Is your life a mess? Sorry, I can't help you with that. (Try Boaz Rauchwerger's column on Wednesdays.) But if your stuff is a mess, keep reading.
Here are some of my favorite high-tech gift suggestions for those gadget lovers on your holiday list.
For the last few months I've been trying out a Macintosh 15-inch PowerBook running OS-X to answer the question first posed in my Sept. 20 column. I'm comparing the Mac's performance to a Sony Vaio TR-2a notebook PC running Windows XP Home.
Logitech, known for its computer mice and keyboards, has branched out in recent years to market all sorts of input and output devices ranging from speakers and cell phone headsets to computer cameras. One of the company's most unusual offerings is its io2 digital writing system, consisting of an oversized electronic ballpoint pen, software and special writing paper. It lets you take notes on paper that can then be transferred to your computer, and is available for Windows but not the Mac.
I've been trying a pre-release version of the new Treo 650 from PalmOne (Nasdaq: PLMO). It's the successor to the hugely successful Treo 600, which has sold more than 1 million units and breathed new life into PalmOne, its manufacturer. This single product represents about 50 percent of the company's sales, particularly timely as sales of PDAs has been falling at more than 10 percent a year.
This week I've been trying out some of the latest models of color ink-jet photo printers from Canon, Epson and HP. Each is designed to make high-quality photo prints, up to 8 1/2" x 11", as well as black and white documents, making these ideal for general use in the home or small office. All have the same list price of $199 and work with both PCs and Macs.
Accessing the Internet or leaving your computer connected online has opened the door to all sorts of risks. The free and easy access has just been too tempting for hackers, organized crime, and even legitimate businesses to ignore. These groups smell the potential for making a lot of money, even if it means intruding on us and ignoring rules of decent behavior.
I've been trying out two phones targeted to the serious business person: Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) new Samsung SCH-a790 World Phone and Sprint's (NYSE: FON) Samsung SP i-600.
There's a software category that gets little attention except by those that use it -- and they usually rave about it. It's referred to by different names, including mind mapping and brainstorming software.
I've been trying out Canon's (NYSE: CAJ, www.usa.canon.com) new i9900 large format ink jet printer and it's really something special.
Like viewing a glass half full or half empty, the personal computer is either a wondrous invention that improves productivity, finds information and allows us to communicate across the world in seconds, or it's frustrating, time consuming, saps productivity and needs constant attention. My experience, like most people's, lies somewhere in between, but there does seem to be a slow but steady drift toward the latter.
The 2004 DEMOmobile conference (www.demo.com) was held this past week in La Jolla, where 33 companies presented their new products. Run by Chris Shipley of International Data Group (www.idg.com), this annual gathering showcases new products and technology for the mobile space. The focus was on software, services and hardware around the mobile phone and other portable devices.
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