Monday, April 30, 2007

Much cooler than the school bus:
Bimmer 4-door luxo prototype

BMW's four-door ultra-luxury Concept CS, if produced, could compete with similar upcoming products from the likes of Porsche and Aston Martin as well as currently available models like the Maserati Quattroporte. Prototype was shown at the Shanghai Motor Show. (photo and info from The Wall Street Journal)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wikipedia without the Web

Fans of Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, like its dynamic nature: volunteers can quickly respond to new developments and errors in by adding or changing entries. It may therefore seem odd that Wikipedia volunteers are now working on a static version on CD. A preliminary version was released earlier this month.

The goal is to extend Wikipedia to those with limited or no Internet access. Success with the CD could ultimately lead to Wikipedia in book or other forms.

"Plenty of people do not have Internet access. They have a computer and no Internet, or just a slow Internet connection," said Martin A. Walker, the Wikipedia volunteer who helped coordinate the project. "There are many times when you may be offline anyway. You may be at a camp or something like that."

With Wikipedia, anyone may add, edit or even delete entries regardless of expertise. Although that has led to pranks, or endless revisions of controversial topics like abortion, Wikipedia volunteers can quickly make repairs.

Since its founding in 2001, the reference has grown to more than 1.7 million articles in the English language alone.

The Wikipedia CD will have only a subset of that - about 2,000 articles, with a heavy emphasis on geography, literature and other topics that won't change much the way current events and controversial subjects might.

"We did shy away a little bit from deliberately taking on those topics," said Walker, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam. "This is a CD that is going to be around for a year or two."

The CD strives to be of higher quality than the online version, Walker said. Volunteers have been scanning entries for foul language and other signs of vandalism, but didn't have the time to thoroughly verify all the facts for the preliminary CD. The cleaner version should appeal to teachers worried about displaying pages that might contain foul language.

The CD is available for $14 plus shipping through the project's Web site, Despite the site's name, Walker insisted the contents must fit on a CD, noting that many home computers do not yet have DVD players. The CD works with Windows 98 and later, Mac OS X running on Intel-based Mac computers and Linux x86 systems. (info from The Associated Press)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Warm Up the Snake" -- a Hollywood Memoir

John Rich directed and produced some of the best-known and most-loved shows in television history, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times, Barney Miller, Newhart, Benson, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, and many more. His feature film credits include Wives and Lovers, Boeing Boeing, and Roustabout (starring Elvis Presley), and he directed the live telecast of the opening day ceremonies of Disneyland in 1955. He won an Emmy for The Dick Van Dyke Show, two Emmys for All in the Family, and two Golden Globes for All in the Family.

"Warm Up the Snake" is the witty and revealing backstage chronicle of Rich's career. The book is packed with unforgettable and often hilarious stories of personalities (Elvis was respectful, Shelley Winters was a bitch, Michael Eisner was a jerk). As director and producer of dozens of radio, TV, and film hits, Rich enjoyed a career that spanned half a century.

"Warm Up the Snake" reveals an inside view of the art, business, and politics of filmmaking, directing, and producing. Not only was Rich an accomplished director, he was also an innovator who is responsible for many TV production techniques. Rich was also a guiding force in the Directors Guild of America, and had a central role in negotiating financial security for directors and producers.

"Warm Up the Snake" is a must-have for film and TV addicts, the star-struck, and anyone interested in some of the greatest decades of American television and film. If you want to know what the title means, buy the book. I recommend it highly, and so do Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke and Sherwood Schwartz (creator of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch) CLICK to order from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Experience Zero-G in fake space flight

Sharper Image Corp. hopes to boost its fortunes by going where no retail firm has ventured before: selling airplane flights that replicate the weightless thrills of outer space.

Sharper Image signed an exclusive agreement with Zero Gravity Corp., a company that pioneered the concept of flying passengers in a converted Boeing 727 cargo jet to mimic the weightless conditions of space travel. With fares slated to cost about $3,500, Sharper Image plans to prominently display the high-end adventure trips in catalogs, as well as in special promotions at its stores.

