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Lap Desks 276

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the someone-help-me dept.
I have a 15" laptop and have used a number of lap desks over the years, and none have satisfied me. I don't really need a mouse pad space (trackpad) but it wouldn't hurt to have a mouse space available for gaming. I sit in a very large chair so using the armrests isn't an option. I'm just curious what experience you all have with various lap desks. Any particular favorites? I've seen shelves that you can slide over your chair, to glorified pieces of plywood, but what have you turned up?
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Lap Desks

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  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JK_the_Slacker (1175625) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:02PM (#21350803) Homepage

    ...if you're hoping that a lap desk will "satisfy" you, then I'm afraid that you need to get out more.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633)
      I don't know, if he gets some power and lube wired into it, and other appropriate attachments, it could make his browsing and gaming experiences a lot more explosive
    • Bean bag lap desks (Score:3, Informative)

      by pvera (250260)
      These are inexpensive, the last two I bought were about $20 apiece. One was plastic, with a non-slip soft rubber/plastic mat glued on its top surface. The other one was wood. Both had a beanbag underneath, which adapts to the shape of your thighs. These are barely wide enough for a laptop and a small mouse.
  • Work on a laptop? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:03PM (#21350829) Homepage
    If you really want to work on a laptop, put it on a real desk and connect a screen and keyboard to it. Laptops are not ergonomical. They're only handy for when you're on the move.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sobolwolf (1084585)
      Well I have been using one without the external keyboard/monitor for years and I have no problems.
    • Re:Work on a laptop? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @02:05PM (#21351949) Homepage Journal
      Depends on whether you have a real "laptop" or one of those 'luggable' "portable desktop replacements."

      I have a 15" ThinkPad and it's definitely a find-a-table sort of deal. Although it has a nice keyboard and TrackPoint, it's so heavy that I'm constantly fighting to keep it from sliding away if it's on my lap, and it gets quite hot (and it has an exhaust vent that's easy to block if it's not on a table). My SO's Dell (some sort of monstrous thing, maybe a 17"?) is even worse. They both have a lot of sharp corners and hard edges.

      But on the other end, I have a 12" iBook, an old G3 model, that works fine on my lap. It gets warm but not uncomfortably hot, the trackpad is positioned so that you can move back and forth from it to the keyboard without a lot of problems, it's light and doesn't slide much, and there's no hot-air exhaust to worry about blocking. It's not quite "curl up with a book" small and light, but it's pretty close. Also, even though it's 5 years old, the battery still runs for hours longer than the ThinkPad or the Dell.

      I have no idea whether the current 12" Apple laptops are as "lappable" as my old one, but you could do worse than to pick up an old G3. It would probably run Ubuntu quite handily.

      Anything bigger than 12", IMO, is too big for real 'laptop' use.
    • Try this thing. http://www.lapdawg.com/ [lapdawg.com] You can transform it's shape to make the laptop fit you. Portable as well.
  • Simple = best (Score:5, Informative)

    by toleraen (831634) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:06PM (#21350891)
    The "lap desk" I use is basically just a chunk of smooth wood with sort of a bean-bag pillow attached to the bottom. $10 from my local college marketing class. Works perfectly, doesn't get too hot, etc.
    • by anagama (611277)
      A breakfast in bed tray works well, at least when using a laptop on a bed. Not so great in a chair -- ok on a couch.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rwven (663186)
      I actually bought some TV trays from Walmart a while back. I removed the legs from one and use the top surface as a lapdesk. No padding or anything like that. It's big enough for my 15" MBP, time machine HDD, and mouse.
      • Re:Simple = best (Score:4, Informative)

        by AmaDaden (794446) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:28PM (#21351279)
        I do something similar. I collapse the legs on one of my TV trays and it turns in to a lap desk (end of the legs touch the floor and are parallel with my legs if your wondering). Then when I have to go do something I uncollapse the tray and stand it up. When in normal TV tray mode you can still use the laptop normally by just leaning in. It's the best solution for couch laptop use I have found.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Andy Dodd (701)
      Walmart sells ones exactly like you describe for $15. They do have an additional cup holder and a small pocket underneath for storing stuff too.

      Borders also sells them in a variety of sizes for $15-30.

      IMO the $15 Wally World one is better than any of the ones Borders sells.
    • by SQLGuru (980662)
      This is essentially what I have.....got it from Target on clearance....I think I paid less than $10. It's wide enough for a 15" laptop and a mouse + pad (I recommend the mousepad even for optical because it gives a little better traction to keep the mouse from sliding into your lap when you go to type). The one I have has a curved cut-out which gives a little better "fit".

