Column: Christmas stuff
Loose Wire — Have a Bidet Christmas
I’d like to point you in the direction of some items, which might charitably be called gizmo add-ons. You might not be expecting to get the latest gadget in your stocking this year, but you can at least make your existing gadget more functional.
First, your cellphone. The biggest drawback to these things is battery life. True, the batteries on most cellphones last a lot longer than they used to, and charge more quickly, but it’s still a pain to find you’ve run out of juice and are nowhere near an outlet. Help is at hand. Try these:
The Instant Power Charger (www.electric-fuel.com) draws energy from a disposable cartridge the size of a matchbox that in turn draws its power from oxygen in the air. Plug it into a cellphone (or personal digital assistant) and you can start using it straightaway: The battery will be recharged in a couple of hours. The cartridge lasts for three charges.
Consider chargers using normal batteries — you can usually find these at specialist electronic stores or cellphone shops. They’re keyring-size adaptors that fit into the charger socket of your phone and attach to a standard nine-volt battery.
Tired of carrying around an adaptor on business trips? From computer peripheral shops you can buy a cable that plugs into your personal computer’s USB port, which will also do the job of recharging your cellphone (or PDA), albeit it at a somewhat slower rate.
Be careful in all these cases to get the right cable for your cellphone or PDA, since one size doesn’t fit all. And try to buy a reputable brand, since in some cases you could damage your gadget.
Now, that’s the practical stuff out of the way. I love my PDA but I’m mighty bored with carrying the same PDA case all the time. I’d recommend trying out alternative cases. I’ve taken the liberty of road-testing a number on your behalf, my only rule of thumb is the case shouldn’t cost more than the PDA:
Britain’s Scribble (www.scribble.co.uk) also put out an interesting range of cases, including a black plastic Palm case with interchangeable panels, from black to sharp blue. Scribble also make a simple synthetic rubber case with added protection front and back, as do Marware (www.marware.com).
The more rugged adventurer might want to consider GrinderGear, who prefer to call their PDA cases Sport Utility Bags, or SUBs for short. These are padded, dripping with zips, tassels and tags, and come with hooks so you can strut along a ridge with your PDA bouncing off your hip.
Have a good Christmas and New Year-with or without the bidet.
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24. December 2001 by jeremy
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Battery, Christmas, Dow Jones & Company Inc., Electronics, Embedded systems, energy, Jeremy Wagstaff, Mobile phone, New Year's Day, Pain, PDA, Personal digital assistant, synthetic rubber case, the Far Eastern Economic Review, USB port | Comments Off on Column: Christmas stuff