As a freelance writer who works out of my own home, I also frequently end up working out of businesses or locations with free Wi-Fi, most often coffee shops. It’s a great way to get out of the same old home office room and also a good way to ensure uninterrupted work time if things are a little bit crazy at home.
The one major difficulty is that most establishments were not designed with the concept that the customer would need electrical power in mind. After all, until the advent of laptops and subsequently wireless internet access, no one really used any sort of electronics inside of restaurants, coffee shops, or bookstores, except for maybe a short amount of time on a battery powered device.
That means that no one bothered to design and install very many customer accessible electrical outlets. The ones that are there are probably intended more to run a vacuum cleaner than your laptop.
This all adds up to a limited number of electrical plugins. If you are like me and lunchtime and other busy times are also the times you are most likely to be needing Wi-Fi and some electricity, then you know that many times, there are just not enough plugins for the number of people who want to be able to plug in their laptops.
Enter the Belkin Mini USB Surge Protector. While there is surge protection, that isn’t what you want this little guy for. What you care about is that it turns one electrical outlet into 3 electrical outlets, and it also has two charging USB plugs on the side for that guy who was charging his phone (or maybe for YOUR phone).
It is way easier to ask someone if you can unplug them for two seconds while you plug in your 3-way power device than it is to see if you can “borrow” their power for long enough to get a charge into your battery. Generally, I walk up to the outlet, see who looks up suspiciously, hold this thing up in my hand so they can see it, and every time, they’ve nodded or said it would be OK.
As an added plus, with that USB plugin you can charge your iPod or digital camera or phone or whatever via the usual USB cable without having to connect it through your PC or carry around an adapter to plug into the wall for each device you have. This one little guy charges them all.
I don’t really plug products or services, but this little gem has saved my bacon so many times that I have finally decided that it deserves a little mention. You can get it through Amazon, or try and find it somewhere else for cheaper, but either way, I’ll bet money that someday soon, you’ll be really glad you did.