      Layne
    • Ikea sells something like this. The top is mostly slip-proof plastic. The computer stays still, but I've had not trouble using the mouse on it. The bean-bag pillow is detachable, so you can wash it. And the top is easily washed with a wet cloth. It was a gift, but I think it runs ~$20. The surface is curved, so that it fits comfortably in the lap. I've also found it quite useful for creating a work surface for the laptop. If I take off the beanbag, and turn it the other way around, I can rest my lapto
  • Pillow on one side, hard plastic on the other. Only $8.99 [seniorsinc.com] or $8.64 CDN
    • by xtracto (837672)
      Haahaha... that reminded me something. When I first arrived at the UK, I arrived to a friend's house and she had one of those strange things with some painting on the surface. As I had never seen nothing similar before, to me it was a painting with some kind of bag sticked at the back. I thought it was a gift "creation" of her son.

      After some time in a talk I raised the subject about that and she laughed very hard (I did too after knowing what was it for) and told me the use of those. They are *very* handy w
  • by Parmelia (59132) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:08PM (#21350931) Homepage
    I used to have a small hinged piece of plexiglass that I used because it was easy to tuck into my laptop bag and have with me all the time. It was enough to keep both me and the laptop from getting too hot. Best paired with jeans, though -- it wasn't *quite* enough for the hot days of summer when I wanted to have the laptop on bare legs.

    I've seen ones with fans that plug in to USB, but to be honest, the extra fan noise kinda drives me crazy when it's that close to my ears.

    What I'm using right now is a little padded lap desk like they occasionally sell packaged with crossword puzzle books and such. Plastic on top, pillow underneath, works well enough *and* it's fine even if I'm wearing a short skirt or shorts and need to keep the hot laptop off my legs. I've noticed they sell these specifically for laptops nowadays, but so far I haven't seen one that's small enough for me. I'm not that big, and neither is my laptop!
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:09PM (#21350937) Homepage Journal
    I've been using primarily laptops for about 2 years, and none of them are suited for desktop replacement, because of the massive heat generated. I've been through 3 laptops in 9 months that had physical failures due to heat. I started a site to rant on about the hinge crack on my HP dv9000 [notebookhingecrack.com] model, and have received a few hundred search hits in a month or two.

    I replaced that unit with a higher end Gateway, and now that one is generating too much heat. My previous model, a Toshiba, had the same problem. My Lenova, same problem.

    Now I am searching on a decent desktop unit. All my computer life I always built my own, but I'm tired of it. I just want a powerful system that works for me without hardware issues. Software I can deal with, but it does seem that none of the manufacturers have any idea how to build a long term solution (and by long term, I mean just 12-18 months of use).

    I built a lap-desk a year ago with cooling fans (not plywood, either), and it was functional, but still not perfect. I'd love to see Fellows or another ergonomically-inclined designer produce something useful, but I think the "art" and look-and-feel get in the way of making something truly functional.

    My dream lap-desk? A Herman Miller designed desk for my Aeron chair. That would be just perfection, I believe.
    • by Vancorps (746090)

      I might suggest not buying laptops from Best Buy and buying business notebooks instead of consumer oriented ones. Better choices [hp.com]

      I have a nc8430 which is now discontinued but it is workstation class and doesn't generate too much heat. Yes it can get uncomfortable if I leave it on my laptop for six hours with the charger plugged in but if I'm off battery power all is well. It has held up rather well and it gets beat on pretty bad.

      Others have suggested it though and I don't disagree, if you need a powerf

      • ...but if I'm off battery power all is well.

        This is an important point. Every laptop I've ever owned has been significantly warmer when plugged in and charging the battery. In this mode, you get not only the heat from the circuits and chips inside the computer, but also the heat from energy that is "wasted" during the charge cycle. If you're using your laptop as a slightly portable desktop replacement, you should note that many laptops (but not all) will run fine if they are missing the battery but conne

    • by Piedramente (1063240) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:25PM (#21351227)
      I'd check your laptop fans and make sure they are operation and not clogged.

      I had a serious heat issue with a gateway until I opened it up and used compressed air to blast away some serious dust. What came out looked akin to dryer lint. No wonder that thing was getting hot.

