airwaves, consider wireless networking for your MacBook.

  • Don’t forget the lighting. You need a desk or floor lamp, at a minimum — something to illuminate your work. (And yes, that also goes for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air owners and their illuminated keyboards.)

  • Plan to expand. If your laptop hangs out on a desk, allow an additional foot of space on each side. That way, you have room for external peripherals, more powerful speakers, and an external keyboard and mouse if you need one.

    If you want to keep an external keyboard handy, consider using a laptop shelf. These Plexiglas or metal stands elevate your laptop several inches above the desk, putting the screen at a better ergonomic position and allowing you to park your external keyboard and mouse underneath.