Tools of the Trade

By Phil Borchmann February 28, 2010

We don’t expect more out of a pen than to simply write, but Swann Security has managed to extend the utilitarian instrument’s function in a gee-whiz sort of way. The PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera and Recorder may look like a stylish ball point, but it also captures video through a pinhole lens inconspicuously positioned above the pen’s pocket clip. Pull it apart and inside is a 2GB USB memory stick that can be plugged straight into a PC USB port for easy back-up of up to three hours of recorded video footage at a time. The USB port will recharge the pen’s battery to provide up to 90 minutes of life before it needs to be recharged again. The PenCam records AVI video files that are compatible with Windows XP and Vista. $99.99. Visit to locate online vendors of the product.

Listening to mobile music players usually requires headphones. Or you can try the Tunebug Vibe, which turns flat surfaces, such as your desk, into a speaker. The ultra-portable sound generator connects to MP3 players, laptops and other devices with a 3.5mm jack. The technology lets sound waves pass through surfaces that the Tunebug rests on. 2.3 inches by 1 inch. It includes a LiPoly battery, USB charging cable and 3.5mm audio cable. $69.99.

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