The partnership is the most aggressive effort so far by space entrepreneurs to try to tap into a mass market.

Describing the agreement as "the first major announcement" in a strategic plan to win back customers by upgrading products and offerings, Sharper Image Chairman Jerry Levin said that "we're obviously investing heavily in the marketing part," and that the company intends to portray the experience as the ultimate Father's Day gift. The move comes as the company, which sometimes resembles an adult toy store because of its eclectic mix of high-tech gadgets, struggles to shake off red ink, a management shake-up and a depressed share price.

According to Peter Diamandis, chief executive of Zero Gravity, the retail tie-in is intended to transform "something that NASA pioneered and demonstrated into an affordable, once-in-a-lifetime experience" accessible to everyday consumers.

As the jet flies 10,000-foot-high roller-coaster arcs, passengers briefly float and tumble inside a padded cabin as if they were orbiting the Earth or the moon. Diamandis expects the number of flights to reach about 100 a year, carrying about 3,000 passengers. (info from The Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eos multi-room wireless audio system for iPod

Eos from IntelliTouch is apparently the world’s first digital wireless multi-room audio speaker system for iPod. Using WiFi-friendly technology, Eos links up to four stereo remote wireless speakers, with a range of up to 150 feet through walls and ceilings, for use indoors or outdoors. Eos was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last January, and is now available in limited quantities.

The heart of the Eos system is an iPod docking base/transmitter with two stereo speakers plus a ported subwoofer. The system uses SRS WOW® sound enhancement that Intellitouch says improves compressed and uncompressed audio by expanding the size of the audio image and creating deeper, richer bass. Like the base, the Eos remote wireless speakers also have two stereo speakers and a ported subwoofer.

Eos accessories include a weatherproof wireless outdoor amplifier, with two audio zones and separate volume controls. This allows you to transmit and control sound outside your home, without having to drill holes and run wires. The weatherproof outdoor amp can be used with most outdoor speakers.

The basic Eos system includes a docking station/transmitter with one wireless remote speaker, with a $299 list price. Additional Eos wireless speaker remotes, as well as the Eos weatherproof wireless outdoor amplifier, and a transmitter/receiver bundle are available separately at $129. Eos products are available in black or white. CLICK for more info or online ordering. (This is a preview, not a review)

Monday, April 23, 2007

J C Whitney has everything automotive

Everyone who owns a motor vehicle -- and everyone who loves motor vehicles, needs a free subscription to the JC Whitney catalog, and should spend time on their website.

For over 90 years, Whitney has been a super source for almost anything that can be used to fix, restore or enhance a car, truck, SUV, RV or motorcycle. You can buy tools, tires, wheels, engines, wire, filters, spark plugs, test equipment, touchup paint, cleaning chemicals, upholstery, carpeting, navigation, audio, video, sunroofs, seatbelts, sponges, instrumentation, exhaust systems, fuzzy dice, headlights, funny horns, RV toilets, fire extinguishers, racing helmets... you name it.

They now publish six different catalogs: a general publication, plus specialized books for classic VWs, Jeeps, sport compacts, RVs, motorcycles, etc. Whitney can help you trick out a brand-new Honda, or keep an ancient Beetle on the road.

You can get serious stuff like shock absorbers, or silly stuff like LED-laden tail pipes. Over the years, the company has helped enhance the cars of countless people whose aspirations exceeded their budgets: they even sold phony CB radio antennas, phony cellphones, and phony stick shifts. They’ve also offered options that were unavailable from the car manufacturers. My first purchase was a genuine walnut applique for my Corvair dashboard. I also got a loud AH-OOH-GAH horn for my Vespa motorscooter.

In 1915, the Ford Model T had been in mass production for only seven years, when a Lithuanian immigrant in Chicago named Israel Warshawsky saw an opportunity to mine replacement parts from derelict automobiles. He bought a piece of property and opened a scrap metal yard, The Warshawsky Company.

Industrial growth generated by World War I put the salvage business into high gear. Soon, the demand for auto parts outstripped the supply of derelict cars. Warshawsky began buying up failed auto manufacturers and added new parts to his inventory, and added a retail store.

