Trying to get a jump on my IT gift giving, I hit ShowStoppers Digital Holidays to see what was cool. As my wife put it, there were a lot of things to stuff in your ears (Bluetooth headsets) and stuff to play in your ears (audio things). Nestled in between were some interesting items any IT geek could use. IceRage Pocket Presenter is a cool little mouse, laser pointer, and input device that can be used to take control of your presentations. Using Bluetooth to talk to the PC, you can use it as a mouse, flip a switch, and start running a presentation. Slides are advanced through the pointy stick. You can even enter text into the slides. Pocket Presenter will be available in 2008.
D-Link Wireless USB hub (DUB-2240) priced at $219.99 MSRP is a four-port of USB 2.0 HUB over a wireless connection to your PC. Representatives from D-Link said new laptops shipping from Dell and Lenovo will have wireless USB built in. For those without wireless USB, an adapter (DUB-1210) can be had for $119.99 MSRP. Kind of pricey for both units, but far less than a comparable docking station and far more convenient. D-Link says the products will be available in the fourth quarter.
D-Link MediaLounge Media extender is a wireless media device capable of streaming HD and standard definition video, audio, and images. The DSM-750 is scheduled to be available by November with an MSRP of $349. Included are wired and wireless network connections, remote control, USB 2.0 input, and it can be driven from Windows Media Center.
Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 is a handheld IM device supporting AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN over any Wi-Fi connection. This is a stripped-down device that limits activity to IM, audio, and pictures and lets kids, the target audience, IM without tying up the home computer. There is no browser, so you can sign into a Wi-Fi service, which is by design. It will be available this month at $149.99 MSRP.
The Fly Fusion Pentop Computer from LeapFrog Enterprises, MSRP $79.99 and available now, is a pen that records the written word to silicon. Using special paper containing a dot matrix, a reader in the pen tracks writing activity and stores it in memory. The text can be uploaded to a computer using USB, and can be saved, searched, and converted to text in Word. If you have poor handwriting, like I do, the product has a training program to reteach you how to write. There are other programs that can be loaded onto the pen, like a math program that helps you over difficult math problems. The downside is that you need the paper from LeapFrog, which runs $9.99 for 100 sheets. At 9.9 cents per sheet, that is some might expensive stock. No doodling!Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio