The InformationWeek 2007 Summer Gadget Guide - InformationWeek

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5/25/2007
09:53 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
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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.

Take A Hike

Some of us don't just sit around and relax during summer vacations. Some of us recover from all those hours in front of a monitor by hiking, camping, biking, or snowboarding off an Alpine mountainside. But just because your body is moving doesn't mean you can't use the latest tech devices to make your experiences even better -- like a rugged GPS unit to make sure you don't get lost, and solar panels to keep that GPS powered.

Digital Hero 3
(click image to see larger view)
Digital Hero 3
$139.99
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Summer
Gadget Guide
Action Pix
On your vacation you surf, ski, skateboard, and mountain bike. And when you get back to the office nobody believes you. Well, why should they? Where's the video? You didn't take the Digital Hero 3. With this three-megapixel wrist-mounted waterproof digital video camera for capturing your exploits, you can turn scoffers into fans. The camera housing is waterproof, and the wrist strap can also be used to attach the unit to handlebars or helmets. It shoots 2048 x 1536 still images, or 640x480 video, and saves to 16 Mbytes of internal memory or removable SD cards up to 2 Gbytes (not included). The Digital Hero runs on two AAA batteries, comes with USB and RCA cables, weighs just 4.5 ounces and is warranted for a year -- which is more than your doctor would give you if you tried some of the stunts shown on the Web site.

Earthmate GPS PN-20
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Off-The Road GPS
Most GPS units are like most Mercedes -- they're built for paved roads. DeLorme's Earthmate PN-20, on the other hand, is a GPS built for off-road use. It's built tough, with a waterproof housing that's designed to fit your hand, not a dashboard. It comes with U.S. topographic and street maps on DVD to export from your PC as needed. It includes certificates for $100 worth (400 sq. km) of DeLorme Aerial Data Packets showing your U.S. areas of interest -- black & white aerial imagery (DOQQs), SAT 10 (10-meter resolution) colorized satellite imagery, and scanned United States Geological Survey 7.5-minute quadrangle maps. And just to get you to where you're going there's a built-in highway-level world base map. If the 75 Mbytes of internal memory isn't enough to hold all the map data you want to carry, there's also an SD card slot.

Sunlinq Folding Solar Power Panels
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Solar Panels For Summer Days
If you're going off the grid this summer, you might want to take a little piece of the grid with you -- just enough solar-panel technology to charge up your cell phone, GPS, MP3 player, or flashlight. And of course you'll want to carry it conveniently. The Sunlinq folding solar panels are flexible, foldable solar panels that produce enough power to power just about anything that can be charged through a standard car cigarette lighter adapter. Sunlinq panels are available in capacities from 6.5 to 25 watts, along with accessories and cables (including, of course, an iPod connector).

The Gadget Bag
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Four Bags Are Better Than One
If you are searching for just the right bag for carrying your techie gear, consider the possibility that there may simply not be one right bag. Maybe four would be better. Here's a bag that keeps your cell phone, PDA, music player, and digital camera from interacting in bad ways. There are four individual compartments for storing your stuff, and all the stuff that goes with your stuff -- cables, chargers, extra memory cards, batteries, cartridges -- and they've got lots of pockets and compartments and passthroughs for headphone cables. You can zip and strap all four of them together into satchel about the size of a hardback book -- altogether they enclose 258 cubic inches of cosseted space -- or you can carry just the one you need at the moment.

SkyCaddie SG2
(click image to see larger view)
SkyCaddie SG2
$259.95
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A GPS For Golf Balls
It won't fix your problems with your backswing, but the SkyCaddie SG2 may be a way to get a little technological edge on the golf course. This unit from SkyGolf is more than a rangefinder, it's a GPS for golf balls. With its downloadable Course Management data it can tell you the distance to hazards, and lets you measure the depth and shape of the green from any angle of approach. It weighs a mere 4.6 ounces and is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. You can download course data or map your own course.

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