The Gadget Zone with three cool consumer tech ideas!

By James Careless –

Uber-sexy: There’s no other way to describe the new Samsung Series 9 ultra-thin laptop computer. Made of Duralumin, which is typically used in advanced aircraft and is twice as tough as aluminum, the Series 9 weighs less than 3 pounds. Yet it has an HD 13.3′ LED-backlit screen, second generation Intel CoreTM i5 processor (1.40 GHz, 3MB; turbo up to 2.3 GHz), Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) or Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) operating system, 4GB DDR3 memory, up to a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD), 3 watt (1.5W x 2) stereo speakers and 1.5 watt sub-woofer, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. Learn more at

Truly useful: That’s the CC Observer wind-up AM/FM/Weather band radio made by C. Crane Company ( Based on the Grundig FR200, the CC Observer takes all of the FR200’s features and improves them. For one thing, the flashlight has been moved from the front panel to the side, so that you can use it without getting light in your eyes. For another, the CC Observer has better AM reception; a big priority for C. Crane owner and AM afficionado Bob Crane. Add the CC Observer’s ability to be powered using its hand-cranked generator, rechargeable batteries, or AC current, and you have a radio that works when everything else doesn’t. The CC Observer even comes with charging adaptors for a number of cellphones and PDAs, to juice them up when the power is down.

Have you ever had to look somewhere where you can’t? Like under a pipe 2″ above the floor at the back of the kitchen sink, inside a drain, or within some other impossibly confined space? Well, I have, which is why I am delighted to have found the Handheld Video Inspection Camera from This is a battery-powered (4 AAs) video borescope: The handheld unit has a small LED screen (with TV recorder output) connected to a camera built into this device’s 35″ flexible gooseneck. Inside, by the lens, are two LEDs that illuminate whatever you are looking at. So you just stick the flexible gooseneck into wherever you need to look, and the Video Inspection Camera shows you what’s there on its screen. Too incredibly cool!