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High-Tech Times Article 039

Tomorrow’s Gadgets - Today!

Welcome back to the High-Tech Times. With the end of the year close at hand, I still find myself starting to write “1999" instead of “2000.” Maybe that means I’m looking backwards, or regressing, or something. But 2000 has certainly brought us a bunch of new technology toys to play with. And I’m going to give you my list of favorites to end the year.

Let’s start with digital video. The introduction of the new Hitachi DZ-MV100 DVD-RAM camcorder <> has brought a new technology bridge between computers and audio-video equipment. The DZ-MV100 offers a 1.1 mega-pixel CCD (charge-coupled display) chip that shoots 704 X 480 motion video and 1280 X 960 still images. But the real news is the integrated DVD-RAM recorder that captures MPEG-2 video which can be played back on most standard DVD home players. And how does 1.46 GB per side sound? Look for this technology to start popping up in many other devices in 2001.
While we’re on video, the Panasonic DVD?LV75 portable DVD-video player <> brings you an ultra-compact, lightweight “theater in a box.” Less than an inch thick, with integrated Dolby and DTS surround-sound, the DVD-LV75 will play for more than four hours with its rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
Moving to still images, the Fujifilm FinePix 40i digital camera> provides high-resolution (4.3 Mpixels from a 2.4 Mpixel chip) still-images as well as an audio-MP3 player-recorder. Not only does Fuji offer a new sensor technology for higher resolution, but how many of your friends have a digital camera with a cool set of earphones?
A slightly less practical video camera is built into the Casio WQV1D?8CR wrist watch <>. Weighing slightly more than an ounce, the WQVID-8CR will capture approximately 3-4 minutes of 320 X 240 color video, including sound. Nothing you’d want to broadcast on ABC, of course, but fine for showing off to your family and friends. Oh, and you can interface this watch to your computer via a separately available infrared interface. And of course you can also tell what time it is....
Do you travel a lot? The Bose QuietComfort headset can make you feel a lot less stressed <>. Using full-spectrum noise-reduction circuitry, this extremely comfortable headset will connect to a wide variety of airline and portable entertainment systems, while eliminating over 98 percent of the ambient noise. It runs off AAA batteries, has a high-low volume switch, and an extension cable for increased mobility. When you consider that the average sound level in the cabin of a jet plane is almost as loud as a party with your friends (84 decibels), this device can really make a difference.
And while you’re on the road, you can avoid getting lost by adding the Geode GPS module to your Handspring Visor PDA <>. You can download city maps for your destination, and this GPS (global positioning system) tracks where you are to within two meters in North or South America. There are even a local events and entertainment guide that lets you know what’s happening.
Communicating on the road has become more efficient with the Sprint TP3000 digital phone <>. The TP3000 provides not only a high-end smart-phone, but also a PDA, speakerphone, and access to the Web, Outlook, and voice-activated dialing, all in a 6.2 ounce package. Its lithium-ion batteries give 150 hours of standby and 90-120 minutes of talk-time.
If you would rather have music than a PDA, then check out the Samsung Uproar <>. The Uproar is also Sprint-serviced, with a built-in MP3 player and 64 MB of music storage, enough for an hour’s worth of music. With Web access, voice-activated dialing, and long battery life, the Uproar may be just what you need for long trips on the road.
Last, I bring you the VR Surfer Classic Pack from VRex <>. This low-cost (under $100) wireless device  brings 3D stereoscopic imaging to your desktop computer and TV. The VR Surfer can be used for gaming, virtual reality modeling, and many other applications, even graphs from Excel. Quite an amazing gadget!
I wish all my readers a great holiday season. Stay safe, and I’ll see you next year.