It's not always the "big" thing in technology - large keyboards, even
larger displays that's worth discussion. Sometimes, it's the small items
which can be very useful.
For example, take the Nokia 5300 Xpress Music phone. It's $99 via
T-Mobile, and it's a neat little item.
The phone pairs a slide-open design with dedicated music keys, a bright
2-inch color screen and a built-in 1.3 megapixel camera. With its included
1 GB MicroSD card, this device can store up to 750 songs in what's called
the eAAC+ format, or 240 songs in copy-protected WMA format. The device
can even play music wirelessly using stereo Bluetooth technology. That
means that owners can enjoy the cord-free convenience of wireless
headphones, or even stream music wirelessly to their home or car stereo
I was sent one of these to test, and it's a rather impressive item. Though
small, you don't feel as if you're going to lose the 5300, and it has a
nice, substantial feel to it. Phone quality is good, camera quality is
excellent, and the music player is a nice bonus, though less attractive to
this Apple, Inc., iPod user than it might be to some.
Particularly impressive, by the way, was the ease with which one could
enter address book listings of name, phone number, etc. Pairing the
address book with the built-in camera, of course, makes creating a visual
listing of friends all the easier.
This isn't a high-powered business-type mobile phone, but one may not
always need such. The Nokia 5300 Xpress Music phone is a nice little
device that does its job well.
GET MOBILE: At a list price of $120, the Microsoft Mobility Pack might
have everything a road warrior might need: an external mouse with wireless
transmitter, and a clip-on video camera offering 2.0 megapixel video.
I like the mouse, which operates on just one "AA" battery, features a
"four-way" scroll button and also has a "magnify" button to help zoom in
on a screen. The Web cam also takes still pictures at an interpolated rate
of 7.6 megapixels, which isn't too shabby.
My only complaint is actually a statement of reality. These items work
under Microsoft's Windows operating system; the mouse might support some
Macintosh OS X functions, but probably not all, and I doubt the camera
would work seamlessly in the current Mac OS version. Thus, this is great
for Windows users, which of course is a primary market for Microsoft
One other point to consider: many of today's laptops are coming along with
built-in cameras, so the Mobility Pack may be better for those which, say,
2006 vintage and earlier machines. The rest of us could just buy the mouse
and be happy.
SOFTWARE ON A STICK: If you're rushing to complete your income taxes,
check out H&R Block TaxCut Premium Federal + State 2006, $40
and delivered on a Kingston Technology 356 Mbyte USB Flash Drive. Stick
the drive in a USB port, double click on the install screen, and you're on
This is such a great idea I wonder why more firms don't do this. The flash
drive is tiny, portable, and has storage space to boot. Presumably, one
could save a copy of the tax return to the drive, and store the whole
thing in a file drawer, although a hard copy duplicate would probably be a
good idea. I like the concept, although this product, too, is