Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Mobile Computing: Laptops And "Docking Stations"

Docking stations (aka “port replicators”) provide a simple way of “plugging-in” a portable computer to common computer peripherals — such as a monitor and full-size keyboard. The use of a docking station quickly enables a laptop computer to become a substitute for a desktop computer, without sacrificing the mobile computing functionality of the machine – just lift, and go.

laptop-docking-station Most full-size laptops today come with enough ports so that you don’t really need these things, but if you are buying a very small, ultra-portable laptop, you may want to consider such devices. The main advantage is, if you have a desk at the office or your home office with a second monitor, one of these “docks” will be handy as you can connect your desk keyboard, mouse, monitor, power and speakers to the docking station, and then can just pop the laptop in and out as needed instead of hooking up a bunch of connections each time you ‘go mobile’ and each time you get home again.

Some of these “docks” also have “coolers” built in, which quite often is a real boon. Heat is a killer in the digital hardware world, and some laptops run quite hot. If your laptop gets hot to the touch, you may very well want to get a cooler, and if you can get a cooler with all the ports on the back, why not? For more on the different kinds of “docks”, see

Docking stations are not terribly expensive, (around $75, or less) and – if you own a notebook – worth looking into.

[note: if all you really need is a few more USB ports, USB “hubs” may be the ticket. USB hubs come in an astonishing array of shapes and sizes and vary in the number of additional ports they provide. They tend to average $20 retail.]

Today’s recommended reading: Paranoia on the Internet Pays Off

Today’s free download: ZoneAlarm 9.2
An effective and easy-to-use firewall program, ZoneAlarm does a great job of keeping your PC safe from a variety of threats. ZoneAlarm uses a simple wizard to make configuring a firewall, which seems like a daunting task to many computer users, incredibly easy.

Orig post: 8/29/09

** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **

The folks at Eset have generously donated ten licenses for NOD32 Antivirus 4, to award to my readers. You might not have heard of Eset or NOD32, but it has quietly been around, and winning awards, since the early 90′s (the days of DOS).

To enter the drawing, please see: Software License Giveaway: NOD32 Antivirus 4

Enter my current giveaway and (possibly) win!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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May 25, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, mobile, PC, tech | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Paul,
    Great tip for laptop owners. The docking station provides the best of both worlds: a normal size display and a full size keyboard when stationary; and the mobility of taking the laptop with you.


    Comment by Paul Lubic, Jr. | May 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you, Paul. You said it better than I did.

      I also realize that I forgot to mention there are “generic” docks, and Make/model-specific docks..
      But I was kind of focused in on the added cooling abilities many stations provide for laptops, and I am thinking that summer may one day get here.. if it ever decides to stop raining :(


      Comment by techpaul | May 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey – this is exactly what I do with my laptop. Previously I used a USB hub to do the same effect, but as there was limited speed of transfer in the USB hub, I couldn’t play some fast action games. The docking station is much better!


    Comment by Adrian | May 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Adrian,
      Thank you for that. As your “testimonial” points out, there are several advantages to using a docking station at your home/office.


      Comment by techpaul | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. I Took the time to go beyond yesterdays blog…so much to see/read about Tech Paul… Your Business Page, Tech 4 Everyone, Your Give-Aways, Your Blog, Ratings, Referrals, Videos, … and you are all over the GLOBE, all very interesting,lots of work and dedication there, so well done.

    Thanks Paul for sharing your Knowledge,Time and Information… with us.



    Comment by Gaia | May 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Thank you.

      I have been building, fixing, and – yes – playing video games on, computers since the early days. I originally started this series because I found that I was getting asked the same questions over and over, and I thought, “I’ll write down the answer once, and each time I’m asked I can just refer people to the page (article).”
      … I don’t do this for profit (there’s no ads here), just to try to help folks “get along better” with these new-fangled comp-u-tatin’ devices.. as I don’t think they’re going to go away like the hula hoop and pet rock did!


      Comment by techpaul | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. Congratulations on a great Idea to direct traffic to your site offering a lottery for eset now how do I win the thing?


    Comment by Rob | June 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Rob,
    That contest ended, and the winners names were posted on Friday.


    Comment by techpaul | June 1, 2010 | Reply

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