Only the Best Earn
PET Seal of Approval
Product Evaluation Team

Reviews by Tim Boxer, Senior PET

Visioneer One-Touch Scanner SpongeBob Toy Chest
Symantec Security Suites First Years Care Kit and First Years Toilet Training
Black & Decker Pivot Plus Drill Timeless Treasures Clock
Old Century Tabletop Pinball Games Play/Learn Magnet School
SquashBlox Cranium
Break The Safe

PET Approves Visioneer

ISIONEER has added a new ultra fast scanner to their great Slimline series. A winner in every way, the new One Touch 9320 USB is a color flatbed scanner with a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface for rapid performance. The USB 2.0 is compatible with USB 1.1 ports.

“We are entering an exciting time,” said president Murray Dennis, when technology can allow us to introduce a 3200 dpi scanner for only $150 when several years ago, pre-press scanners at this resolution were selling for thousands.”

Now that’s progress. The 9320 also accommodates slides and film, one at a time. You can thus store your old negatives at the scanner’s high 3200 x 6400 optical resolution.

If you’re a novice, you’ll find the One Touch 9320 extremely easy to use. The five buttons—scan copy, OCR, email, custom task—are pre-configured at optimal tasks so you can start to work immediately. Just pressing one button does the job.

The scanner is bundled with ScanSoft’s PaperPort 8.0 SE with TextBridge OCR to scan printed text into your word processor.

Also included is ArcSoft’s PhotoImpression 3.0 is a wonderful editing and design program allowing you to retouch photos, add special effects, and place photos in cards, calendars, frames and templates.

Order at


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PET Recommends Symantec

HE 15 Minutes Magazine Product Evaluation Team (PET) has been a faithful user of Norton Internet Security Professional. So when Symantec released its 2004 version, we were eager upgrade. This is an absolute must for small office and home office.

We were especially pleased to find that not only does this suite provide AntiVirus, Personal Firewall, Intrusion Detection, Parental Control and Privacy Control, but it also protects against spam, the bane of our computer existence.

So while your congressmen are fiddling with antispam legislation, take matters in your own hands and protect yourself with Norton AntiSpam, a new addition to the outstanding menu of Norton Internet Security, offering expanded protection against spyware and unwelcome email.

Integrating with Outlook and Outlook Express, Norton effectively filters unwanted email. By highlighting spam email and clicking “This is spam,” Norton will block future email originating from those addresses.  Instead Norton dumps that stuff into a separate folder so your Inbox will no longer be overloaded with unwanted spam.

At your leisure you can look into that spam-filled file, rescue any email that you decide isn’t spam after all, and delete all the rest. All the spam is sent to the Delete folder, where you may terminate them forever.

Installing Norton Internet Security 2004 is a snap. We installed it over the 2003 edition of the suite, using previous settings, so we didn’t have to configure from scratch.

Estimated retail price is $69.95 at

PET also installed Norton System Works 2004 which includes AntiVirus, Utilities, GoBack, CleanSweep and the new Password Manager to safeguard privacy and security.

Norton Utilities monitors your PC and fixes potential problems, while GoBack restores system after a crisis, and CleanSweep improves PC performance by deleting unneeded files. Essential tools for your peace of mind.

In addition, the suite contains a couple of extra tools for the Web. Web Cleanup eliminates temporary cache files and cookies, and Connection Keep Alive prevents dial-up Internet sessions from timing out by simulating online activity during periods of nonuse.

Estimate retail price is $69.95 at

Norton AntiSpam 2004 is available as a stand-alone to protect your computer against spam and lurkware (non-virus security threats such as spyware, adware and keystroke loggers). It even stops annoying banner ads and other nuisances off your screen.

When you get those pesky unwanted email from porno merchants and pill purveyors, you simply highlight them and click on “This Is Spam.” Norton will stop future email from those addresses from appearing in your inbox.

If you’re curious, you can go to the “Antispam folder” and see all the unwanted spam. If there’s nothing you want to open, then just press “Empty The Spam Folder” and it’s all gone.

Norton AntiVirus 2004 has expanded threat detection capabilities to protect against spyware and keystroke logging programs for an estimated price of $49.95. For users of Windows 2000/XP you have added protection from viruses lurking in compressed files.

Norton AntiVirus 2004 Professional includes more protection features to ensure the integrity and safety of data.

There is a data recovery component to restore files damaged or accidentally deleted. Also a data-cleaning tool that digitally shreds deliberately deleted files. If you have more than one PC, you will find a two-computer license. Estimated price is $69.95.


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Measure, Mark And Drill

LACK & DECKER’s Pivot Plus Drill/Driver is an all-in-one drill and screwdriver that is heartily PET approved. Members of our Product Evaluation Team found the 6-volt cordless, 3-position drill and screwdriver, and built-in tape measure and light, a wonderful handy power tool for home and office.

Small enough to store in the kitchen drawer, the Pivot Plus will help you decorate your room as you measure the area, mark it and drill holes and drive screws. You can hang pictures and install blinds and perform other such tasks.

The 2-gear box gives you low speed for screw driving and high speed for drilling. Rubber grips on the handle enable you to hold the drill in comfort.

A light in the front will illuminate a dark area so you can see that the screw goes into the right spot on the wall. There’s even a 5-foot tape measure that snaps into the handle.

The drill comes with a two-year warranty. Priced at $29.99, it is available in major home centers and at


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Games That Play Forever

ORGET Solitaire. To relax, I’ve taken to playing pinball style baseball. Get Old Century Baseball and see if you don’t become addicted. It’s more than fun—I find it downright soothing and calming.

