by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company LLC
We often accumulate “tolerations”, those small annoyances that interfere with our concentration and productivity but never seem to rise to the level that inspires us to take action. Like barnacles collecting on a ship, they weigh us down, imperceptibly at first, then dramatically. The new year seemed like a great time to “scrape my hull” and clear out some tolerations.
My monitor height was one of my tolerations. Loving my MacBook Pro, I’ve made it my only computer. But placing the computer atop the 200+ year-old wide-board walnut tavern table that serves as my desk, built in a time when no one imagined anything more technologically advanced than a clamp-on manual meat grinder, left the 5’10” me in a state of permanent hunch as I viewed the monitor. How best to raise the monitor to eye level without spending for a separate Apple monitor to use with my laptop?
My local Apple store offered the Griffin Elevator, which has received scads of loving reviews for its near-invisibility bestowed by minimal design executed in clear acrylic. However, a small- though-significant number of users complained that their laptops slipped off the sloping arms of the stand, despite its non-skid surface. The thought of hearing my laptop crash to the floor when I left the room was too much to bear. No matter how beautiful and affordable the Griffin Elevator is, I had to pass it up.
The Belkin Cushtop notebook stand keeps your laptop cool and protects your lap from heat, but raises the laptop just a little over 4 inches — not enough to cure my hunch. It’s primary function was to prevent “quad scorch” that can result from actually putting a laptop in your — who would have imagined? — lap.
A friend whose San Francisco office is a model of chic and functional design, reported that she favors a laptop stand that’s designed for cooling, not elevating; she uses a separate monitor.
A quick check of the Apple store offered the LED Cinema Display. It’s gorgeous and green, made for exactly the purpose I had in mind, it’s the ultimate MacBook accessory, but it costs $899. Maybe next year.
After some searching, I chose the mStand by Rain Design. Its brushed aluminum finish matches the MacBook, but it hardly matters, because the stand is all but invisible. Slipping is ruled out by an unobtrusive “lip” that holds the laptop in place. And the angle of the stand gives me a full seven inch elevation on my laptop — my massage therapist is already singing its praises, as am I. Combined with a wireless keyboard and mouse, I can continue to use my laptop as my one and only computer, without doing permanent harm to my posture.
Total cost for stand, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse: under $200
One of my small goals for 2009 is to improve the ergonomics in my office. I can already check this one off my list.