The Gadget Zone: ‘recertified’ computer, MP3 on car radio, rocket launcher for the office

Is your Windows 2000 computer on its last bytes, yet you don’t want to spend a fortune replacing it with something new?

By James Careless –

Is your Windows 2000 computer on its last bytes, yet you don’t want to spend a fortune replacing it with something new? One option is to purchase a ‘recertified’ computer from As the name suggests, ‘recertified’ computers are PCs that have been dinged or damaged, sent back to the factory for a check-up, and are now being offered at a lower than usual price. For instance, at press time had an ASUS Essentio CM1630-03 PC with an Athlon II X2 2.8GHz processor, 4GB DDR3 memory, 640GB hard drive, ATI Radeon 3000 IGP video card and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition for $359.99. That’s $290 off its brand-new price.

At the cheaper end of the scale, a recertified DELL OptiPlex GX280 with an Intel 3.0GHz processor, 1GB DDR2 memory, 40GB hard drive and Windows XP Professional is $164.99 at; a savings of $135 off its normal price. Now this is a Windows XP machine, and it will not support gaming very well. But for web browsing, email and home office work, it should do just fine.

Remember: The actual cost of a recertified computer depends on its capabilities, and they often do not come with monitors. As well, if you do buy a recertified computer, only buy from someone who offers a warranty of some kind. For instance, has a 30 day return policy for recertified computers.

Want to hear your MP3 player’s music on your car radio, with a minimum of hassle? Then consider using a battery-powered FM Transmitter from C. Crane Company ( The FM Transmitter plugs into your MP3 player, smartphone or any other standard mini-plug connector. It then broadcasts the audio over a short distance to your car’s FM radio. You just scan through the FM band first on your radio to find an unused channel. Next, tune the FM Transmitter to that open channel, and presto! Your MP3 player’s music is coming out of your car’s speaker system! This device uses two AA batteries.

Finally, if you need to deal with an annoying co-worker without engendering a lawsuit or criminal charges, get a USB Rocket Launcher from Loaded with three soft foam rockets with a range up to six metres each, this launcher plugs into your computer’s USB port. Once connected, you use its aiming software (included) to rotate, pan and tilt the launcher to the correct firing position. According to ThinkGeek, this launcher has twice the range of its competition – allowing you to win the office foam missile arms race!