Tech Toys

By Hannah Wallace June 30, 2004


The cell phone may be headed in the direction of the disposable camera this fall when 7-Eleven starts selling a cell-phone-to-go amid the Slurpees. The ubiquitous corner store with six-million daily shoppers will become the first retailer of prepaid wireless service. You'll be able to pick up a $50 or $90 Nokia phone and prepaid cards costing 20 cents a minute-no service contract required. Each phone comes with its own unique number.


If you're a real fan of MP3 music and you want the highest fidelity sound available on the go, then say hello to Ultimate Ears' UE-10 Pro. In order to buy this, you must first visit an audiologist and have moldings made of your inner ears. These will be used to make a perfect-fitting pair of "ear monitors," as the company calls them. Ultimate Ears proclaims the UE-10 Pro ear monitor the most accurate earpiece on earth. Better have a great MP3 collection. The UE-10 Pro is $900.


Remember Sarasota resident Joe Marx? His passion for photographic art produced from the tiniest of cameras made him famous as "The Master of the Minox" back in the Sixties. The Minox was no bigger than a cigarette lighter and used special film to take negatives. Marx did his own printing in his Sarasota home. Now, Sony has introduced a Minox-sized digital camera, the Qualia 016. Images are stored on a Memory Stick Duo. It comes with a variety of attachments, from wide-angle lenses to a flash unit. Price: $3,200.


It began as the contraption of a tailgater fond of Iowa State football games. First, he built a gizmo that dispensed beer. Then his tailgate buddies asked if maybe it would mix drinks. So, using parts from an old toy train set and a remote control device, Jay Lueck built a computer-controlled, fully automatic drink dispenser that contains recipes for 2,000 mixed drinks. Cost? About $400 in parts, not counting the laptop computer that stores the recipes. Interest has been so high that the Lazy Drinker could be on the market as soon as this fall's football season.

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