The Warshawsky Company grew right through the Great Depression, when few people could afford new cars or even new parts. By 1934, the company had a larger store and a wholesale catalog.

Israel's son, Roy Warshawsky, joined the company after graduating from the University of Chicago, and proposed a consumer catalog to make products available nationwide. Roy placed a $60 ad in Popular Mechanics and invited readers to send in 25 cents for a "giant auto parts catalog." The ad produced a flood of response and the JC Whitney Catalog was on its way to becoming a do-it-yourselfer's favorite.

When Israel died in 1943, leadership of the company passed to Roy. As a second world war cut back the supply of new cars, the demand for parts soared. By 1947, the retail store occupied an entire block, the biggest automotive department store in the world, with "everything automotive."

The post-war Baby Boom years spurred more growth on the catalog side of the business. The consumer catalog broke 100 pages, moved to 24-hour ordering and spawned a series of specialty catalogs targeted to key market segments.

When Roy saw a need for products that didn't exist, he contracted manufacturers to produce them. As consumer auto shows became more popular, Roy initiated a cooperative effort among retailers and manufacturers to make it easier for consumers to purchase independent aftermarket products. That effort led to the formation of the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association in 1967 and the election of Roy Warshawsky as its first president. Roy died in 1997. The company is still very much alive, and so are the cars of its customers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Now your iPod can do the back float

Frontgate's waterproof iPod case is either really silly or really useful -- or maybe both.

It lets your iPod float safely alongside you in the pool, lake or ocean. Just put your pod inside and snap the case shut to enjoy music and movies, even in 100% humidity.

Waterproof click wheel navigates your media playlist. Dual full-range waterproof neodymium speakers. Shatterproof polycarbonate case protects from spills, splashes and corrosion in salt water. Fold-out stand in back enables you to prop up the iPod carrier for beach and poolside listening. Protective bumper guards. Shower mount. Adjustable wrist and shoulder straps. Included inserts make it compatible with various iPod models.

Price is $149, from Frontgate. (This is a preview, not a review)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Super toothbrush may take food out of your dentist's mouth

When I learned to brush my teeth, my father scolded, "If your mouth isn't bleeding, you're not brushing hard enough!"

For years, every morning I brushed, and every morning I bled.

Last year, my dentist discovered that I had swollen, bleeding gums (gingivitis), and it was not from heavy-handed brushing.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gumline. If daily brushing and flossing do not remove the plaque, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.

If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned; but many people think it's normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss. In 1999, the National Institutes of Health found that half of Americans over 30 had bleeding gums.

("Bleeding Gums" Murphy was a saxophone player in the animated TV series The Simpsons, and an idol of Lisa Simpson. Bleeding Gums gave the origin of his nickname as this: "Well let me put it this way... you ever been to the dentist? Not me. I suppose I should go to one, but I got enough pain in my life as it is." Murphy died at an early age of unexplained causes. BE WARNED.)

Swollen and bleeding gums are early signs that something is wrong. Most likely, your gums are infected with bacteria. If nothing is done, the infection could spread and destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone. Eventually, your teeth could become so loose that they have to be extracted.

"Perio" means around, and "dontal" refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis — the infection affects the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved.

In recent years, gum disease has been linked to a number of other health problems, including Stroke, Diabetes, Premature births, Heart disease, and Respiratory disease.

While I am not a likely candidate for a premature birth, the other potential problems are decidedly unpleasant; and my dentist arranged for me to see a gum specialist. Dr. Goodgums did some probing and scraping, decreed a three-times-a-day four-minute brushing regimen, frequent flossing, and scheduled a re-exam six weeks later.

I was never a brush-after-every-meal guy. I do keep a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste in the office john, but it's reserved for special occasions. I did brush every morning, and was willing to add a night-time session.

The prescribed four-minute sessions lasted an eternity. I found I was bored or worn out after about two and a half minutes.

Then I got an inspiration. I figured that the key was not really the amount of time I spent brushing, but the actual number of brush strokes. If I could do more strokes per minute, I wouldn't need to brush for as many minutes.

