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Linux Laptop-HOWTO: Accessories Next Previous Contents

9. Accessories

9.1 PCMCIA Cards

Card Families

  1. Ethernet adapter
  2. Token Ring adapter
  3. Ethernet + Modem / GSM
  4. Fax-Modem / GSM adapter
  5. SCSI adapter
  6. I/O cards: RS232, LPT, RS422, RS485, GamePort, IrDA, Radio, Video
  7. Memory cards
  8. harddisks
  9. 2.5" harddisk adapters

For desktops there are PCMCIA slots for ISA and PCI bus available.

Source: http://www.lapshop.de

Linux Compatibility Check

With the command cardctl ident you may get information about your card. Put this information into /etc/pcmcia/config.opts if necessary. But this may not be enough to get the card to work, but works sometimes for no-name network cards or modem cards. If you get a card to work or have written a new driver please don't forget to announce this to the developer of the PCMCIA-CS package David Hinds . Look the current issue of his file SUPPORTED.CARDS to get information about supported cards.

Since there are not all cards mentioned I have set up a page PCMCIA Cards "Unofficially" Supported by Linux .

9.2 SmartCards

SmartCard reader, see Project Muscle - Movement for the Use of Smart Cards in a Linux Environment

9.3 Memory Technology Devices - RAM and Flash Cards

The Linux Memory Technology Device project aims to provide a unified subsystem for handling RAM and Flash cards (Memory Technology Devices). It is intended to be compatible with the Linux PCMCIA code, to prevent duplication of code and effort, yet its main target is small embedded systems, so it will be possible to compile the drivers into the kernel for use as a root filesystem, and a close eye will be kept on the memory footprint.

9.4 Printers

Survey about small mobile printers:

  1. CANON: BJC-80, for infrared connections to this printer see the links at my page about Linux and Infrared Devices
  2. CANON: BJ-30
  3. HP: DeskJet 340Cbi. This is a small, portable, low-duty-cycle printer. It prints either black, or color (3 color). I have had some problems with it loading paper. Overall, the small size and portability make it a nice unit for use with laptops. I use the HP 500/500C driver with Linux.
  4. Olivetti: JP-90

AFAIK only the HP and the BJC-80 machine have an infrared port. Pay attention to the supplied voltage of the power supply if you plan to travel abroad. Source: http://www.lapshop.de

9.5 Power and Phone Plugs, Power Supply

When travelling abroad you might consider to take a set of different power and phone plugs with you. Also, it's useful if you can change the input voltage of the power supply, for instance from 110V in the US to 220V in Germany. There also power supplies for 12V batteries from cars.

Some models of power plugs:

               / () \          _   _              _
frontal view: |()  ()|        (_)=(_)            (_)           N.N.

abbrevation.:    C13             C8              ??            PS/2

symbol......:    ??              ??              -O)-          N.N.

Caveats: Though some -O)- plug may seem to be compatible to your laptop, because of the according physical size, take extremely care it uses the same plus-minus voltage scheme, for instance plus for the inner ring and minus for the outer one. Often but not always there are the according symbols near the plug.

9.6 Bags and Suitcases

You probably wonder, why I include this topic here. But shortly after using my COMPAQ Armada 1592DT I recognized that the rear side of the machine (where the ports are arranged) was slightly damaged. Though I have taken much care when transporting the laptop, this was caused by putting the bag on the floor. It seems that the laptop has so much weight, that it bounces inside the bag on its own rear side. So I decided to put a soft pad into the bag before loading the laptop. A good bag is highly recommended if you take your laptop on trips, or take it home every night.

Laptops computers are frequently demolished in their carrying bag. The two main causes of demolition are poking the LC display and banging the edges.A good case has very stiff sides to spread out pokes, and lots of energy-absorbent padding around the edges to help when you whack it on the door jamb.Few cases actually have either of these features.

More laptops are lost to theft than damage, so camouflage is a wise too. Emerson, Tom # El Monte <TOMEMERSON@ms.globalpay.com> wrote: "I use for a laptop travelling bag: a Pyrex casserole carrier bag. Yup, you might think it odd to use a casserole bag for a laptop, but it turns out it has several advantages:

  • The one I use has a microwavable heating pad in it -- while I don't actually heat this pad (it's meant to keep food warm while in transport), it does provide padding underneath the laptop. The carrier I have only has a lower - heating - pad, but there is also a similar carrier that has both a lower - heating - pad and an upper - cooling - pad - placed in the freezer to get it cold - -- the intent is that you keep one or the other in the bag to keep your food hot or cold as desired. A secondary advantage to the - cooling pad - pad is that if you've - chilled - it before taking the computer out for the day, it will keep the CPU cooler while you're running the laptop...
  • the top of the bag has a zipper on three sides, so it - opens - the same way as my laptop -- I don't even need to take it out of the carrier to use the laptop
  • there is enough room at the side of the bag to store the external power supply, a regular Logitech mouseman, and the network - dongle - with BNC/TP ports - and if I had it, the modem/phone port as well -
  • there is enough clearance on top of the machine to include a handful of CD's or diskettes, if needed...
  • when it's left - unattended - in a car, it's less likely to be stolen -- think about it, if you were a thief walking through a parking lot and eyeing the contents of cars, a - laptop bag - is instantly recognizable as holding a laptop computer -- something that can be fenced at a pretty hefty profit, but if you saw a casserole carrier in the front seat of a car, would you think it contained anything OTHER than a casserole? - and probably half-eaten, at that... - Unless you are a hungry thief, chances are you'll skip this and move on...
  • likewise, I've heard that keeping a laptop computer in a diaper bag is another good - camouflage - technique -- who in their right mind is going to steal a bag of - dirty - diapers?"

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