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.

Techie Toys

Sometimes, you want to get a new tech device simply because, well, it's cool. Neat. Really fine. Or whatever adjective you like to use. So stick a can in your USB fridge, check out the hidden universe with a digital microscope, and take a few secret notes with your Sonic Screwdriver. It's all good.

USB Mini Fridge
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Summer
Gadget Guide
One Cool Gadget
If your idea of a vacation is taking your laptop to the beach, then this is the perfect USB accessory. This cool USB gadget plugs into USB power and cools exactly one can of your favorite beverage. And because no fridge is complete without a light that comes on when you open the door it has an internal LED. Sorry, no ice tray.

Meade MySky
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Look To The Stars
Who would have suspected that a GPS, magnetic sensors, and accelerometers could make you one with the universe? The Meade mySky embeds all this science in a multimedia device that draws on a database of 30,000 celestial objects to lead you on a guided tour of the night sky. Point and click to identify planets, stars, and constellations. The MySky displays images and plays multimedia presentations on its 480 x 232 screen that includes astrophotography, videos, mythology, folklore, and science. Four AA batteries operate the mySky for up to seven hours.

USB Digital Microscope
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Digital Magnification
Some digital toys are toys, and some are as serious as the purpose you put them to. This one can go either way. The digital microscope connects to your computer via USB, and with its included software lets you zoom in on the world around you. It magnifies objects up to 200x and takes snapshots and time-lapse movies. Seashore scientists and vacation hobbyists will appreciate its 640 x 480 resolution, three magnification settings (20x, 50x, 200x), and built-in LED illumination. It's a USB 1.1 device, and the software works with either PCs or Macs.

VoIP At The Ready
If you're carrying your laptop and connecting to the Web at a Wi-Fi hotspot, why not make some phone calls while you're at it -- or even receive calls no matter where you are? Because you left your headset and microphone at home, that's why. Who wants to carry equipment like that around? Good point. So get this, and you'll forget you're even carrying it around. The Kensington Vo200 is a Bluetooth handset -- speaker and microphone -- that flips open for use, folds flat and stores in the PC slot in your laptop, and charges while it's docked. If you've got a VoIP service like Skype or Vonage, why not always have a phone handy? All you need is Bluetooth support or a Bluetooth adapter on your laptop and $89.99 for the V0200.

Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver
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When The Doctor Is Out, Try This
If you're a follower of Doctor Who, you know that he uses his Sonic Screwdriver to open locks, amplify sound, stun enemies, and even occasionally to drive screws. Because you are not a Time Lord, the version of the Sonic Screwdriver you can be trusted with will not do that many things for you, but it still has the authentic Sonic Screwdriver sounds and lights. It includes a standard ink pen for grocery lists and a UV pen for writing secret galaxy-saving messages -- messages that are revealed by the blue UV light on the pen's top. This Sonic Screwdriver is seven inches long closed, 8.25 inches extended, and it runs on three AG13 button cells. (The Wikipedia's history of the Sonic Screwdriver notes that this toy is a case of reality imitating art -- the producers were so impressed by it they asked for and received molds to use on the show.)

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