Backing up has become a way of life these days. We back up the contents of our computer's hard drives (you DO back it up, don't you?). A UPS (uninterruptible power...

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Backing up has become a way of life these days. We back up the contents of our computer’s hard drives (you DO back it up, don’t you?). A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) keeps us going in case of a power outage. We archive our digital photos to CD and DVD, and we might even print out an important document just in case the word processor goes on the blink.

But when it comes to backup power for a notebook computer, too many of us still rely on having an AC power source available if we need it.

But of course, none will be around when your battery begins to die. Having a backup battery makes a lot of sense for the person on the go. Trouble is that many companies have different makes and models of portable computers, and you might not know what kind of unit you’ll be using on any given day.

If you find yourself playing notebook roulette, the answer might lie in a new battery that works on most any notebook computer.

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Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

APC now offers its Universal Notebook Battery (UPB80). Weighing in at less than 28 ounces, the battery (www.apc.com, $249.99) is slightly more than a half-inch thick, 10 inches long and 6.5 inches wide. Its battery’s dimensions let it easily fit into most notebook carrying cases.

When fully charged, the lithium polymer battery can provide up to 8 continuous hours of operation depending on the notebook model and applications running. A power-level button and LED-capacity indicators let you monitor the status of the remaining battery power.

A rotary selector switch on the upper left corner lets you control how much voltage the battery will discharge. The power ranges from 15 to 24 volts.

Also built into the battery is an input/output power port that lets recharge the Universal Notebook Battery via your computer’s charging adapter.

Also included are a number of different power plugs and jacks that ensure that the battery will be compatible with the widest possible variety of notebooks on the market today.

To see if your particular computers are compatible with the Universal Notebook Battery, check out APC’s “mobile computing selector” for a complete capability list, www.apc.com.

Designed to integrate with APC’s Universal Power Adapters and TravelPower Cases, the Universal Notebook Battery incorporates several thermal management features. APC claims that this allows the battery to be one of the only external notebook batteries designed to operate inside notebook cases.

Tabletote

PCTabletote

www.pctabletote.com

$50

With the Tabletote, you can fit both your laptop and a “desk” in your briefcase.

When you’re ready to work, the mobile workstation’s telescoping legs can be extended to create a table 13 inches to 30 inches high, and its work surface can be extended to a length of 22 inches with a fixed width of 10.5 inches, giving you room for both a laptop and a mouse or portable projector.

— Deborah Porterfield

Gannett News Service

Skooba Satchel

RoadWired

www.roadwired.com

$100

The Skooba Satchel can safely protect a 17-inch notebook and plenty of other gear (cellphone, keys, water bottle, etc.) in its various-sized compartments.

Made of tough ballistic nylon, the 44-ounce bag has hundreds of multilayered air cushions that act like shock absorbers. Available in four color combinations, the Skooba Satchel is $100.

Smaller protective Skooba Sleeves are designed to hold a laptop while tucked inside a briefcase also are available.

A $60 sleeve holds a compact laptop up to 12 inches wide, while a $70 version has room for a 17-inch laptop.

— Deborah Porterfield