Review: 3M Computer Privacy Filter

Not too long ago, I mentioned 3M Computer Privacy Filters. Remember? The filters are thin plastic sheets that attach to your computer monitor so the display is only visible to someone directly in front of the screen. (You can see the effect in the pictures above.) They’re perfect for business road warriors who want to keep their sensitive work away from those pesky corporate spies.

I picked one up the other day for my traveling laptop, and I’ve been quite pleased with the results. I took a few photos of the privacy filter in action, and you can check them out after the jump.

3M offers their privacy filters in sizes ranging from 12.1″ to 20.1″ with formats cut to fit both standard and widescreen displays. I picked up a 14.1″ standard aspect privacy filter from an office supply store for about $60.

My laptop display is only 10.6″, so I had to cut the filter down to size. It’s fairly easy to trim the soft plastic to the correct size, but I had some problems with my slide cutter. (You’ll be able to see my horrible cutting job in the close-ups.)

Installing a privacy filter is quite simple. Simply affix the included plastic clips (above) along the sides of the computer display. (The clips attach to the display with a weak adhesive that won’t leave a mark if removed.) Then, slide the privacy filter in front of your display using the clips to hold the plastic sheet in place.

The plastic sheet does not cling or adhere to your screen at all. It stays in place because of the clips. This makes it convenient to remove and install the privacy filter by sliding it in and out of the clips.

Here is the privacy filter in place over the display. The plastic clips hover over parts of the viewable image, but they’re not very intrusive. I rarely notice them when I look at my screen.

You will lose a bit of brightness when you place the privacy filter over your display. (Screen shown with the privacy filter over half of the monitor.) If you’re used to a radiant screen, you will probably want to turn your brightness settings up a step or two to match the old light level. Of course, turning up the backlight will reduce your average battery running time.

The privacy filter isn’t perfect. Here is a view of the display from 45 degrees to the left which is about the angle at which someone on an airplane would see your screen. Some of the image is still visible, but most of it is obscured. Click on the image to get a larger view.

The image completely disappears if the display is viewed at more than 45 degrees.


  • It works. Your display is obscured from view from a little over 45 degrees to the left and right.
  • Easy to install and remove. Just place the plastic clips around the display and slide the filter in or out.
  • Lots of standard sizes. Filters are available for both standard and widescreen formats for screens sized 12.1″ to 20.1″.


  • Partially viewable at about 45 degrees. The privacy filter would work great in a coffeehouse setting, but it’s not complete protection from nosy neighbors sitting right next to you.
  • Reduced brightness. A filter will capture a bit of the light from your display. This might lead to reduced battery time if you turn up your backlight brightness.
  • Cost. A 14.1″ filter cost me a hefty $60.
  • No odd sizes. There are privacy filters to fit most monitor sizes, but if you have a sub-notebook, you’ll have to do a bit of trimming.

Sure, I may have listed more cons than pros, but I still recommend the 3M Computer Privacy Filter. (Those cons are mostly nit-picks.) It gets the job done, and I never have to think about annoying people watching me work. You might have some picture leakage if someone is sitting very close to you, but that person will only see about 20% of the actual screen.

You can find these privacy filters online or in any fine office supply store.

Protecting Electronics at the Beach

More and more people rush to the beaches with iPods, mobiles, and cameras in tow, and it seems these people have bigger concerns than which level sunblock to wear. The question on their minds: “How do you keep those electric doodads safe from sun, sand, and surf?” The Associated Press’ Jackie Farwell answered with some tips to keep your electronics safe at the shore:

  • Carry your devices in air-tight cases. These enclosures can protect from the big three beach baddies: moisture, sand, and dust. (Such cases are available from Pelican, Otterbox, and Anvil.)
  • Keep your electronics out of the sun. Direct sunlight can make electronics overheat causing possible damage, so keep your devices in cool, shady areas. The article recommends buying a tiny umbrella, but that’s just silly.
  • Cover any open ports. Plug up any holes because ports like headphone jacks and DVD drives are vulnerable to vicious sand attacks.
  • Clean with compressed air. If sand does get into an open port, blast the area with a puff of compressed air to dislodge any stray beach particles.
  • Wipe your hands clean. Your iPod’s worst enemy could be you! Be sure your hands are clear of any lotions that could discolor rubberized skins.
  • Let your toys cool down. Bringing a hot device into an air-conditioned room might cause condensation inside the case. Let your items settle to room temperature before bringing them across extremes.

I can vouch for the water-proof cases. I once lost a camcorder and a cell phone to a rogue wave from a wakeboarder. It was a drench and run.

Heed these warnings and stay safe this summer!

The Luxury Hotels of Tomorrow

This gorgeous structure is the Apeiron Island Hotel complete with a private lagoon, a few exclusive restaurants, and an art museum. The building appears to rise from the ocean like a graceful fountain of water… or maybe some kind of space taco. Unfortunately, this is just an artist’s rendition of the conceptual, seven-star luxury resort; With a price tag of $500 million, the Apeiron will probably remain just an eye-catching picture.

Born Rich offers up more Futuristic Luxury Hotels that will never be built. For example, there’s a picture of a flying hotel. How about an inflatable space station hotel over Las Vegas? My personal favorite is actually the hotel shaped like a ferris wheel. Why? Because everyone should spend a night on an amusement park ride.

Movie Posters from Belarus

Have a look at this movie “poster” found in Belarus. Any idea what American movie this is? I’ll give you a minute. (The answer is after the jump.)

You can check out more posters at the wonderful English Russia site. I love these images because I think films can be a good common ground to share with others in a foreign country. I once had a very interesting conversation about American films with some German guys at Oktoberfest in Munich. I learned from them that the Cameron Diaz movie The Sweetest Thing was called Super Sweet and Super Sexy in Germany. Yeah, shocking stuff, I know.

(Thanks for the tip, Mike!)

A. Just Married starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

Make a Moleskine Travel Journal, Win a Prize

Calling all artists! Your talents could snag you a free trip to Paris* courtesy of Moleskine and Air France. The pair want to you create a work of art based on your travels for their “Invitation Au Voyage” exhibition.

All you have to do is transform any Moleskine notebook — Classic, Cahier, Reporter, or City — into a travel journal. Take a trip somewhere and document it using any artistic style you want: words, paint, collage, etc. The only thing that matters is that your work is interesting, unique, and creative.

Judges will select the 50 best journals for display in their traveling “Invitation Au Voyage” exhibition. If your work is chosen, it will make its way around Asia during August and September 2007.

The first prize is an economy class ticket to Paris, France. Second place will receive Moleskine’s entire set of city notebooks covering Europe and America. Moleskine will also give a set of three notebooks to each of the remaining 47 artists chosen for the exhibition.

The contest ends on June 30th. *Anyone can enter, but Moleskine recommends entrants reside in Asia since the 1st prize will only fly from Asia to France. Give it a shot even if you don’t live in Asia. Your work could still end up in the art exhibit!

[via Moleskinerie]

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