      The cleaning helped tremendously, but I had to do it fairly often. I consider issues such as this design flaws.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I second the idea of blowing the dust out of your laptop. I have an asus W3V, and after about a year it started to have serious overheating issues. After trying a bunch of different software setup things (drivers, resolution, etc.), I was about to give up and buy another computer when I decided to give it one last shot, and just blow all the dust out of it. After opening up the panels at the bottom, taking out the keyboard, and blasting air into it (got big chunks of dust that were probably at one time d
      • by mikael (484)
        My Sony VAIO had that problem. The fan vent on the underside was a bit clogged with dust, and it was obstructed by being on a flat surface (eg. table), even with the tabs folded out. The solution so far is to make sure there is at least a 2" clearance space around the fan vents on the underside.

        Surely it wouldn't be that difficult to arrange the air cooling so that the vents are on the sides rather than underneath?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          My MacBookPro is vented toward the back. That's a nice touch. The only problem I have found with the MBP is that its complete lack of feet makes use of laptop "desks" with fans useless because there's no air intake for circ. Picking up a package of stick-on furniture feet and putting them on the laptop desk solved the problem. Antec makes a pretty good desk with fan.
          • by mikael (484)
            I'm curious - is the warm air exhausted at the back or cool air drawn in the back? The former is how the Sony laptop works, my cats take great pleasure in sitting behind my laptop and going to sleep. It's the air intake underneath that gets clogged up though.
      • by Sockatume (732728)
        I think you get this sort of problem with pretty much every computer which doesn't have filters, it just kicks in sooner with laptops. I'm amazed that even desktops don't have much in the way of removable dust filters. I suppose it's partly planned obsolescence. I actually look up service manuals for my prospective laptop purchases to see how easy it is to clean them out now.
        • I think the problem, at least on laptops, is the presence of the fans themselves. If they were passively-cooled (or better yet, without any air space on the inside at all) they wouldn't get so clogged up with dust.

        • Yeah, it's really only specialty computers which have filters, so either industrial or server, or you get it from a custom house instead of off the DELL/HP/LENOVO/SUB(your_favorite_brand) assembly line.

          Good point though, as my brother keeps whining about his almost five year old laptop having that problem, but he won't do anything serious about it.
    • by bkr1_2k (237627)
      Seriously, from that many failed brands I'd suggest it's your method of use that has a problem, not the hardware.

      I've had about 6 different laptops (several simultaneously) over the last 10 years, the latest one I've had for about 3 years, and I have no problems with it heating up ever.

      My current computer is an iBook, but I've had IBMs Dells, and HPs.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      You need an air-hockey table.
  • by Fear the Clam (230933) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:10PM (#21350961)
    It's not technically a lap desk, but I've been using one of these [anthro.com] for a few years now.

    It's sturdy enough to hold a 19" CRT, keyboard, and mouse, adjusts easily, and has wheels so you can just roll it wherever you want. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's worth it.
    • by Ossifer (703813)
      Looks nice, but how stable is it? Also, I see the wheels lock -- is this effective in keeping it from sliding?
  • Card table (Score:4, Funny)

    by simong (32944) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:11PM (#21350979) Homepage
    I have a pair of folding card style tables that cost me £12 and have provided sterling service for several years. They are better with small laptops though - anything bigger than 14.4" leaves no space on the surface and makes it's difficult to see the TV over the top. I live alone.
    • I live alone.
      Aww... maybe get a cat?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ROMRIX (912502)

      I live alone.

      If you threw that in to get modded up with a "+1 pity point" you're out of luck. Slashdot quit issuing those after the nineteenth failed CowboyNeal submitted Slashdot Poll;
      "My favorite jumper setting on a 14.4 USR data/fax modem"
      • jp15-1&2
      • jp15-2&3
      • jp16-1&2
      • jp16-2&3
  • I just got one... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AceyMan (199978)
    I just got a Lapinator. It's ight, thin, and is actually designed to serve as a heat barrier. (It uses a trademarked 3M product). It comes in "standard" and "wide" and has an optional outboard mousing platform. A web search using your favorite engine should find their page right away.

