Tech Tools

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2004

Ultimate Swiss Army Knife

That old favorite, the Swiss Army knife, has joined the computer age, and the result is the SWISSMEMORY USB Victorinox. With this device, you can file your nails and then file your computer data. That's right. Just plug the knife into your computer and transfer data back and forth. The all-in-one knife has a USB memory stick, a knife blade, a nail file, a screwdriver, scissors, a key ring, a red laser pointing light and a retractable ballpoint pen. Yours for $68.95. Just don't take it aboard a commercial airliner. Demand for the SWISSMEMORY USB Victorinox is high. Order yours online at

Electronic Paper

Dutch electronics firm Phillips Electronics has developed a display system that utilizes a flexible screen that pulls out from a cylinder roughly the size of a small flashlight. The thin, reusable five-inch screen can download contents from wired or wireless sources. MIT's Nicholas Negroponte, author of Being Digital, predicts the flexible screen will eventually replace paper and ink.

The first model shown by Phillips is monochrome, fine for text but with limited appeal in today's multi-color, multimedia world. Paperback novels seem the best application at the moment. Magazines and newspapers are next in line. Phillips plans a 2005 introduction and has set first-year sales at one million units. No price has been set.

Paul Simonetti, 1-212-536-0892 

Golfers' Friend 

Lightning strikes, and kills, more people in Florida than in most other parts of the world. StrikeAlert could change that. A cigarette lighter-sized device that detects lightning storms up to 40 miles away, StrikeAlert beeps a warning and tracks the storm with blinking LED lights. It's powered by a single battery and works best outdoors, away from computers and other electronic equipment. It retails for $79.99. On the Web:

PDA On Steroids 

Your whole business life-your contact list, your appointments, your company's accounts-is in your personal digital assistant. What if you drop it? That's why you need the TDS Recon. Yellow with black rubber corners, it looks like something a Navy Seal would carry. One tester dropped the TDS Recon onto a concrete floor 26 time, put it in the freezer and left it in a sink of water. It never stopped playing Mozart's Symphony No. 9 out of its little speakers. The TDS Recon was designed for and meets military specifications, but you can own one for $1,499. On the Web:

Cell Phone Couture 

Vivienne Westwood, the grand dame of U.K. fashion, has put her designing touch on ugly cell phones and the result is a limited edition Motorola V600 that is ooh-la-la gorgeous. This one won't be hidden away in a purse. At least, not for long. Flash it around. It can even take pictures of that hideous outfit you-know-who was wearing last night. Now they'll believe you. The Westwood Motorola model is $548, but, alas, only 99 will be made and all will be sold in her stores in England and Italy. Of course, if you're headed that way on business...

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