Although I had long-ago switched from a manual brush to a motorized model, it seemed like I was putting a pokey Honda in my mouth, and I wanted to be driving a vroom-vroom Ferrari.

I was not about to invest in a dentist's chair and a high-horsepower roto-tool, but I found the next-best thing, the Braun Oral-B Triumph Professional Care 9000.

Despite the venerable old-world Braun label, Oral-B really comes from razor-maker Gillette, which is part of Proctor & Gamble, the soap, diaper and dog food folks.

The Oral-B Triumph rechargeable toothbrush, with multiple brush functions and choices of brush heads, is pretty close to having a professional hygienist do your teeth. It costs more than many other electrics, but I think it's well worth the price.

Assembly is easy. Just insert the charging ring into the base station, and attach the plastic protective cover, which conveniently stores up to four attachments. Slip the toothbrush body into the charging unit and the Triumph will become fully charged in about 12 hours.

Fully charged, this toothbrush will give you about 25 brushing sessions, which makes it easy to travel without schlepping the charger. If you are going to be away for a long time, you can save suitcase space by taking the charger without the full-size base. Should you be motivated to show off your Triumph to someone you meet in a far-away hotel, the display on the Triumph handle can be programmed for any of 13 different languages. The SmartPlug automatically adapts to any voltage worldwide.

Two brush heads are included with the Triumph -- the FlossAction and the PowerPolisher. The FlossAction brush head relies on MicroPulse bristles that penetrate between the teeth for a flossing effect, while the PowerPolisher is designed, as the name implies, to "power polish" your teeth. The Triumph is able to recognize the brush head you've attached, and automatically select the appropriate mode of brushing. Two other modes -- "massage" and "soft" -- can be selected manually.

A digital display in the Triumph handle tells you when the brush heads are ready for replacement or when the battery needs recharging. Additionally, the brush is programmed to time each brushing session for the recommended two minutes. Every 30 seconds the brush pulses, alerting the user to shift to a new section of the mouth. And when the two minutes are up, the brush pulses and displays a friendly "happy face" on the handle's indicator.

Tests show that the new brush head removes over 90% of plaque, and I definitely had a happy face when I went for my checkup with Dr. Goodgums. He looked me over carefully and made detailed measurements, and said that I had made the most complete recovery from Gingivitis that he had ever seen. My gums were so good, in fact, that he canceled my next appointment, depriving him of $150 -- which is more than I paid for the brush.

List price is $130. I got mine for just under $100 at Look for special deals on accessories. If you spend $129 or more on select Braun and Oral-B products at Amazon, you get $50 off a future purchase. The current offer expires April 30, 2007. (some info above from Colgate, Amazon, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Giant remote is too big to lose

I've tried Velcro-ing remote controls to the furniture, and tethering them with coiled phone cords, but they still diappear. They're usually under a cushion or under the bed, and our dog has taken a few outside the house.

Brookstone may have a solution with their King Kong-size univeral remote control that measures 5" W x 11" L x 1" H. This 6-in-1 device can operate your TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite receiver, cable box and other gadgets. It has glow-in-the-dark buttons, so you can easily find it and use it when the lights are out; and it knows nearly 300 codes for popular brands of audio and video devices.

You may not have the biggest TV in the neighborhood, but for $35 you can have the biggest remote control. CLICK to order from Brookstone (This is a preview, not a review.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I'm away on a business trip. Postings will resume on Wednesday 4/18.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Internet Wayback Machine shows web's past

Peabody's Improbable History was a segment of the popular and witty Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon series starting in 1959. It starred Mr. Peabody, a talking dog historian, and Sherman, his pet human boy.

They used their "Wayback Machine" to visit historic events, and helped to make history turn out the way it was supposed to. Each episode ended with Mr. Peabody delivering an agonizing pun that caused Sherman and viewers to groan.