    I'm about to drive cross-country and I'll be using it with my Thinkpad T60 while my better half does the lion's share of the driving, so it will be getting a workout.
  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:13PM (#21351009)
    That's what I do - especially now that my wife and I are done making/raising kids!
  • Lapinator (Score:4, Informative)

    by rallyracer (700284) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:13PM (#21351011)
    I have used the lapinator for the last 2 years. It is comfortable and dissipates heat well. www.lapinator.com
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sxltrex (198448)
      Another vote for the Laptinator. My wife got me one for my birthday last year and I love the thing. It uses 3M Thinsulate to isolate your lap from the heat generated by your laptop and it's thin enough to fit in my laptop bag so it goes with me everywhere (it's very lightweight). It also comes with rubber bumpers to prop up the back side of your laptop to allow airflow between your laptop and the Lapinator. I keep the Mousitizer (I'm not making that up) in one of the pockets for those coding sessions where
    • by jnana (519059)
      Yet another vote for the lapinator. I've used it with a thinkpad t-43 for a year or so. It's much more comfortable than something like a large hardback book (which I used to use). And it does indeed dissipate heat well, since the back of the laptop is propped up a half inch or so, which lets air circulate underneath the laptop.
  • I can't imagine how sore your back is going to be in a few years if this is how you prefer to use a computer. You will be very hard pressed to find an ideal solution because you are trying to use the laptop in a way it was never intended.

    If you want to spend long hours on your machine, then you need to use a proper desk, plain and simple. Your neck and back will thank you.
    • by couchslug (175151)
      I have an electric recliner (keep an eye out for these, as medical equipment they are very well built and can be recovered by an upholstery shop) with a small pillow as a lumbar pad, and use a Logitech Marble Mouse, swapping sides to avoid RSI.

      The neck and back are very well supported in the recumbent position. Per the advice in other posts I'm getting a tray with a pillow on the bottom to solve the roasted nuts issue...
  • How can you work like that? Your neck will be bothering you soon. Get a proper desk and put the display at a decent height so that you are looking straight ahead as you work. Otherwise plan on a life filled with chiropractic visits and neck pain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by somersault (912633)
      I'd actually been considering something like this to play a game while I bathe. Do you think I'm addicted?

      On the plus side, I think in the bath the screen would be in a fairly ergonomic position :p Now I just need a waterproof USB keyboard..
    • He can compensate by spending the latter half of his life with his screen projected onto the ceiling so that he always has to tilt his head back to see it? I should really try setting something like that up to watch movies in bed :P
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        Actually I've been thinking for a while about doing some ceiling-projection stuff, because I get a stiff neck just watching TV in bed.

        The projection itself is easy (put the projector behind the headboard of your bed, but just make sure you get a projector that has a good keystone adjust). It's finding a place to put the speakers so that the sound doesn't seem to be coming from the sides or behind that's harder. (Of course headphones would work.)

        Behr Ultra Pure White on wallboard is apparently quite decent f
        • I have a very high room actually, I had nicked a projector from work at one point but it was pretty old, got rather hot and noisy pretty quickly - I'd have to get something a bit quieter (unless I went with headphones as you suggest) :P
    • Re:posture? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ptomblin (1378) <ptomblin@xcski.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:43PM (#21351547) Homepage Journal
      Funny you should mention neck pain. I've been using laptops in my lap for over 5 years now, and never had a bit of pain. But I recently got reading glasses, and now my neck is killing me when I use a laptop for extended periods of time. Not sure if it's because of the contortions I have to do to see the screen through the reading part of the bifocals, or if both are because of my age, but it sucks.

      I even had to prop my work monitor (24" Silicon Graphics CRT - VERY HEAVY) up on top of two ORA X11 reference books to keep from having to bend my head down.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by value_added (719364)
        Not sure if it's because of the contortions I have to do to see the screen through the reading part of the bifocals, or if both are because of my age, but it sucks.

        Instead of bifocals, why not have your opthamologist come up with a prescription for computer use only?

        Something you may or may not know (yet) is that a comfortable distance for a monitor is different than that of a book or newspaper, and again different than what's needed when in front of a bathroom mirror. Put another way, if your glasses (the
  • Cookie sheet (Score:3, Informative)

    by SleptThroughClass (1127287) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:15PM (#21351063) Journal
    Institutional cookie sheet. Large heat-dissipating aluminum tray with raised edges. Enough extra room for a compact mouse or other stuff.
  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:17PM (#21351107) Homepage
    I just put my laptop directly on my lap. It's really quite amazing, I can surf the web outside in 30 degree weather and still feel toasty warm. It's like my own personal heater.

    On a completely unrelated note, my doctor recently told me that I can no longer have children.
  • Angle is important (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:22PM (#21351181) Journal
    I like the ones attached to the side of hospital beds for eating on. It's kinda hard to sneak one out unnoticed[1], especially since you need to do it from someone else's hospital room (so it's harder to trace to you).

    Two mods are required: Adding facility to tilt[2] (instead of just swivel) and adding a padded wristrest (for ergonomics as well as to keep your laptop from sliding onto your lap).

    [1] Or, if you're lucky, find one at a surplus store.
    [2] Easy enough to add a locking hinge.

    I have no idea if something similar is available commercially for cheap. But it can't be too hard to RYO using the swivel & tilt arms used to mount TVs... as long as you have a sturdy chair to mount the frame to.
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:28PM (#21351265)
    Here's a less obvious solution that might just fit your needs:

    Most HDTVs these days have VGA inputs. A 15-dollar VGA cable should do the trick, and most XP installs will recognize the HD resolution and scale a desktop fairly well. Once you've hooked up the laptop to the tv, get yourself a wireless keyboard with a trackpad built in (like the Logitech Mediaboard Pro [logitech.com] and as a bonus, it works with the PS3 too) and you should be set.
    • by GWBasic (900357)

      Most HDTVs these days have VGA inputs. A 15-dollar VGA cable should do the trick, and most XP installs will recognize the HD resolution and scale a desktop fairly well.

      Such a solution isn't as good as it sounds. My HDTV required a $50 dollar cable because it has RGBHV instead of VGA. Both of my laptops (old Toshiba and new Mac) don't output any 1080 resolutions, so I'm stuck with 480p. Because my TV is a tube, overscan is a problem.

      Once you've hooked up the laptop to the tv, get yourself a wireless keyboard with a trackpad built in (like the Logitech Mediaboard Pro and as a bonus, it works with the PS3 too) and you should be set.

      My wireless keyboard and mouse only have a 3-foot range, so I ended up having to run a long USB cable to my couch.

      Overall, it's a good setup for watching DVDs, AVIs, iTunes, and Pandora. For interactive computing, it's very difficult.

      • by Calmiche (531074)
        Then an amendment to the preceding. Get a RF or Radio Frequency keyboard and mouse. IR is a waste of time, (3-5ft) and bluetooth isn't much better. (Takes quite a while to connect, and sucks batteries like crazy.) RF is usually good for between 10-15 feet. If you are going farther than than, get a USB extension cord and plug the RF receiver into it and run it to somewhere closer. (USB runs are good for another 15 feet or so.) If you are farther than 30 feet away, you probably already have enough money
      • I've got both a tube HDTV and an LCD, and while I wouldn't recommend the tube for the hookup the LCD works like a charm at 1366x768 or 1280x720. Setting a resolution like 1024x768 will typically letterbox the picture, unless your TV does internal scaling in which case it might get stretched a bit. Running at 1920x1080 with small fonts on a 1080p monitor might still be uncomfortable, but with a decent screen size and some UI tweaking there's no reason you couldn't use a decent 720p screen for word processi
  • Make your own. Plywood, laminated fiber board, a pillow, a jigsaw, staples or hot glue and you are in business.
  • I take the sides off my computers and use those as lap desks. Very cost efficient and space efficient.

    If you have an older computer around, those tend to be slightly smaller than the gaming beasts of today. I have two (one on each side off of a single computer) that are almost 100% exactly the dimensions of my 15.4" laptop, and the side of a bigger case which can fit a 17" or 19" easily.

    No mouse room, though. It's generally better to use a desk for gaming IMHO.
  • Laplander [levenger.com]. I've been jonesing for one of these for a few years. It's not a lap desk per se, but it's the best option for ergonomics that I've found, since I am also a slouch on the sofa person.
  • or at least not light plastic. the one I got warps from the heat of the laptop. unvarnished wood would be the best surface. (varnish may melt in heat.)
  • I've had a Scooter [levenger.com] for a couple of years. It's great - comfortable, adjustable, light.
    I use it all the time.

  • If you want to use your notebook as a laptop and don't care about things like mousepads, I like the Xpad (xpad4laptop.com). It's thin and light and really keeps the heat off. All the others block your outlet vents and guard your huevos at the cost of heating up your machine, or they have fans that suck up your battery power. It's got this rubber stuff on the top so it really sticks to the system at any angle. There are some concerns as to whether it fits a 17" system, but it works great for anything 15"
  • ...are they explosion proof?

    I'll patent the kevlar Lapdesk =o)
  • I have this really cool one. It's called "Desk". I think IKEA has them.

