The InformationWeek 2007 Summer Gadget Guide - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure
09:53 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean

The InformationWeek 2007 Summer Gadget Guide

Find sitting on the beach boring? Can't tear yourself away from technology? Here are some great new gadgets that can make your summer fun.

For Photo Fans

Why even bother to go on vacation if you don't have any photos to prove that you were having fun? And just having a digital camera isn't enough -- you need to be able to put yourself in the picture, figure out exactly where you were when you snapped that Ivory-billed woodpecker, and use the latest devices to show them to your friends.

Quik Pod digital camera handheld support
(click image to see larger view)
Quik Pod
$24.95 / $29.95 with tripod
View the image gallery

Gadget Guide
Say Cheese
So you spent thousands of dollars on a fabulous vacation, and when you get back and look at your pictures, where are you? You've got lots of pictures of other people, but you might just as well have been left at home. This extendable handheld support for your digital camera is a clever way to get yourself into your vacation pictures. Open up the Quik Pod, attach your camera to the tripod head, set the self-timer, and line yourself up in tiny mirror. Works for video, too, and you can use it to elevate your camera over the heads of crowds, as well. The Quik Pod with a storage bag and carbiner clip for fastening to your pack is $24.95; a deluxe edition that includes a set of little tripod legs is $29.95.

A Digital Scope For The Birds
If the mountains are your destination this summer, take along this spotting scope with integrated digital camera for bird-watching and nature photography like you've never done before. Made by Celestron, a long-respected maker of telescopes, the VistaPix IS70 combines a spotting scope's 70mm multicoated optics and an integrated eyepiece with a built-in 3-megapixel digital camera. The result delivers magnifications up to 14x to the camera's 2-inch LCD viewing screen (or, with the included video cable, on a TV screen). The IS70 is powered by two AA batteries, comes with a rotatable mount to fit camera tripods or Celestron computerized mounts, an aluminum hard case, and weighs 3.5 pounds.

Momento Digital Picture Frame
(click image to see larger view)
Momento Digital Picture Frame
$199 (7-inch), $299 (10.2-inch)
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You've Been Framed!
There are digital picture frames that read images through USB cables and from memory cards, but the Momento is something more. It's also wireless, and it communicates not just with your PC, but with the Web. You can sort your pictures on your computer using folders, keywords, tags, ratings, and playlists, then stream them to your Momento. And then there's the the Momento Live Online subscription service that lets you upload pictures from anywhere -- you can send pictures to other Momento Live users (or several at once) and they can send pictures to yours. You can send from your camera phone, and stream public photo galleries or RSS feeds from online photo sharing sites like Flickr, Google Picasa, Windows Live Spaces, and Yahoo News.

GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr
(click image to see larger view)
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Track Your Pix
Where did you take those pictures of the surfers? Was it Waimea or Pipeline Beach? Or the great panoramas with the railroad trestle -- was that Italy or Switzerland? If you'd taken the GiSTEQ Photo Trackr with you, you'd know exactly where all your pictures were taken. The Photo Trackr is a GPS unit that syncs with your digital camera's clock and logs where you were and when. When you get back, load your photos and the Photo Trackr log data into your PC (sorry, no Mac version) and you'll know where and when each picture was taken. Even if you don't take photos, GiSTEQ's mapping software and the PhotoTrackr allow you to record and review exactly where you have traveled. The Photo Trackr comes with USB cable and software, and chargers for AC and 12-volt systems.

Brica Viewart 1000
(click image to see larger view)
Brica Viewart 1000
$265 plus $15 shipping
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All In One And One For All
Sure, it's just a toy, but what a great toy -- just the thing to keep a cranky geek occupied for days, in a package so small it can go anywhere -- even into your shirt pocket. It's a video recorder/player with TV input/output. It's a video camera. It's a PC webcam. It's a digital still camera. Want more? OK, it's an MP3 player, audio recorder, FM radio. More? Use it as an e-book reader. And if you run out of anything else to do, it has four built-in games. It records from a TV, DVD player, camcorder, whatever, to 320x240-pixel ASF files, and its camcorder function uses the same format. (Playback on the 2.5-inch LCD screen may be a little choppy, but this is a toy, remember.) It records to an included 2-Gbyte SD card (which gives you 6.5 hours of video), and there's an additional 512 Mbytes of internal memory for music, photos -- or another hour and a half of video.

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