Cool Stuff: Music to My Ears

Perhaps it's a sign of a revitalized economy. There are gadgets and gizmos aplenty for geeks of all ages on your gift list.

Dell's DJ Digital Jukebox G

Manufacturer: Dell Inc.

Price: Starts at $249

The best competitor yet to Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod, Dell's new Digital Jukebox comes with a 15GB or 20GB hard drive and a battery good for 16 hours of MP3 or Windows Media Audio listening. The interface isn't as nice as iPod's, but at $249 or $299, it's much cheaper, and its glowing blue dial and buttons look cool in the dark. Taking another cue from Apple, Dell has hooked up with a 99-cents-per-song download service.

DigitalMovie, Digital Vinyl CD-R

Manufacturer: Verbatim Corp., Charlotte, N.C.

Price: $4 for DVD blanks, $13 for 10-pack of CD-R

If you're like me, you're burning a lot of CDs these days, whether for backup or for music compilations. And if you like to fool with home video, you're probably storing your movies on DVDs so you can watch them on your television. Verbatim has some new products for us all: blank CD-R disks that look like 45-rpm records (remember records?) and CD-Rs with blank labels that can be printed on by ink-jet printers, as well as blank DVD+-Rs that look like film reels. DigitalMovie DVD blanks run about $12 for a three-pack, while Digital Vinyl CD-Rs are $13 per 10-pack.

Nero 6 Ultra Edition

Manufacturer: Ahead Software Inc., Glendale, Calif.

Price: $99 (or $69 via download)

I've used Ahead Software's Nero Burning ROM software to burn CDs for years. The newest release, Nero 6 Ultra Edition, has expanded and integrated capabilities, making it easier and quicker than ever to create or copy music discs, photos, data backups and now DVDs. This all-in-one solution includes applications to edit audio and video; mix multiple audio tracks like professionals; watch VCD, SVCD and DVD movies; listen to music; design covers; and optimize your drive's performance.

Radio YourWay

Manufacturer: PoGo Products Inc., Brea, Calif.

Price: $150 or $200, depending on memory capacity

For decades, we'vebeen able to set up video recorders to turn on at preset times and record programs for us automatically. But until now, there has been no product that does the same for radio, even though it's a much simpler process. Radio YourWay is a small MP3 player containing an AM/FM radio with a programmable solid-state recorder. The unit holds up to 4.5 hours of compressed audio in its 32MB of internal memory and up to 36 hours with add-in Secure Digital memory cards. With the included USB cable, you can transfer files to and from your PC and store MP3 files to Radio YourWay. Did I mention that it also has a voice recorder?

SA100 Mini-MP3

Manufacturer: Auvi Technologies, St. Charles, Mo.

Price: Starts at $50

It looks like a USB thumb drive, but it also plays MP3 audio. The SA100 is about the size of a thumb, 3.5 in. by 1.1 in. and just 0.9 in. thick. Available in 64MB, 128MB and 256MB versions, the portable digital audio device runs on one AAA battery for up to six hours of music playback. It includes two LED indicators and an equalizer that can be preset to five settings. Its firmware is upgradable via a USB port.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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