In one episode, William Tell is nearly blind and likely to kill his son in the process of shooting the apple from his head. Peabody and Sherman help history by hiding a strong magnet in the apple that attracts the tip of the arrow, enabling a perfect shot. Mr. Peabody ends the history lesson with a pun about Tell's eyesight being so bad that a disorder was named after him: Tell-a-vision. (GROAN)

Alas, that Wayback Machine was pure fiction, from the inventive mind of cartoonist Jay Ward; but a free online service will let you see the web the way it used to be -- and maybe even see yourself the way you used to be.

The non-profit Internet Archive has built an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital form. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, software and archived web pages. You can browse through over 85 billion pages dating from the Archive's start to a few months ago.

To use the Archive's Wayback Machine, go to and enter a url (a www web address). A page will open up, showing entries going back as far as 1996. Sometimes there will be a few pages per year, sometimes as many as one per day. Just click on a date, and you go WAYBACK. Keyword searching is not currently supported.

In most cases, you will be able to view entire websites, not just home pages, but a few graphic images may be missing and some links may be dead. It's a fascinating way to spend a few spare minutes, or many hours. The archive is an invaluable research tool, a good way to recover your own deleted webwork (see how great you were or how far you've come), and may help resolve copyright disputes. If you find it useful or fun, donate a few bucks to help the project keep going.

If you want to go wayback to the 1960s and see Mr. Peabody and Sherman, you can buy a Rocky and Bullwinkle collection DVD at It's a very important part of American cultural history that belongs in every home. Rocky the flying squirrel, and Bullwinkle the Moose, inspired Simpsons creator Matt Groening; and Family Guy talking dog Brian owes a lot to Mr. Peabody.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

EnGenius long-range cordless phone

Most cordless phones can work a few hundred feet from their base. That's fine for most homes and offices, but not nearly enough for a ranch, farm, car lot, campus, warehouse or a big office building or store.

EnGenius Technologies has been marketing long-range cordless phones in the US for about a decade. EnGenius is part of Senao, a Taiwanese manufacturer of phones and wireless data equipment. Some Senao phones can go dozens of miles, but they're not legal in the US. The EnGenius phones are legal here, and can usually reach a mile or more. They have more "horsepower" than other cordlesses, and can even punch through metal walls.

The first generation EnGenius was independently tested to have a five-mile range. Unless you live in death valley, you probably won't reach that far, but coverage of 12 floors in building, 250,000 sq. ft. in a warehouse, and 3,000 acres on a farm, ranch, car lot or campus is not unusual. That's more than 130 million square feet!

EnGenius was one of the first companies to offer a cordless phone with a separate base that can be positioned for maximum range, while the handset needs just a charging cradle, but no phone jack. They were also one of the first companies to offer multi-handset cordless phone systems with handset-to-handset intercom.

EnGenius "DuraFons" are extremely rugged. They are industrial strength phones, built to be dropped and splashed. In addition to providing phone service, they also act as walkie-talkies, and provide paging from one handset to multiple handsets.

Several DuraFon systems are available, for 1, 4 or 32 lines; and up to 9, 32, or 90 handsets. A DuraFon can be connected directly to phone company dialtone, or used with another phone system. Many accessories are available, including an external range-boosting antenna. More info is at

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Many winners, one loser, at the Ikea snack bar

Ikea is the Sweden-based home furnishings giant that has been planting big blue boxes in cities around the world.

Although best known for flat beige cardboard boxes that contain the bits and pieces to furnish a home, the stores have a variety of cheap eats, and some of the food is quite good.

All around the world, people enjoy a pre-shopping (or a pre-no-shopping) bargain breakfast at Ikea, even before the rest of the store is open for business.

In the US, 99 cents will get you eggs, bacon and potatoes.

In Germany, there are organized breakfast clubs that meet daily at Ikea. A German newspaper says "Ikea is increasingly turning into a welfare center for pensioners, young moms, low-earners and the unemployed." For €1.50 Germans can get two rolls, butter, cold cuts and cheese, jam, smoked salmon, and unlimited coffee. Beer is available later in the day.

The Ikea in Israel serves Kosher food. During Passover, the food was Kosher for Passover. The food market that sold food that was not Kosher for Passover, was temporarily closed.

In Japan, Ikea serves traditional Japanese food along with Ikea standards Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and sauce.

British Ikea customers can get fish and chips.