    Seriously, if someone has:

    a) a laptop
    b) a lap-desk ... then why not just sit at a proper desk? (and maybe with a proper keyboard and full-size screen)
  • lapdesk.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:46PM (#21351631)

    I know it sounds funny, but if you're looking for a 'lap desk' why not check out lapdesk.com [lapdesk.com]? Seriously, I have one of these (got it as a Christmas present last year, had to search google for a bit just now before I even found who made it), and it works very well. I have the "Jumbo Lap Desk", and originally used it for doing crossword puzzles, but soon found out what a great laptop desk it made. The cushion underneath is very soft and comfortable on my legs while the flat surface allows my laptop to vent properly. You can find the one I got from organize-it-online.com [organize-it-online.com], Barnes and Noble [barnesandnoble.com], and Amazon.com [amazon.com] (and amazon again [amazon.com]... it looks like exactly the same product, but for a different price... I don't know).

    The version I have is around $15, but it looks like the manufacturer has plenty of fancier models as well.

  • by jeberle (465224)
    Just use an empty 3-ring binder. It has excellent thermal insulation, it's lightweight & cheap.
  • by wehe (135130) <.wehe. .at. .tuxmobil.org.> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:58PM (#21351845) Homepage Journal
    Maybe you can build a laptop stand yourself, they are easy to build and usually cheap. To give you some ideas, there are some guides about making custom laptop and notebook stands [repair4laptop.org] from different materials at Repair4Laptop.

  • I just rest my laptop on my belly.

  • Problem solved.
  • I love my Herman Miller Scooter. It may be overkill for you.

    Buy the biggest table size you can find.

    http://office.pricegrabber.com/tables/m/10389209/ [pricegrabber.com]
  • I had a spare piece of baltic fir plywood about 4' x 3'. I rounded of all four corners, then cut a large arc in the center of one of the long arcs using a bicycle wheel as a template, joining the arc to the corners with a French curve

    Finally, I used a router to cut a channel to hold pencils and pens. I'm going to extend it all the way around some day to hold coffee spills too.

    It turns out to be perfect in a large easy chair; you feel all cocooned and ready to work, and there is room to spread out. You c
  • I usually reach for one of the large kids books that seem to be lying around our house all of the time. Convenient, large and keeps the heat off the legs.
  • Home made lap desk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LorenzoV (106795) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:10PM (#21352971)
    Once upon a time I used a lap desk regularly, long before there were laptop computers. It was pretty big and rested its edges on the arms of my easy chair. That lap desk is long gone now.

    I recently got laptops for my SO and self. We sit on a loveseat in the living room in front of the TV in the evening, with laptops, reading the news and doing correnspondence. We both decided we needed lap desks. Here's what we did:

    I found pieces of peg-board in the scrap heap. I cut two pieces 12"x24". My SO got some drapery fabric from her scrap heap and some pillow stuffing material. She used a hot glue gun to make an angled pillow on one side of the peg-board, with the fabric wrapping around, attaching to the opposite side of the peg-board. Using the hot glue gun, she attached mouse pads at the right spots to the peg-board.

    The angled pillow keeps the computer at the correct angle for comfortable use. The pillow also keeps the heat from the laptops from heating up our legs. This seems to work well for us.
  • I would really recommend you take a look at www.airdesks.com , I found them a few years ago and the one I have has worked great for the last few years, I picked one up for my parents and they use it daily for their laptop. In addition I others I recommended it to for use during recovery from surgery swear by them as well. Not well advertised, pretty simple design but they work great. They even have a unit for use on a treadmill that I may be picking up soon.
  • I have a Laptop Desk (www.laptopdesk.net). I really do love it, too. It doubles as a laptop riser when I use it on my coffee table or at my desk at home, and it's really quite sturdy and portable. Totally worth the $30. Don't get the Futura; get the original one - it's definitely better.
  • One I like is the "air desk" from www.airdesks.com
  • Rain Design iLap (Score:2, Informative)

    by dgallina (665193)
    My wife and I have both used different sizes of the padded aluminum iLap (from Rain Design) with our PowerBooks / MacBooks / MacBook Pro's over the years. They can be a little expensive in the larger sizes, but are rugged and comfortable and do their jobs very nicely. No complains.
  • I use a 1/4 inch thick plastic cutting board that I got at Safeway. Really low tech, works OK and keeps the air flowing.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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