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Tim Boxer Senior PET


Jonathan Boxer Junior PET

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Making Instant Pictures

URING the 70s when I covered the superstars of film and stage with my Nikon, I also captured celebrities with my Polaroid, which they were happy to sign (see Polaroid Photo Gallery). Polaroid may be history, but not making instant pictures, thankfully. Fujifilm has stepped into the breach with its FUJIFILM INSTAX 210 instant film camera.

There definitely is a market for instant picturesósummer camp, medical facilities, lawyers, real estate, police activity, party planners as well as consumer enjoyment like you and me.

FUJIFILM INSTAX 210This is not a digital camera; itís a film camera, with an easy grip body. The picture pops up from the top of the camera and starts processing right before your eyes. For a new generation of shutterbugs, itís rather amazing.

The camera is neither sleek nor stylish, but itís the only game in town for its size. It takes four AA batteries, which are included in the package. There is also a removable close-up lens adaptor which can be used for self-portraits.

Functional buttons are on the left side. Press a button and you can shoot portraits from 0.9-3 meters. Press again and you youíre focused from 3 meters to infinity, for shooting crowds or landscapes.

Amazon lists the camera at $65.65 and a two-pack film (20 pictures) at $17.74.

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OR cellphone users who suffer from spotty reception or dropped calls at home, VTech Communications has a remedy. Its new VTECH CONNECT-TO-CELL PHONE AND ANSWERING SYSTEM allows you to make and receive calls cellular calls with the more reliable range of a landline system.

It comes with three handsets, but needs only one jack for the base. Place the other two handsets elsewhere in the home or office. An enhanced feature is the "push-to-talk capability so you can make announcements or have one-on-one conversations with others in the house without shouting. Cool!

VTech phones also offer Voice Announce Caller ID. That means the handset speakerphone broadcasts the name or number of the caller so you can screen the call without running to look at the phone display. Amazing!

Senior vice president Matt Ramage says, "Our goal is to provide products that answer the lifestyle needs of the busy family of five or the sophisticated on-the-go urban dwellers." Nice!

The VTech DS6421-3 phone system MSRP is $99.95. See more at www.vtechphones.com.

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LOGIX iPAD PORTFOLIOEssential Gear When You Leave Home

EFORE leaving on your trip, whether in the country or abroad, do yourself a favor and call Magellanís at 1-800-962-4943 for the latest gear catalog to make your sojourn seamless and comfortable. Or visit www.magellans.com for immediate orders. Hereís a sampling of whatís available.

LOGIX iPAD PORTFOLIO Hereís a versatile carrying case with a carbon fiber exterior finish for your iPad. With your device securely encased, you have easy access to headphone jack and dock connector port. You can power up without taking it out of the case. Use the flap for a vertical or horizontal stand. There are five slots and one large pocket to hold your cards and other paperwork. Itís quite a stylish portfolio for $59.95.

POLAR BROOK POLAR BROOK This Privo brand of a comfortable walking shoe will keep your feet fresh and comfy even at the end of a full day of touring. (I assume youíll be riding as well as walking.) Its Soleassage footbed will keep your feet in fine shape. With no laces or buckles youíll swim right through airport security gates. But a Velcro strap will give you a customized fit. Itís made of leather and mesh, and comes in Black, Gray or Stone. $75.

CAF… COATCAF… COAT Magellanís edition of a lightweight, water resistant coat was made for travel. There are two button-flap front pockets. Carry your valuables inside in two zippered pockets and phone compartment. Fully lined with zip-off hood and drawcord waist. $82.50.

CAMISOLECAMISOLE ExOfficioís "clothing for the adventurous spirit includes womenís underwear like this Camisole, made of lightweight nylon/spandex trimmed with lace. Available in Light Grape, Light Turquoise, Nude or Black. $38.

BRIEFBRIEF Also an ExOfficio special, this essential item comes in the same colors as the Camisole, so no need to repeat. Be assured itís fast drying and moisture wicking and anti-microbial. Only $20.

ON DECK SUN PROTECTION ON DECK SUN PROTECTION The versatile collar can give you full sun protection or open stylishly. The back of the collar can roll up for full neck protection, while the full sleeves shield your arms from the rays. Feels soft and silky. Available in White, Orchid or Black. $54.

FLAT FRONT PANTSFLAT FRONT PANTS A Magellanís design, this flat front microfiber pant boasts invisible a self-tailoring waistband. Comes with five pockets, including a hidden zippered pocket to stash your cash. Wrinkle-resistant microfiber (Poly/viscose/Lycra) at $72.50.

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ARGUS LAP LOUNGE for iPad 2 Getting tired of holding up your iPad 2 in one hand? How about working on it hands free. Targus offers a bean bag-filled cushion that conforms to your lap, or any surface, so you can work sitting up or lying down. Show the boss a whole new meaning of lying down on the job.

There is built-in amplification, redirecting the sound toward you for enhanced listening. A zippered storage pouch in the stand allows for putting away essential accessories such as headphones, cleaning cloths, power adaptors or a stylus. The pouch also stores away a carry handle.