Enjoy America’s favorite pastime your round with this collector’s quality tabletop pinball game.

Use the flipper bat to score singles, doubles, triples and homeruns. Keep a detailed record of stats with the enclosed scorecards and scorebook. Track the game in progress with the movable scoreboard knobs.

Crafted from aged woods, producing an archival quality game without batteries or electronic parts, Old Century Baseball is one coffee table item you will be proud to display.

Available for $129.95 at Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us. More information at

Old Century Pinball Golf is another wonderful coffee table quality game from the same company, Front Porch Classics of Seattle. Guaranteed fun for everyone, from grandchildren to grandparents, and not just golf enthusiasts. It will keep you entertained for hours. No batteries needed. Artfully crafted of aged wood, priced at $99.95.

Old Century Dread Pirate, rich in detail and history, offers pirate battles, buried treasure, mutinies and gold doubloons. Create your own pirate legacy. Plunder gold and jewels from your opponents and hide them on a desert island.  Price for this high seas treasure hunting is $99.95, and well worth it for the enjoyment it brings to the whole family.


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Johnathan in SquashBlox

Squish The SquashBlox

QUASHBLOX is a new concept in block building. It needs no batteries, no plugs – just add child! Kids of all ages can safely erect fences, castles, forts, tunnels, chairs and other fun things with these high quality colorful fabric cushions. Each of the cushions attach together with fold-away Velcro flaps.

Johnathan, our chief PET, had so much fun he wouldn’t let me near the construction cushions, which are soft to the touch.

These machine washable building blocks, similar to couch cushions, come in different packs. You can start with the Builder Set #180 consisting of eight 16-inch squares plus two decorative accessories in a carrying case for $60, from Mongo Toys.

By adding any number of theme sets at additional cost, you can build any number of exciting constructs such as the Train Theme Kit and the Castle Theme Kit, at $20 each, or the Rocket Theme Kit and Animal Theme Kit, at $15 each.

See more at


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Saving The World

AN you save the world in 30 minutes? With deft teamwork, cooperating and communicating with each other, you can sneak into the evil guy’s complex and extract his doomsday plans from his safe, thereby stopping the evil one from wrecking havoc on the world.

Break The Safe, Mattel’s new board game, is geared for 2-4 players, age 8 and up. This is an activity that’s more social, less violent, and allows people to spend more time with friends and family, rather than in front of a solitary TV or monitor.

This game, according to vice president Phil Jackson, lets families have fun as they “communicate, work together toward a common goal—all in 30 minutes. It also teaches the kids that whether they win or lose, their family is always on their side.” Now that’s worth $19.99, don’t you think?


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Dive Into The Box

HIS year Delta Enterprise introduced a new children’s furniture collection depicting Nickelodeon characters such as SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues.

The toddler furniture line includes beds, table and chair sets, dressers, easels, coat racks, step stools and more.

Chief PET Johnathan, all of 16 months, is thrilled with his SpongeBob Squarepants Toy Chest with its hinged safety lid.

For more information on the Toy Chest, priced at $79.99, and many other children’s furniture visit


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Going To Pot

HE First Years is a company that specializes in creating toys for the early years and products that aid the first years of parenthood. Two such items have been eagerly approved by the 15Minutes Product Evaluation Team (PET).

The Essentials Care Kit contains such baby basics as a digital thermometer, medicine dropper for easy dispensing, nasal aspirator to clear a congested nose with pullout plug for thorough cleaning, baby nail clippers plus four fine emery boards to smooth tiny nails, an emergency card to list medical information, and even a handy rattle to keep your baby entertained.

It all comes in a zippered case for home storage or handy for on the road use. Priced at $11.99.

Consulting with doctors of the Child Development Unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston, The First Years group has produced a 3-in-1 Toilet Training System that is highly recommended.

The 3-in-1 consists of a lift-out pot that a child can remove and empty, a trainer seat with easy-grasp handles that fist standard toilet seats, and a base that converts to a step stool, to enable him to reach the bathroom sink.

This system will guide your child to true toileting independence. Includes a Toilet Training Guide for parents. Available for $19.99 at J.C. Penney, Sears and Rite-Aid. More information at


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Memories By The Hour

ARK FELDSTEIN has created a Timeless Treasures Clock that’s truly unique. Instead of numbers for the hour, you can put in photos of loved ones.

As if that’s not unique enough, he has set each hour to announce a personal message which you record. You can record a child’s first word, a friend’s greetings, or sounds from a special event. The possibilities are endless.

Imagine – at the top of every hour you hear a lovely personal recorded message. You need five AA batteries. Priced at $34.95 at


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Start School Early

ARENTS Magazine’s Play + Learn Magnet School will help your toddler (18 months and up) learn numbers and letters. The case, shaped like a li’l red schoolhouse, holds 36 magnets shaped like numbers and letters.

The li’l ones will enjoy matching the chunky rounded numbers and letters to the 26 sturdy puzzle cards, thereby learning the sequence of numbers and letters of the alphabet.

The magnets are strong enough to hold your child’s creations on the fridge.


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Game Of The Year

RANIUM is billed as the game for your whole brain. The Toy Industry Association last year named it the 2002 Game of the Year. 15Minutes awards it the PET Seal of Approval.

It’s the fun party game that brings teens and adults together through 14 different activities. They afford an opportunity for aspiring actors, artists and wordsmiths to shine.

Cranium encourages you to sketch, sculpt, act and whistle in order to win. Get it for $34.95 at

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