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More Cool Road Warrior Gadgets

Canary Wireless Digital Hotspotter

The Digital Hotspotter is a second-generation device that not only senses WiFi hotspots, but also tells you (via its LCD display) the name (SSID) of the available network, signal strength, and encryption status. It's a great little gadget to carry when you're traveling, and need wireless Internet access.

Model: HS10 Manufacturer: Canary Wireless (http://www.canarywireless.com) Price: $59.95

Targus DEFCON MDP Motion Sensor

The DEFCON MDP is a PC card you insert into your notebook computer to deter theft. The card contains a tiny tilt motion sensor which senses when a thief is making off with your PC; it then sounds a 110dB alarm and prohibits unapproved access. It includes its own rechargeable battery, so your PC is protected even if it's turned off.

Model: DEFCON MDP Manufacturer: Targus (http://www.targus.com) Card type: Type II PC Card Price: $99.99

Keynamics Reclinable Laptop Stand

Most notebook PCs are something less than ergo-nomic. To provide a more comfortable typing position, check out the Keynamics Reclinable Laptop Stand. This stand puts your PC at a comfortable angle, and even provides better access to the back-of-unit ports. Even better, the stand itself is on rollers, so it's easy to move in and out of position on your desktop.

Model: Reclinable Laptop Stand Manufacturer: Keynamics (http://www.keynamics.com) Price: $79.99

Vantec LapCool 2 Notebook Cooler

Here's a really cool notebook PC gadget—obvious pun intended. The LapCool 2 notebook cooler helps cool down hot-running notebooks, thanks to two ultra-quiet fans in the base. The LapCool has a flat 11.8'' x 10.3'' surface, so just about any notebook fits on top and stays cool while doing so. Added bonus—the LapCool 2 also functions as a four-port USB 2.0 hub, so you can get double duty from the desktop footprint.

Model: LPC-305 Manufacturer: Vantec (http://www.vantecusa.com) Dimensions: 11.8'' x 10.3'' x 0.8'' Price: $39.99

FreePlay FreeCharge

When your cell phone battery runs out, what do you do? Well, with the FreePlay FreeCharge, you crank it up—that is, you turn the crank to recharge the battery. The FreeCharge provides emergency power to your phone; you get 2–3 minutes of talk time per 45-second crank. It's better than not having any power at all!

Model: FreeCharge Manufacturer: FreePlay (http://www.freeplayenergy.com) Price: $65

Western Digital WD Passport Pocket Hard Drive

USB flash drives are nice, but sometimes you just need more storage than you get with those little gizmos. The answer is to carry around a portable hard drive, like the WD Passport. This is an 80GB hard drive that's small enough to fit in your pocket; it connects to any PC via USB, which makes it ideal for transferring data from PC to PC.

Model: WDXML800UETN Manufacturer: Western Digital (http://www.wdc.com) Capacity: 80GB Dimensions: 5.68'' x 3.51'' x 0.83'' Price: $199.99

Creative WebCam Notebook

I covered desktop webcams back in the computer gadgets section, but let's take a quick look at a webcam specifically designed for notebook PCs. I'm talking about Creative's WebCam Notebook, which is a super-small penlight-style camera that clips to the top of your notebook screen and connects to any open USB port. It shoots a 640 x 480 resolution picture, and tilts vertically a total of 270°.

Model: WebCam Notebook Manufacturer: Creative (http://www.creative.com) Resolution: 640 x 480 Dimensions: 2.3'' x 1'' x 1.6'' Price: $49.99

Bose QuietComfort 2 Noise Canceling Headphones

The Bose QuietComfort 2 is, without a doubt, the quietest headphone on the market today—which is why you see so many of them in use on long business flights. Bose's Acoustic Noise Canceling technology electronically identifies and then reduces unwanted noise. You don't even have to listen to music to use these phones; just put them on, turn them on, and hear virtually all background noise disappear. Connectors include a standard mini-plug for use with portable devices, a 1/4'' adapter for home audio equipment, and a dual plug adapter to use when flying.

Model: QuietComfort 2 Manufacturer: Bose (http://www.bose.com) Weight: 6.9 oz. Price: $299

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Leo Laporte's 2006 Gadget Guide

This chapter is from the book

Leo Laporte's 2006 Gadget Guide

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