It’s Time to Venture Out with this Gear

    Keep your friends close–your gear closer.

    That should be Maingear’s new motto as we venture out after spending the last four months in COVID-19 quarantine. Their new Classic Backpack ($99) has more pockets than my old pair of tech jeans allowing us to pack up and move out.

    Truthfully, the folks at Maingear aimed this product at gamers so they can pack up their gaming laptops and tons of accessories, but we also see it as a must have for offspring (hopefully) returning to school, taking your office with you and, of course, just packing up a pile of “stuff” and hitting the road.

    We’ve used ours to pack up camera gear and possibly a change of clothes for excursions beyond our home.

    A few key features include:

    • A built-in TILE tracking device stored in a hidden compartment so you can find your gear.
    • A 15.6-inch laptop computer pocket
    • A 13-inch tablet pocket
    • A portable gaming console pocket
    • A battery pack with a “pass-through” for cables
    • A large main compartment
    • An easy-access front pocket
    • A quick drop-top pouch
    • A water bottle holder
    • An organizer for pens, notebooks and other accessories
    • A soft lining accessory pouch
    • Two security pockets for valuables, IDs and passports

    The Kensington Computer Products Group of ACCO Brands has two products you may want to drop into that backpack. The first and, to us, most essential is their SD5350T Thunderbolt Docking Station ($139.99).

    Attaching this baby to your laptop’s USB or Thunderbolt port expands its horizons to those of a desktop PC by providing:

    • HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity so you can add a second monitor
    • Four USB 3.0 ports
    • Two USB 2.0 ports
    • A gigabit Ethernet port
    • A Kensington security slot
    • It supports up to 480Mbps on USB 2.0, and up to 5Gbps on USB 3.0
    • A VESA Mount Compatible: Mounting plate

    The folks at Kensington have also taken computer security to a new level with their VeriMark Fingerprint Key ($42).

    This tiny device is designed to add another layer of security to Windows computers running Windows Hello. In fact their website ties it specifically to Microsoft Surface laptops. But, we discovered that Windows Hello can be found on most computers running the latest version of Windows.

    Basically Windows Hello allows you to add fingerprint scanning and other security tools (facial recognition, etc.) to restrict access to your computer, servers or highly sensitive data. The fingerprint key is also Fido U2F (universal second factor protocol) compatible.

    So, why do you need it, you ask? We lifted the following from Kensington’s website to explain what it does and why you need it:

    • Exclusively Designed for Surface, providing professional-level biometric security.
    • Advanced Fingerprint Technology combines superior biometric performance and 360° readability with anti-spoofing protection, while exceeding industry standards for False Rejection Rate (3%) and False Acceptance Rate (0.002%).
    • Universal Integration provides scalable, out-of-the-box access for Windows computers and platforms, including biometric login for Windows Hello™.
    • FIDO U2F Certified to ensure seamless interoperability and meet 2nd-factor security key logon requirements for cloud based service and software providers, including Google, Dropbox, GitHub and Facebook.
    • Password Manager Compatibility supports popular tools, like Dashlane, LastPass (Premium), Keeper (Premium) and Roboform, to allow the fingerprint to authenticate and automatically fill in usernames and passwords for websites.
    • Compact design easily attaches to a standard keyring for convenient portability.





    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at

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