Tech Tools
July 2003 - by Mary Ann Dickerson


Look Ma, No Hands
Maybe you’re not one of these wackos who puts on make-up, shaves or reads the newspaper while barreling down the highway at 60 mph, but, admit it, with only one eye on the road, you’ve dialed your cellphone. Whether it’s finding out what’s for dinner or getting directions, sometimes it’s irresistible. Handsfree USA, distributor of universal and module hands-free systems, has a solution that allows you to keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. The patented Audio 2000, 2000 Plus and 3000 with voice-activated universal hands-free systems each use their own phone-specific cradle to accommodate cellphones of various makes and models. This means that drivers can dock different cellphone models to take advantage of hands-free operation. Audio’s universal systems will work with all wireless carriers’ technology, including CDMA, TDMA and GSM. The Audio 3000 has the ability to voice dial by name or number and stores 30 user-defined names for quick and easy voice dialing. It also offers users the ability to speak numeric commands. When it’s time to upgrade or switch phones, you can simply buy a new handset-specific Audio cradle—not a whole new system. There is no additional hassle and expense of uninstalling the old car kit and reinstalling a new one. Price: Audio 2000, $299 (system and cradle); Audio 3000, $399 (system and cradle); individual cradles $79. Contact: (888) 676-4046; www.hands-free-usa.com

Better than Inspector Gadget
Been violating a building code? Let’s hope the city nearest you doesn’t operate TISCOR’s Inspection Manager FLX, an innovative solution that automates annual building inspections. It gives no hope for a lost inspection report. The system allows users to record NFPA violations electronically with a PDA, eliminating handwritten paperwork and time-consuming data entry. Inspection Manager FLX quickly and easily documents all building inspection activities, allowing users to spend less time completing their work. At the completion of the inspection, users can immediately print out reports outlining inspection activities. The PDA also comes equipped with signature capture, so the customer can acknowledge receipt of inspection. The user can enter additional violations specific to certain locations or regions. The device automatically records all activities with a time and date stamp, proving when and where the building was inspected. The electronic scheduling system can schedule annual follow-up and new construction inspections. The system retains a detailed history of violations, allowing users to determine if previous violations were corrected on follow-up visits. Since all information is already electronically recorded by the PDA, users can print out reports on the spot. Price: Starts at $12,000. Contact: (800) 227-6379; www.tiscor.com

Open Highway
Traffic. Just the sight of the word can send chills down your spine. It’s the reason you were late for that meeting. It’s the reason you extended your middle finger at that senior citizen. It’s the reason you didn’t get home until after dark. But what if you were able to dissect it, understand it and make it your friend? CommTraffic is a tool for collecting, processing and displaying traffic; okay, maybe not highway traffic, but computer traffic and network utilization statistics for computer network connections. CommTraffic has a customizable, intuitive interface that displays statistics in graphical and numeric form. The program can be customized to display incoming, outgoing and summary traffic statistics in a variety of styles. When monitoring a LAN segment, CommTraffic shows traffic and network utilization statistics for each computer in the segment. It also allows you to set time and traffic limits to reflect the rates set by your ISP. Once the limit is approached, the program will alert you by playing a sound or displaying a message. CommTraffic offers an array of options that help you generate reports reflecting the network traffic volume and Internet connection expenses. The program supports virtually any rate plan your ISP might use, such as the one based on connection time, traffic volume, time of the day and other measures. Price: $49 per single user license. Contact: (800) 406-4966; www.tamos.com

Snow Job
Snow days were the best growing up. You’d wake up at the break of dawn with expectations of spending another long day at school just to find out you could go right back to bed. But now, your job requires you to brave the elements no matter how severe. Intermec Technologies has a companion for you—the CT60, a new rugged tablet personal computer that performs flawlessly in freezing temperatures, pouring rain and other demanding situations. It delivers reliable mobile computing power on the job, whether behind a desk, on the road or in the field. Its grab-and-go capabilities mean it can be moved from its docking station to remote use without powering down. The CT60 runs Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system and a Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor-M. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition allows users to run full Windows-based applications using a pen or speech, annotate documents and create handwritten documents using digital ink. Price: $4,850. Contact: (800) 347-2636; www.intermec.com

Skip the Workout
A tight stomach comes from hours in the gym. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just buy a better set of abs? CMS Peripherals’ makes that solution possible with the portable ABSplus in a new, larger 80GB capacity. An ideal traveling companion for users who need to protect critical data while away from the office, the ABSplus delivers peace of mind to mobile users by making data backup automatic and offering a complete suite of disaster recovery options. The ABSplus is a fully integrated software and hardware system providing users with complete backup, restore and disaster-recovery features. It is an easy-to-use, plug-and-play device powered by CMS’ ABSplus backup software. This software performs a complete and automatic backup of a notebook or desktop’s entire hard drive once the ABSplus is scheduled, powered on or connected. Data recovery is smooth, without time-consuming shutdowns or re-starts. Price: $549 for portable units, $349 for desktop units. Contact: (800) 327-5773; www.cmsproducts.com

Your Name in Lights
Search engines can serve up thousands of sites that match your criteria. VHP Software’s Text Spotlight v. 2.2 is a Windows NT4/2000/XP utility that highlights search terms in all open desktop windows, making it quick and easy to find the information you’re looking for. Simply type one or more words or phrases, and every occurrence will be highlighted in your Web browser, word processor, e-mail reader and in all of you Windows programs. Highlighting continues as you scroll through new pages. Price: $14.95. Contact: (877) 734-7638; www.textspotlight.com

 


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