Crave giveaway: London 'laptop purse' from Graceship

Congrats to Dan R. of Denville, N.J., for winning a Power Practical Power Pot V thermoelectric generator in last week's giveaway. Sick of boring black laptop bags? This week, we've got a bag with panache.

It's the London bag from Graceship, a maker of laptop bags for women started by a broadcast journalist turned entrepreneur. The camel-colored faux-leather tote has a cushioned compartment with a magnetic snap closure that protects laptops or tablets up to 15.6 inches, but it looks more like a stylish, refined purse than a computer bag. The company, in fact, calls it a "laptop purse."

"London is the perfect computer tote for a duchess with a diverse sense of style," Graceship says. Or a Crave reader, of course. … Read more

Jimmy Fallon tries to hide his Mac from Bill Gates

It all started so well.

Jimmy Fallon called Bill Gates "cool," which hasn't always been the first word used to describe Microsoft's co-founder.

Gates appeared on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" and talked about the stunning success he has contributed in the fight against polio.

Ultimately, though, Fallon wanted to talk gadgets. How will computing change?

Gates replied that tomorrow's computers will be able "to see, to listen, to talk, to recognize handwriting."

Gates has always been keen on handwriting and styluses, hasn't he? Though, I wonder how many of … Read more

Finsix aims a shrink ray at laptop power adapters

LAS VEGAS -- My laptop comes with an additional burden: its honking power adapter. An unwieldy brick that follows my MacBook around like a ball and chain. Finsix is rising up in rebellion against chunky adapters by showing off what they're calling "the world's smallest laptop adapter." Guess what? It is pretty small.

I'm looking at one of the prototypes, the product of five years of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and two additional years of preparing it for commercial release, here at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. The Finsix adapter is a dainty princess compared to my regular adapter. It provides the same charging capabilities and reaches the same touch-temperature, but it's just so much more compact.… Read more

Eyelock ID unlocks PCs with a glance at CES 2014

LAS VEGAS -- All but perhaps the ultra-paranoid probably find complicated passwords to be a giant hassle. The Eyelock ID security system wants to help you push the typical security drudgery aside and rely on your eyes as keys instead.

Essentially, the Eyelock ID system consists of a high-resolution digital camera working in unison with a pair of IR emitters. Here at CES 2014, I got a chance to check out Eyelock ID in person to see for myself if punching in painful alphanumeric passwords will soon be a quaint and antiquated activity. … Read more

Crave giveaway: Booq Boa brief laptop bag

Congrats to Robert C. of Atlanta for winning a 42-inch LG LCD TV in last week's giveaway, and to Jeffrey A. of Bethlehem, Pa., for winning an Arris-Motorola cable modem and router combo in our December 20 contest. As you head back to the office after the holiday break, wouldn't it be nice to have a brand new briefcase for carrying your laptop into 2014?

This week, we've got a Boa brief from Booq, a maker of high-performance laptop bags. The professional-looking bag has a padded laptop compartment that will hold a Mac up to 17 inches and a PC up to 16.4 inches, plus a large zippered main compartment for holding tablet chargers, smartphones, wallets, pens, and other working (and non-working) essentials. It has a durable water-repellent ballistic-nylon exterior and an abrasion-resistant rubberized bottom, features road warriors will appreciate.

The bag also comes equipped with a Terralinq serial number, which could help reunite you with your bag should it go lost and get found and reported back to Terralinq. … Read more

Top 5 most upgrade-worthy internal drives of 2013

If you have an aging computer, the best way to bring new life (speed, that is) to replace its internal hard drive.

Older computers generally run on a regular hard drive, whose performance degrades over time, just like any mechanical parts. Replacing that with a solid-state drive (SSD) will prove to be the most satisfying update you ever make to your system. In fact, the outcome is often better than getting an entirely new budget computer.

While it may seem intimidating to open a computer's chassis, this process is quite easy. Check out this How-To post if you need … Read more

Get a refurbished Acer R7 15.6-inch convertible for $499.99

You know how every laptop is pretty much like every other laptop? Occasionally a manufacturer tries something a little different, often with mixed results.

So it is with the Acer Aspire R7, which debuted earlier this year to decidedly mixed reviews. Some pundits loved the innovative design and beautiful display, others griped about the arrangement of certain key components. Interestingly, most agreed that the $1,000 price tag was pretty good for such an original and inventive machine.

So get a load of this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Acer (via eBay) is offering the refurbished Aspire R7-571-6858 15.6-inch convertible laptop for $499.99 shipped. … Read more

Rumor Has It: Apple and the mysterious missing monitor

Google Play might be getting some wanted (or unwanted, depending on how you look at it) features for its Android app. Among these features, of course, is more integration with Google+.

Also this week, a 4K monitor briefly popped up on Apple's European online retail site, and then was removed by a couple days later. What could it mean? I have a few guesses.

Thanks for watching! … Read more

Microsoft eyes free versions of Windows Phone, RT, report says

Microsoft may try to compete with Android by offering Windows Phone and Windows RT for free.

Citing "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans," The Verge reported Wednesday that both operating systems would be free of charge to device makers as part of Microsoft's future overhaul of Windows. The decision to offer them as freebies hasn't yet been reached but is under serious consideration by Microsoft OS VP Terry Myerson.

Microsoft earns a healthy chunk of money by licensing its operating systems to PC, phone, and tablet vendors. In the case of Windows Phone, most of the … Read more

Samsung unveils mSATA version of the 840 Evo solid-state drive

Samsung's popular 840 Evo solid-state drive (SSD) has just gotten more versatile. Today the storage vendor announced the mSATA version of the drive.

mSATA is a design form that's much more compact than the standard 2.5-inch laptop drive. This means the drive can fit in more portable mobile devices, including ultraportable notebooks or even tablets -- as long as they have an mSATA socket. While mSATA SSDs are not new, the new 840 Evo mSATA SSD will offer the same capacity as its standard drive, up to 1TB, making it (for now) the largest on the market. … Read more