The Gadget Zone. 3 cool items to warm you up!

bluetoothDo you ever need to take a scanner with you, to copy documents into your laptop? If so, then check out the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100. About the size of an baguette (but only 11′ long), the uber-small S1100 can scan a full colour letter-sized page in 7.5 seconds, and it works with either a Mac or PC. The $199 unit comes with software for organizing business card and document scans, and can even scan documents directly into Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint (using its included ABBYY FineReader optical character recognition program). This is a very capable yet highly portable scanner; details at www.fujitsu.com.

I just got a new BlackBerry Curve 8530 for Christmas – thank you, Koodo, for having the best plan I could find – only to discover that my Bluetooth headset’s wired-in battery was dead. No problem: Jabra has come out with a Bluetooth headset called the Jabra STONE2. This is a U-shaped device that curls around your ear; there’s no microphone sticking out to get in your way. It also comes with a small battery-equipped carrying case. When you’re not using the Jabra STONE2, the case recharges the headset. But that’s not all by a long shot: The $129.99 STONE2 responds to voice commands (‘Call Home, ‘Answer’, ‘Ignore’), can tell you who’s calling, send text messages using voice, update your Facebook page by voice, and read your email to you. More at www.jabra.com.

Finally, I make my living by typing words on a keyboard. As a result, having a reliable, well-built keyboard matters to me. I prefer wired keyboards, since I can’t afford to have my batteries die while I’m on deadline. Well, right now, I am typing this on a Microsoft Wired Desktop 600 Keyboard/Mouse. For $29.95, it comes with a quiet, spill-resistant QWERTY keyboard with nice cushioning on the keys, a built-in Calculator Hot Key (it brings a calculator up on the screen, which you can then punch into using the number keys), and an optical wired mouse with Scroll Wheel (for zipping up and down pages). This keyboard just plugged right into my PC and worked; no hassle. Plus the Caps Lock key has been shaped to make it less likely that I will hit it when I am trying to hit Shift – THUS PREVENTING ME FROM SHOUTING WHEN I TYPE. (Ahem.) You can find out more about this set at www.microsoft.com/hardware. This is a good deal at twice the price. I should know; I go through a lot of keyboards.

James Careless is a veteran consumer tech reporter, whose stories have been seen in the National Post, Globe and Mail, and Toronto Star.

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