Creative Labs Nomad II MG (Silver/Magnesium)
The search for the funkiest MP3 player is officially over. The Nomad II MG from Creative Labs is as delectably attractive as it is superbly engineered. There's virtually nothing wrong with it from the circular view screen on the front of the player to the brilliant sound. Compact and easily portable, the player comes with 64MB of internal memory, and a SmartMedia slot allow you to crank up the overall amount to 192MB by adding a 128MB card.
The USB connection is insanely fast-all you need to do is place the Nomad in its docking cradle (yup, no more having to stick your portable device into and out of your computer), there's instant recognition between the player and your computer system, it is compatible with PCs and Macs, and it even recharges your batteries while you're docked. Then there's the speed with which you can change your playlist-it just takes a few seconds per song.
The Nomad is more than just an MP3 player. It comes with an FM tuner, and you can preset up to 20 stations at a time. There are so many good things about this foxy little gadget, but one of the best is that it doubles-triples, actually-as a voice recorder too!
The interface is a cunning drag-and-drop "Nomad Manager", and the electroluminescent backlit LCD ensures you'll have hassle-free operation even in the dark. The Nomad Manager software allows you to manage, access, upload and download content to your player. Other software includes the Creative Audio Digital Center by MusicMatch, with which you can encode, decode and archive MP3 and WMA files, and also convert unlimited CD tracks and compile them any which way.
The Nomad runs on either 2 AAA batteries, the rechargeable Ni/MH battery, or the AC adapter. It measures 3.5" x 2.3" x 0.7"-no larger than a deck of cards, really-and weighs in at a scant 80 grams, including the battery. And yes, the best things in life can be a little, well, expensive-$399, to be precise.
Ortovcox M2 Transceiver
Time is precious in avalanche-rescue situations. If you can find and dig out a victim within 15 minutes, you have a 92 percent chance of finding him or her alive. The M2 has accurate, easy-to-read electronics for fast tracking. Digital arrows point you toward your victim-who must, of course, also be carrying a transceiver for yours to pick up its signal-and a readout tells you how far away you are. It switches quickly and easily to both transmitting and receiving modes and allows for multiple users.
The transceiver can be used analog-style (listen to beeps to home in on a victim) or digitally (follow the arrow). The M2 sends and receives transmissions on a standard 457 kHz frequency. The range of the M2 is 80 metres, and the device is waterproof and shock-resistant. The battery lasts for about 250-300 hours if transmitting and around 40 hours is receiving. Not surprisingly, the Transceiver can take the cold-its tolerance is -30 to -50 degrees Celsius. The Ortovox M2 Transceiver weighs all of 230 grams and measures 15 x 6.4 x 2.5 cm. The cost of safety in the high snows? $300.
Kerbango Internet Radio 100E
Finally, a stand-alone Internet radio. Tune into local broadcasts as well as all the radio lost out there in cyberspace. All you need is a broadband connection (ISDN, cable modem or, if you're lucky enough to have it, DSL). Connect to the Internet and use the Kerbango radio as you would any ordinary radio-it's got tuning knobs, stations listed by categories like jazz, classical, rock etc. Tune in to the one you want, press 'select' and Kerbango connects you to the stream and begins broadcast.
The radio includes other standard stereo features like a clock, alarm, a built-in AM/FM antenna, five-station preset, LCD display, universal power supply, lines for stereo-out and headphones, and full-range speakers.
The Kerbango radio also comes with all the hardware and software you'll need for Internet radio-a 32-bit processor running at 81 MHz, 16MB SDRAM, 8 MB Flash Memory and a 4 MB ROM, Linux Real Networks, RealPlayer and support for all versions of it, as well as for MP3s.
This drool-device-of-the-week weighs 3.75 lbs and measures 8"(h) x 10.5"(w) x 7.5"(d) and costs $300.
Compaq iPaq H3650 Pocket PC
Break the unhealthy addiction to your Palm PDA with the iPaq. The iPAQ pocket PC combines a real Intel processor, new hardware and a sleek design. It offers 32 MB of RAM and 16 MB of ROM-enough memory to hold a goodly package of applications while leaving you a lot of room for your own applications.
The iPAQ allows you to input data in your own handwriting, by soft keyboard, by voice recorder, or through inking. The colour screen is lit by tiny lights all around, which makes it bright even in the sunlight, and you can view the screen from many different angles. The iPaq runs on a Microsoft Windows operating system. It has a microphone, a speaker, and an audio-in jack. It features an infrared port for wireless data transfer and connects to USB and serial ports. The iPaq is fast-it hot syncs at 690,000 bps. What's more, while it hot-syncs in the cradle, you can continue to work on the unit, something impossible to do with Palms.
In the future, Compaq plans to release a global positioning system pack, so you can make your iPAQ pocket PC into a GPS unit. Until then, you receive a great deal of Microsoft software-Pocket versions of Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, and Outlook as well as the full desktop version of Outlook 2000. Compaq has also built in utilities so that frequent actions, like such as switching between tasks, adjusting volume, or changing backlighting, are only a click away.
The iPaq weighs six oz and measure 5.11" x 3.28" x 0.62". But the cost of such functional sleekness is high, at $500.