Reviews by Tim Boxer
| LEXMARK X75 PrinTrio
| Norton Internet Security, Norton Firewall, Norton SystemWorks
| Xbox Excitement
| Visual Communicator
| Proverbial Wisdom; Spy Alley
| INsecurity Blanket
| Barricade Plus Cable/DSL Broadband Router
| Your Best Bet for One Machine
That Prints, Scans and Copies
EXMARK X75 PrinTrio is so compact you can have it on your desk right next to your monitor. This handy multifunction unit delivers high quality printing, scanning and copying. Yes, you can have it all for your individual needs. Perfect for home use or small office.
With 2400 x 1200 dpi on all types of paper, you get crisp text and great pictures. Yes, it takes all kinds of paper: plain, inkjet, photo, labels, envelopes, index cards, greeting cards…well, you get the picture. A variety of paper sizes, too, such as letter, legal, index, postcard, and so on.
With its Integrated Photo Editing Software, you can do simple editing, such as cropping and resizing, plus red-eye removal. It automatically adjusts to print out in wallet size, 3x5, 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10.
It’s also a flatbed scanner, so you can scan from books, reports and other bulky material.
In addition the X75 PrinTrio is perfect for your light copying needs in both black & white and color. You can reduce or enlarge images from 25 to 400 percent.
Wait, there’s more. PrinTrio also works as a PC fax machine, both color and mono.
There is a display that alerts you to the amount of ink remaining in the black and color cartridges. This way you have ample time to obtain replacement cartridges before you run out completely.
The unit is listed at $149. Color cartridge is $34.97, black $27.97. More information at www.lexmark.com.
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| Safeguard Your Computer
Against Internet Threats
HERE are 166 million people in the U.S. with home Internet access. A whopping 97 percent are vulnerable to hackers, viruses and other attacks. There are more than 30,000 websites that will tell you how to break into computers. The average spammer sends 250,000 junk emails each day.
Frightening? You bet! So what can you do to protect yourself from such dangers?
Best thing to do is get these latest releases for computer security from Symantec:
NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2003 includes Norton AntiVirus 2003 that automatically removes not only viruses but also Trojan horses and worms. It also cleans Instant Messaging attachments.
The product also has Norton Personal Firewall 2003 for intrusion detection. This technology identifies and blocks malicious activity caused by such threats as Nimda and Code Red worms. (Ugh!)
That’s not all. This 2003 version of the popular suite adds something new: Norton Spam Alert. Here’s the solution to terminate those get-rich-quick junk mail. This allows you to filter out annoying spam email. It detects spam and flags it as such in the subject field. You can direct it to automatically file spam messages in a specified folder. Or else simply tell Norton to delete them. That’s what I do.
Of course it has Norton Personal Firewall to automatically block Internet attacks. An Alert Assistant helps you choose the best course of action.
It also includes Norton Privacy Control, to prevent confidential information from being sent out without your knowing, and Norton Parental Control, which blocks access to those websites that you determine as unsuitable for your children.
Price $69.95 from www.symantec.com.
NORTON PERSONAL FIREWALL 2003 If you all you want is a product that will automatically control inbound and outbound Internet connections, examine the content for attacks, and prevent confidential information from being sent through email and attachments, then this is what you want. Price $49.95. But why settle for less. You can have it all, and moiré, with Norton Internet Security 2003!
NORTON SYSTEMWORKS 2003 has it all: Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, Norton CleanSweep, and GoBack Personal Edition by Roxio. Plus web tools to clean up Internet clutter by deleting unneeded files left over from Internet sessions, including cookies, cached files and history logs. It’s awesome! Price $49.95 from www.symantec.com.
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| More Xbox Excitement
BOX players can get their NFL fever fix with a new DVD called NFL Fever 2003. This is the first title to appear on Xbox Live, the new broadband gaming experience from Microsoft Game Studios. Gamers around the world are now able to challenge and communicate with each other to determine the real champion of NFL Fever 2003. Price $49.99. A few of the features included:
A custom uniform and player editor.
Updated NFL rosters, schedules, depth charts, etc.
Defensive hot routes.
A new broadcast team of Kevin Calabro and Ron Pitts.
An expanded post-game reel.
