Op-Ed

Op-Ed
Team Humidor's Most Coveted Gadgets

Team Humidor | 24 Jan 2008 22:33
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Amazon's Kindle - Russ Pitts
The single most exciting piece of technology I've yet to get my hands on is the Amazon Kindle. Priced about the same as a set of good tires (which I still need to buy), the Kindle, if you read and/or travel, is basically the answer to every prayer you've ever had.

The device is roughly the size of a large paperback book and weighs less than a pound. So if you already carry a book wherever you go, the Kindle won't seem out of place. How it trumps practically ever book ever made, however, it its ability to store over 200 books worth of information and run for up to a week without charging.

The screen, however, is where the Kindle really shines. Or doesn't. The Kindle uses electronic paper technology to display text using minimal power. It's not a backlit LCD, like on a laptop. The Kindle screen doesn't reflect light back into your eyes, so it's easier to stare at for long amounts of time, and some folks claim it's easier on the eyes than regular paper.

But wait, there's more. You can fill the thing with books without ever having to connect it to your computer. From anywhere. And I don't mean "anywhere" as in "wherever there happen to be Wi-Fi hotspots." I mean "anywhere" as in "anywhere." If you can get a cell phone signal, Kindle can connect to Amazon and download new books as close to instantly as matters. And this feature you don't have to pay for. Amazon foots the bill for the wireless internet connectivity. All you pay for is the books. And the Kindle. Which, if you need tires, might have to wait.

Garmin's zumo 550 - Joe Blancato
We all have our expensive hobbies. My motorcycle happens to be mine. While the dudes rolling $40,000 Harleys wouldn't deign to call my erstwhile investment into the road warrior lifestyle anything more than enthusiasm, when I do have cash lying around (and even when I don't) it usually goes into my bike.

Funny thing, though: The Blancato Sense Direction Skill skips generations. Like my grandfather, I can get lost on streets I travel every day. I like to call this "going on adventures." Other people call it "annoying and scary."

That's why the next $1,000 I get is going straight into the Garmin zumo 550 GPS system. This thing is just tops. It's got your maps, your special touch screen designed to pick up gloved fingers, your trip information including gas readouts, your voice prompts, your XM Radio compatibility and even connects your cell phone to your in-helmet speaker system. With this thing, I may never get lost again, but I won't ever want to be found.

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