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Road Mice, CastGrabber, others Top 'Gotta Have It' List

Category: Hardware Published on Monday, 23 February 2009

New Tech Toys Make My List

Michael L. Berman's Blog
Nov. 12
, 2008

'Tis the season for gadgets! Admittedly, I'm like a kid in a candy store when all of the new tech toys hit the market, especially those that serve a definite purpose.

For instance, take the new CastGrabber ($119.95). This handy tool can download any Podcast to an iPod or any other multimedia device without being hooked up to a PC. Plus, it can also be used to recharge your MP3 player, etc. Of course, as with all great things, there are a couple of caveats here. The CastGrabber will only work with an Ethernet network, which means you need a router. Also, it won't work with any devices formatted using the Macintosh operating system. Otherwise, it works without a hitch. And the added convenience of not having to turn on your PC (not even considering the energy savings) puts this in the "gotta have it" category.

How about a wireless mouse molded in the shape of your favorite sports car? The new Road Mice ($44.95) from 4Door Media are RF wireless mice that give the term "cruising the Web" a whole new meaning. Powered by two AAA batteries, this mouse not only looks good on your desk, but features working headlights for the times you need to compute in the dark.

The folks at ComOne have introduced the Pheonix Wi-Fi Radio ($249). Unlike the CastGrabber, this device detects and uses your wireless network to access Internet radio stations without being connected to a PC and can play tunes stored on your computer. It features two small stereo speakers, an audio output jack and a USB port so it can be connected to your MP3 player.

Yes, Virginia, there are MP3 players out there for less than $20. The new SPI MP3 player ($19.95) boasts one gigabyte of memory (up to 250 songs), a wearable clip, a rechargeable battery, earbuds, a USB cable, a coupon for 50 free downloads from eMusic and the ability to play WMA and MP3 files. The company's older players had an incompatibility problem with WIndows Media Player 11, but I didn't experience any download problems with this one. But, to be safe, you may want to make sure your PC is running Media Player 10 or lower.

If you're under the age 18, you may want to turn away from the computer. There's a new adult board game that is guaranteed to get you hooked for hours. Pimps and Ho's ($29.99) from Weaver Games is a satirical form of Monopoly where you try to become the "Pimp Daddy" by taking over the city of HoTropolis. Definitely aimed at adults, this bawdy game can get pretty explicit, but is rollicking fun to play. There are also several expansion card sets ($14.95 each) available to extend the fun.

For more information on any of these items, visit the companies' Web sites.

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