And so it goes, in nearly 250 Ikeas around the world.

I'm not big on lingonberries, but I love the Swedish meatballs (made with reindeer meat?). I usually run away from yogurt ("baby barf"), but Ikea's low-fat concoction is absolutely delicious, and a fine substitute for more dangerous ice cream.

Their 50-cent hot dogs won't win any awards; but they are cheap, and no worse than what you'll get in a gas station or 7-11.

Some Ikeas have been offering a limited time "special" pizza pocket. It's basically a Swedish interpretation of a zeppole, and it sucks. It looks and feels like an over-cooked potato knish, with a hard doughy shell filled with a tomato and cheese paste. I took two bites, and got my two bucks back.

Fortunately Ikea has lots of good choices, including excellent salads, deserts and kids' meals; and you can buy frozen cooked meatballs to take home. There's also a Swedish Foodmarket with candy, cookies, crackers, jams, drinks, and more. (photo from Portland OR Development Commission)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

PaperPro strength-multiplying stapler

Paper staplers have been around for years. The major change was the use of electricity instead of human power to drive the wire through the sheets. Recently a smart guy named Todd Moses re-thought the manual stapler, and developed something simple and amazing.

The PaperPro® stapler has a patented spring-powered mechanism that can convert 8 lbs of finger pressure into 30 lbs of staple driving power. One light finger touch can staple 25 sheets of paper together, with no power cord. It won't make a big reduction in your electricity bill, or save a lot of coal or oil; but it will make your desktop just a little bit greener, and it's even fun to use and show off to others.

PaperPro uses standard staples, and in about two years of daily use, mine has never jammed. I've never had to whack it with a fist, pry it open with a screwdriver, or use more than one finger to work it.

Several models are available (with color choices, too). I use the Prodigy. The pocket-size Nano can do 12 sheets. Mid-size PaperPros can staple 15 or 20 sheets, and two-finger versions can put up to 100 sheets of paper together.

The inspiration for the PaperPro stapler came when company founder/CEO Todd Moses got pissed-off and hurled a jammed stapler against a wall. Out of that frustration came the idea to remake the desktop stapler with mechanical power similar to what's inside the staple guns used by carpenters and telephone installers.

PaperPro staplers are available online and at many office supply dealers, but strangely not at Staples. I got mine at OfficeMax. CLICK for an animated online demo.

The company also uses its one-finger technology in a three-hole paper punch that can go through a dozen sheets of paper.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Saleen S7: no cop can catch it

The Saleen S7, now being drooled over at the New York International Auto Show, can go over 200 miles per hour, and reach 60 MPH in under three seconds.

Its seven-liter 750 horsepower engine and monster brakes can take you from zero to 100 MPH and then back to zero in about 11 seconds; so there's a good chance that a donut-munching cop won't even notice you.

The S7R race version won Sebring in 2001, set a track record at LeMans. and has 50 wins to date. Price for the civilian S7 is $580,000, but you'll probably never have to pay for a speeding ticket -- unless you encounter a rocket-propelled policeman.

Monday, April 2, 2007

On vacation

We'll be away for a bit of relaxation and recharging. New posts will resume on 4/9 (unless I discover something really important before then).

If you miss me, you can read all of the posts on all of my blogs.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Heavy-duty, hard-to-lose Moto cellphone

My wife dropped her silver Razr into a puddle. I lost my black Razr somewhere in North America. Forunately, the wizards at Motorola have come up with a great solution.

Moto's new DynaTAC is tough to lose and tough to break. Weighing in at a hefty 28 ounces, and measuring 10 inches long, it will be very obvious if it's not hanging from your belt.

There's no music, no camera, no Bluetooth, no live video, no distracting animated displays; but if you want something solid and dependable, this is a great choice. Convenient SND and END buttons make it easy to keep track of what you're doing. Built-in memory handles up to 30 speed dial numbers.

Talk time is more than half an hour, so there's plenty of time for important calls before the overnight recharge. You can't get red or silver, but the handsome tan and gray design is classic, and DynaTAC will be at home just about anywhere.

Price is $3,995.