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Little Gadgets Mean a Lot

Little things do mean a lot. Especially when they're electronic, extremely functional and very, very cool.

Before we get into all of the new gadgets introduced at Macworld Expo and the Consumer Electronics show, here are a few items that we liked so much, we couldn't give them up long enough to put them on the air... until now.

Compaq iPaq 3835

The best looking Pocket PC handheld around. This model, and its Bluetooth-enabled brother, the 3870, make full use of the Pocket PC 2002 operating system. Included software features everything from interface enhancements to pocket versions of Sega videogames and IBM's Via Voice voice recognition software. It's pricey at $599, and when you add in a PC card adapater for $150 and a wireless modem for $300, you'll be out a lot of cash, but be carrying a really cool, really connected handheld.

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JBL Sonnet Computer Speakers

Oh, do I love these tiny yet powerful speakers. JBL’s Sonnet speaker system comes with two desktop speakers and a subwoofer you hide under the desk. The sound is incredible for speakers that cost less than $100. I usually end up with computer speakers that take up half the desk and hum erratically. These little beauties just make nice music without hogging the desk. $99.95

Logitech’s Cordless Freedom Keyboard and Optical Mouse

Say goodbye to cords and go wireless. I’ve been using this great combination: wireless optical mouse and keyboard for months and it’s a joy. I admit that I rarely type or web-surf while lying on my couch… but I could if I wanted to. The keyboard is ergonomically pleasing and comes with software that allows EASY programming of a series of “short-cut” keys to allow quick access to email, websites, and your computer’s audio controls. The excellent optical mouse have ended my lint-ridden-stuck-mouse-days-of-yesteryear. $99

First Alert’s Remote Control Smoke Alarm

When I cook, invariably I set off my apartment’s smoke alarm. Of course, most smoke alarms are stuck so way up on the ceiling that silencing false alarms is difficult. Battery testing can be a dangerous one-foot-perilously-balanced-off-the-kitchen-stool ordeal. Finally, First Alert came up with a smoke alarm that makes sense. Now, you can test (or silence) the alarm using your existing TV remote control. Point it toward the alarm and press for five seconds and the smoke alarm can be silenced or tested. The “smart” technology can somehow tell the difference between my cooking smoke and the burning-down-the-house kind. $29.99

Sony DVD Style 3

Ok, I already have a DVD player in the living room that can play five DVD’s
at the same time, but I still like this elegant little DVD player. It’s all about style, not content, here. (To be fair, Sony says it has features like: “Precision Drive 2, Twin Laser Pick-up, and TV Virtual Surround sound”.) All I know is hat this clear-topped silver DVD-Video/CD player does the job well and keeps my wife from yelling that all the electronics destroy our “décor.” Sony's DVD Style 3 DVP-F21 lists at $299.

Nike’s Triax Speed watch

This ultra light sports watch snugly wraps around the wrist and offers an astonishingly wide readable display. Nike’s designers curved the watch shell and the internal working parts so the watch face displays inch-high numerals. Now I can actually see the time without “squinting” these tired old eyes of mine. $135