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Product Evaluation Team

Tim Boxer, Senior PET (Product Evaluation Team), Recommends The Most Wonderful Toys, Games And Products For The Holiday Gift-Giving Season!

Concord Digital Camera Shelcore Toys
Paint Shop Power Suite WordXchange
Diskeeper 8.0 ThinkFun Games

Sleek Camera For Great Shots

ONCORD’S Eye-Q 3040AF is a sleek palm-size 3.1 megapixel digital camera that I found really handy during my trips to Stockholm and the Dominican Republic.

The all glass auto focus lens makes for sharp pictures and allows for enlargements up to 11x14.

It comes with 7 MB of internal memory, plus an SD/MMC card for more storage.

The package contains a CD-ROM with photo editing software, user’s manual and quick start guide, a USB cable, TV cable, Alkaline AA batteries, a camera pouch and wrist strap.

Suggested price is $129.99. See more at


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Powerful And Sweet

ASC Software’s Paint Shop Power Suite Photo Edition is quite a powerful collection for digital photographers seeking professional results. The software consists of the following:

Paint Shop Pro 8 is a fantastic photo and graphics editor.

Paint Shop Photo Album 4 gets your photos from camera to computer in two clicks, then lets you fix them with one click. You can burn photos on a CD to watch on your TV with a DVD player. You can also crop and add text to the bottom of the prints.

Paint Shop Xtras lets you add textures and patterns to your photos as well embellish them with picture tubes and frames.

Paint Shop Creations is a free booklet included in the box. It will help you take better pictures and produce countless photo projects.

Paint Shop Power Suite Photo Edition is available for only $149 at


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Keep Your Computer Humming

OU won’t have to worry about sluggish performance when you have Diskeeper 8.0 installed in your computer. This latest upgrade from Executive Software will defragment your computer automatically without your realizing it.

Every time you install a program or save files to your hard drive, files are fragmented to make room. Pretty soon you notice that speed is an issue. You wonder why your computer is taking its time.

Actually it’s time to defragment. Executive Software claims built-in defragmenters can’t keep up with its  Diskeeper 8. “It’s the fastest…automatic defragmenter ever built.” Who are we to argue?

Our geek PET highly recommends every computer have this defrag scheduled to run at regular intervals. Your computer will thank you for it by running faster.

Order on CD-ROM for $34.95 or download for $29.95 at


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Sights And Sounds

HELCORE TOYS have two items in the stores that will surely delight yolur one-year-old child. I found the Shakin’ Carnival Playset ($24.99) so delightful that I had to play along with Johnathan, our 17-month-old chief PET.

This seven-piece toy caravan brings into the home the sights and sounds of the American tradition of the carnival.

Press the driver’s head and hear the engine start. As the car travels for 10 feet the ringmaster shakes from side to side, and the two animals spin on the carousel. Then the car stops and Let It Shine plays.

The other item Johnathan found full of fun is the Sort ‘N Shake Dump Truck ($14.99).

Press the driver’s head and you’ll hear the deep ignition, idling sounds and truck horn. Then the wheels begin to turn and the truck goes forward. It comes to a stop after six feet of travel, with airbrake and horn sounds in the air.


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Having Fun While Learning

URN off the TV, gather the kids, and open WordXchange for loads of fun and give your brain some exercise at the same time. This exercise combines language expansion with entertainment as your increase your logic skills.

In this game for 2 to 6 players, the object is to steal words by adding at least one letter to any word in front of an opposing player and rearrange the letters into a new word. Be the first to complete six words and you win.

WordXchange for ages 10 and up retails for $24.99. WordXchange Junior for ages 5 and up is also $24.99. See more at


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Mind Challenging

HINKFUN of Alexandria, Virginia, is a creative company that offers unique mind challenging games that continues to delight our PETs. Although the target audience is the crucial 8-12 age, all the adults on the Product Evaluation Team (PET) found these games highly stimulating. See more at

River Crossing is a perilous plank puzzle where you guide a hiker cross a river teeming with gators and snakes. Move the planks among the tree stumps and help your man cross to safety. Priced at $14.99.

Smart Mouth is a quick thinking game for 2 or more players. A Letter Getter slides out two letter tiles. Players have to be quick to shout out a word that begins and ends with those two letters. Winner keeps the tiles. When all tiles have been played, the person with the most tiles is declared the winner. Nice word game. Price $14.99.

Zingo, for 2 to 8 players 4 years an up, is promoted as Bingo with a zing. You get 8 double-sided cards (with 9 pictures on each side), 72 picture tiles and 1 Zingo Zinger. Dealer pops two tiles at a time out of the Zingo Zinger, and first player to claim a tile that matches a picture on his card, places that tile on his card. As soon as you fill up all the pictures on your card, you’re a winner.

Oodles of Doodles, for 3 or more players ages 12 and up, has you doodling according to various categories. Game comes with 400 doodle categories, cardholder, 90-second timer, score card, doodle board, marker and eraser.

Aha! Brainteaser Classics for ages 8 to adult is a collection of eight perplexing brainteaser puzzles. Trying to solve them will absolutely baffle you, but when you solve them, it’s an Aha! Moment in your life. Don’t worry, each puzzle comes with an instruction card and three hint cards. Price $19.99 and worth it.

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