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Coolness Roundup 2005, Part II

More summer fun to enhance the quality of your life By Charlie White

By popular demand, we bring you our annual Coolness Roundup, your guide to summer fun and relaxation, where all types of products and services are fair game, and where the name of the game is quality-of-life improvement. Here youll find devices and doodads that will enhance your summer vacation, and add a little fun to your leisure time activities. In part II of this years roundup, we venture even farther afield, tipping you off to the summers finest gadgets, tools, accessories and entertainments, all listed here with the sole purpose of making your life better.

Macs on Intel
Well, this was a shocking development. Even though you wont see the fruits of the merger of Mac with Intel processors for another couple of years, finally the economies of scale of the Wintel world will trickle down into the glorious Mac OS X. Its about time. Even though the Mac PR-meisters told us over and over again that the G5 processors under the hood of the Mac are faster, better, shinier, and whatever, those of us in the know who actually test these things knew this to be slightly exaggerated. Now, the two platforms, Mac and PC, will be able to compete on the merits of their operating systems alone. Hallelujah.

Serious Magic
Heres one of those companies that makes you think they have access to a time machine, where they travel forward in time and steal only the best ideas from the future. One of their bright ideas is DV Rack, which lets you use a garden-variety notebook computer to record DV?and now HDV footage?directly to disk. Another standout is the companys new version of Ultra, software which lets you create chromakeys that are more sophisticated than that of software packages costing thousands of dollars more. Next, anticipating trends as it always does, the company invents Vlog It!, a software package that blazes the trail in an entirely new software category that supports the Vlog, or video Web log. Hats off to this forward-looking company that makes miracles using nothing but the most serious magic.

Speaking of hats, heres a favorite of ours, the Lenzcap. Its a baseball cap for your head and a cap for your camcorders lens all in one. If youre a vid-warrior, youll like this great-looking water-resistant hat, which features a special cape that shields your neck from the hot sun during those desert survival shoots, and conveniently located inside a secret pocket in that cape is a special lens-cleaning cloth. The best part of this unique invention is the drawstring that lets you use that cape to cover your lens in case of rain or the occasional sandstorm. This is an indispensable tool for those network camera operators on a deadline or dont have much room in their gadget bag for superfluous items. Its also great for the weekend vid-warrior who sometimes runs into adverse weather conditions, a sandy beach or a stiff wind. 

MontBlanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen
Heres a classic piece of technology that would make a great gift for that special someone in your life. Its a ballpoint pen that, yes, costs $200, but its built to last decades. My favorite is in a color Montblanc calls ?bordeaux its actually burgundy with gold trim a pen Ive had for the past 20 years. Its ultra-smooth twist-to-extend mechanism is second to none, and its considerable heft lets you know that youre holding in your hand a quality object. Sure, carrying around a $200 pen is a risky proposition if youre someone who loses a pen every single day, but then, I was a person like that 20 years ago, until I got this pen. An interesting concept comes into play when you are in possession of such an exquisite object: If you think something is valuable, youll be more careful with it and hold onto it. Put this first-class writing tool in your shirt pocket, and it feels (and looks) like a luxurious piece of jewelry.

Omron Walking Style Pedometer
If youre a gadget aficionado or a vid-kid, you might spend more time in a stationary position than you would like. The Omron Walking Style Pedometer ($20) is a great motivator, a pocket-sized trinket that will accurately measure how far you walk during the day. Youd be surprised how many steps you take just hanging around the office or puttering around the house. But then, the grand goal of many pedometer users is that golden benchmark: 10,000 steps per day. This highly accurate pedometer will let you know if youve hit that goal, and also tells you how many calories you've expended on the way. It measures the mileage covered, and allows you to look back at your statistics for the previous seven days as well. Its $20 price is a cost-effective investment in your overall health.

Go Daddy
After gawking at Go Daddys Super Bowl commercial featuring large breasts and pointed satire of the U.S. Congress, like the pathetic sheep that we are, we wandered over to the companys Web site, wondering what all the commotion was about. Sure enough, theres a great deal at Go Daddy, where the company will not only host your Web site for a bargain price, but offers you first-rate tech support 24 hours a day. Some of us around here arent that literate with starting up a Web site from scratch, and the excellent support staff at Go Daddy were always there waiting for us any time we called, and with no waiting. Theyll host your site or transfer your domain name, and then they make it all easy for you. Who knew putting together your own web site could be this painless? Bravo. 

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Related Keywords:Coolness Roundup, guide, summer fun, relaxation, products, quality-of-life improvement, devices, doodads, summer vacation, fun, leisure time activities, gadgets, tools, accessories, entertainments, making your life better, Charlie White


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