Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Tech products: What's new

Computer given styling worthy of the family room

Don't even think about setting up the Gateway 901 Family Room Media Center PC in your home office. With a short frame that looks more like a DVD player than a computer tower, this is one PC that really fits in the family room. Hook it up to a television and you can watch DVD movies, listen to FM radio and record CDs. Or use its Personal Video Recorder to find a favorite TV show and record it at a later date. Or if you need to stop watching a show for a moment, you can freeze the action until you return. The FMC-901 model is priced at $1,000; the FMC-901 X costs $1,800. (www.gateway.com)

Speedy DVD burner records video in a flash on the PC

The Mach-8 DVD Burner can turn a PC into a movie-making machine, and it can do so in a flash. Pacific Digital says its 8X multiformat burner can record an hour of video onto a DVD+Recordable (DVD+R) disc in eight minutes. It also can make recordings on DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW discs. The internal drive costs about $180. An external Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 version is about $230. (www.pacificdigital.com)

Wireless phone provides hands-free information

Samsung's new wireless phone lets you check data without having to pick up the phone or even glance at its color display. If you need to know the signal strength, battery level, roaming status or phone number on Samsung's PCS Vision Phone VI660, all you have to do is ask and it will read the answer aloud through the included earpiece. You also can direct the phone to dial someone listed in its phone book, or dial a number as you say it out loud. It operates on the Sprint PCS Nationwide Network. It costs $230; with a two-year service contract, it's $80. (www.sprintpcs.com, www.samsungusa.com)

Program makes a clean sweep of PCs, Macs

You don't have to wait until spring to clean up your PC with Aladdin Systems' Spring Cleaning 3.0 for Windows. Formerly called Easy Uninstall, the new version can find duplicate files, sweep away the junk that clutters and slows PCs, and undo changes that didn't work. It also can repair common PC problems, hide Internet tracks and transfer programs to a new PC. Cost: $30. A Macintosh version is $50. (www.aladdinsys.com)

The good steward
Float theme: Gift of sight
Smucker rated sweetest employer
Tower Place stores closing
IHI, GE team for Chinese engines
Beef testing under scrutiny
Beef futures fall the limit in mad cow aftermath
Dollar sinks as euro hits new high
Nasdaq hits 2000, keeps going
Parmalat founder may have to stay in custody
Retail boosted by last-minute buying
Stewart judge rules on records
Chinese tariff cutoff raises U.S. steel stocks

Web sites can help spot deals
Tech products: What's new
Video game junkie turns pro, cashes in