WHACKED! is an Xbox DVD where “eight demented contestants” compete in the “world’s most irreverent and dangerous game show.” If that doesn’t get your juices flowing, nothing will. Microsoft promises fun and wacky experiences with bizarre characters, multiple gameplay modes, highly detailed levels, a vast array of weapons and power-ups, and more Xbox Live enabled features. Price $49.99.
| BLINX: The Time Sweeper is an adorable feline character that purrs in the 4th dimension – time. With time on your side, this latest Xbox title will give you hours of fast-paced action in warped worlds as you help Blinx recover Time Crystals and fight Time Monsters. Blinx is on a mission to control the flow of time while trying to save a princess in distress. Are you up to it? Price $49.99.
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| New Way to Communicate
OW you can create and share videos that have the polished look of a TV broadcast. With Visual Communicator from Serious Magic, Inc., you can create professional looking video messages or presentations in just minutes using your webcam or camcorder – without the pain of video editing.
By compressing the video files, with the built-in Windows Media Series, you can share them immediately via email, websites, company networks or video CDs and PowerPoint.
Visual Communicator is listed at $99.95. An enhanced version, Visual Communicator Plus, at $149.95, also includes V-Screen material to achieve green-screen effects on any wall, plus a clip-on microphone to provide the audio clarity of a TV broadcast. Visit www.seriousmagic for more information.
You can easily achieve the same effect that newscasters get. They stand in front of a green-screen, but what you see on your TV is a newscaster in front of a map, a weather chart or other compelling background.
You can do the same by putting the 6’x 5’ foldable V-Screen behind you, then selecting any image or video clip for your background. The allows you to superimpose yourself over a digital image or video.
What Visual Communicator does is give you a video that has the polished look of a network TV broadcast. This is great for the home, school or business.
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| Fun for Long
ERE are a couple of suggestions to make those long winter nights more enjoyable. They also make great gifts for the holidays.
PROVERBIAL WISDOM tests your knowledge of ordinary sayings and proverbs, such as “variety is the spice of life.” The game challenges four to sixteen players, ages ten and up, to sketch a proverb for teammates to guess, choose the correct meaning or origin of a proverb, or guess what proverb is represented by a pre-drawn picture. Players have sixty seconds to perform!
Included in the hefty box are game board, 170 sketch pads, 170 picture cards, 170 definition cards, an answer/instruction booklet, timer, die, score pad, pencil and four playing pieces.
Should you order now? Well, when opportunity knocks, strike while the iron is hot, put your best foot forward and don't look a gift horse in the mouth!
This is one game, at $29.95, that’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys, so buy from www.amazon.com.
SPY ALLEY is a game of suspense and intrigue. It has to be, or it’s not worthy of the name. A worthy pursuit for two to six spies ages eight and over. Ever since Mata Hari, spies have continued to stir the imagination. With the release of Eddie Murphy’s I Spy and the new James Bond flick, Die Another Day, Spy Alley will prove to be a winner this season.
In this role playing game, players create their own world of secrecy, utilizing body language and deceptive spy strategy.
You’ll be surprised how difficult it is to deceive your friends. A slip of the tongue, the blink of an eye, the twitch of a muscle may give your identity away, and your goose is cooked.
The first spy to complete his mission or the last to retain his identity wins the game.
The box contains a game board, 6 game markers, die, 6 identification cards, 40 free gift cards, 36 move cards, 6 spy score cards, 144 pegs, and play money.
Price $29.95. Order at www.amazon.com.
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| A Security Blankie
For the Rest of Us
UST in time for the winter holiday season comes a unique idea from David Avalos. To cope with the stress and strain of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, he offers us the INsecurity Blanket. Why should only your three-year-old be able to snuggle up with his blankie and feel secure and safe from the rest of the world?
We need a comfort zone, too, don’t we?
That’s not all. Avalos has come up with ancillary items to complement your blanket. There is the INsecurity Pillow to match the blanket, INsecurity Bears, and the ultimate comfort food – INsecurity Chocolates.
The INsecurity line is available at high-end stores. The perfect gift suggestion for any occasion, but especially for kids starting college, a recent breakup, first-time parents, or any other such milestone.
The INsecurity line can be purchased at www.insecurityblanket.com, at 1-866-no-doubt and at fine gift stores all over the USA.
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| Connect More Computers
MC Networks has a Broadband Router to connect two or more computers to your external cable or DSL modem. This is a perfect solution for the home office or small business.
The Barricade Plus Cable/DSL Broadband Router (SMC7004FW) allows a single broadband Internet connection to be used by multiple computers.
This platform independent multifunction router combines a 4-port 10/100 Mbps dual-speed switch, robust Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) support into one convenient device.
The SPI firewall protects against hacker invasions, such as denial of service attacks. Parents or business owners can block certain websites by entering either a URL address or just a keyword of the website.
Est. cost $159 at retailers.
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