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VST Bay Not Half-Baked

by Jeff Carlson <jeffc@tidbits.com>

VST Technologies today announced a long-rumored PowerBook add-on, the VST Easy-Bake Expansion Bay Drive. The company expects to start shipping in early May, but notes that supplies will be initially "constrained."

<http://www.vsttech.com/>

Officially designated as the EB-451 Easy-Bake Expansion Bay, the device fits existing PowerBook models 190, 5300, 3400, and G3. (A pre-release product shot is available at the URL below.) Versions for the 1400 series and upcoming "Wall Street" line will be available shortly after the initial batch has cooled.

<http://www.necoffee.com/tidbits/easybake.html>

Unlike traditional expansion bay products, which run to storage solutions such as Zip and magneto-optical (MO) disks, hard disks, and PC Card-holders, the Easy-Bake Expansion Bay Drive enables users to bake small versions of their favorite snacks while working on time sensitive, enterprise-driven projects.

The unit takes advantage of the high temperatures generated by the processor, hard disk, and battery in modern PowerBooks. The heat flows into a special heat-conducting material (called "metal"), and is then distributed evenly throughout the bay.

Each unit comes with two double-use cooking trays, allowing the user to bake mini-brownies, mini-cookies, and mini-muffins. A six-ounce package of baking mixture is also included (just add water and stir). The model built for the PowerBook 1400 will reportedly also include a mini-pizza attachment, taking advantage of that machine's extra-wide expansion bay; VST hopes third-party vendors will produce serving platters that fit in place of the 1400's removable BookCover lid attachment.

VST, producer of PowerBook peripherals such as the Zip 100 expansion bay Zip drive, says that the initial idea for the "EBEB" came during a late-night coding session. "I had to get away from my desktop machine," says one programmer, who asked to remain anonymous. "I had been sitting there for about 40 hours in my boxers. So I got up, grabbed my PowerBook, and headed for the couch. But my legs got scorched by heat from the 'Book, so I went back to the desk. That's when I realized I was hungry." Although initial tests with a spinning Zip drive head were messy, the technology proved promising enough to warrant development.

VST plans to also ship a version of the EBEB for Pentium-based laptops; however, the extreme heat generated continues to burn all recipes in the lab.