This is especially convenient on the go, whether in a car, train or plane. Makes working on your iPad extremely comfortable. Available for $49.99 at www.targus.com.

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OGELíS ALL-IN-ONE PACK for iPad 2 allows you to mount your tablet almost anywhere you want. Named RingO, this is a wonderful universal tablet mounting system designed and engineered with precision in the Netherlands. Itís already a winner in Europe.

Use Ringo in the kitchen while youíre cooking. How about in the back of the car to enjoy movies, on the wall to show presentations, or on the coffee table to show off your photos.

The aluminum Ringo fits snugly onto the tablet mount. The device frees you to do other things with your hands while watching the screen.

Priced at $119.99, or $81.92 at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=vogel%27s+ringo&x=0&y=0.

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SONGBIRD CLEARWant To Hear Better?

ONGBIRD CLEAR Letís say youíre not deaf, but youíre at a lecture, business meeting, theater or watching TV and you still have difficulty hearing. Help is here. Songbird Clear is a personal sound amplifier based on Texas Instruments technology. It takes one battery (two are included) to make soft sounds better and clearer, and also keep loud sounds from getting distorted. If youíre joining the ranks of the Baby Boomers, youíre probably a candidate for this high-quality enhancement device. In differentiating the new Songbird from conventional hearing aids, Songbird Hearing Inc. notes that the Food and Drug Administration defines a PSAD (personal sound enhancement device) differently than a hearing aid. PSADs differ from hearing aids in that hearing aids are specifically designed to compensate for hearing loss where PSADs are designed to enhance the audio experience. Available for $119.99 at select CVS and Walgreens or CVS website at http://bit.ly/dY5Elz.

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BRAINSTRINGBrain Storming Puzzles

ECENT TOYS is a company based in Amsterdam where owner Guido Lap continues to invent mentally stimulating toys for children of all ages. Among his cutting-edge brainteasers are the following three thought provoking puzzles.

BRAINSTRING Unravel this brainteaser and challenge your brain cells. The object of this plastic sphere is to rearrange the rubber tips to form a solid color on each side. Comes in two versions, Advanced, with more sides and colored tips, for those of you with brains, and Original, for the rest of us. Sounds easy? Knot! See it in action at www.recenttoysusa.com.

MIRRORKAL ESCHERMIRRORKAL ESCHER This item combines five celebrated prints by Dutch artist M.C. Escher. First you remove all blocks from the picture frame. Use your strategic skills to put them back in the frame to create one of his drawings. You can continue playing to create all five Escher drawings. Itís not easy but itís a lot of fun to recreate a piece of art. Itís not so simple as the mirrors will try to fool you.

ICOSOKU ICOSOKU Flex your math muscles with this baby. The idea, if you accept the challenge, is to position the 20 dotted tiles so all the dots around each number button adds up to the number on the yellow button. Itís quite maddening, but lots of funóyou can count on it.

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Have your child save real currency like the adults do, with their personal ATM. First create your own digital access code (so no one else can access your bank). Insert the ATM card and the screen lights up. You press a button and the backlit digital display screen prompts you to deposit a bill or coins. Press another button and it shows how much money is inside. You can press another button and the cash drawer opens so you can make a withdrawal. Just donít lose your ATM card or youíll never be able to open the vaultóexcept with a hammer. Three AA batteries included. Great for children 5 and up to start saving for their college fund. Summit Products, $29.99.

PROFESSOR NOGGINíSPROFESSOR NOGGINíS This female professor is the smartest person in the world, judging by the 38 card games sheís come up with, testing your competence in history, geography, nature, science and every other area of knowledge. Each trivia game has 30 cards, with three easy questions and three hard questions on each card. Roll the dice, pick a card, and if you answer the question correctly you keep the card. Otherwise return it to the bottom of the deck. The person with the most cards wins. This is a game where the kids can have much fun reviewing what they learned at school (or on TV). Priced at $9.99 at www.fatbraintoys.com.

DABBLEDABBLE For ages 10 and up, one of the more interesting products we discovered at the 2011 Toy Fair is a fast thinking word game called Dabble. Made for 2 to 4 players, it comes with 142 lettered and point tiles, a five-tier stadium style racks, sand timer and rules. Itís a challenging game that motivates your brain, improves your spelling and vocabulary skills, and gives you hours of fun in the bargain. Each player selects 20 tiles and rush to spell 5 different wordsóa 2-letter word on the top rack, a 3-letter word on the next rack, a 4-letter word then a 5-letter on the next racks, and a 6-letter word on the bottom rack. Timeís up after 5 minutes. You score points for tiles unused by your opponents. First person to score 100 wins. This game is a winner. It was created by George Weiss of Brooklyn, a grandfather and former wallpaper hanger who is 84. How cool is that! Dabble deserves this yearís 15MinutesMagazine P.E.T. Game of the Year Award from our Product Evaluation Team.

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