Only the Best Earn the PET Seal of Approval from
The 15 Minutes
Product Evaluation Team

Tim Boxer, Senior PET (Product Evaluation Team), Recommends The Most Wonderful Games, Gear and Gadgets for Home and Office!

Magellan’s Travel Wares Alex Furniture for Kids
AlphaSmart Word Processor Patriot Challenge
SMC Wireless Router Truth? Or Fib?
Gaucho Silver Edition Phonics Tiles

Essential Items To Take
With You On Vacation

AGELLAN’S latest catalog offers quite a few essential items that will make your traveling experience a joy. To obtain their Early Spring Reference Edition call 800 962-4943 or visit These are some of the products I plan to take along on my trip to Costa Rica this month.

Meridian Hardside Luggage by Delsey is a delight to lug around. The four rotation wheels allow for multi-directional rolling. It’s a breeze to roll this suitcase through the long winding check-in lines. Constructed with an aluminum frame that’s lightweight, it’s quite secure with one combination lock and two numbered key locks. Inside there’s a full padded lining for extra protection. Available in sizes 25” ($179) and 30” ($199) in black or red. I opted for the bold red so it could easily spot it on the baggage carousel.

Silver Travel Box is an elegant looking business card holder (or for your credit cards) that’s made of German silverplate. Quite classy! Small box is $24.85; large is $26.85.

Toothettes are disposable toothbrushes that you use without water. Your saliva activate the mint-tasting dentifrice in the foam head. Great for overnight flights (and for kids at slumber parties)! 20 to a pack for $4.85.

Micro-Zoom Binoculars is a handy item for any traveler. At the flick of a lever you go from 7 to 21 power. The ruby colored lenses protect your eyes from infrared and UV rays. If you wear eyeglasses, you can roll down the eyecups for a better fit. Small enough to fit in your pocket. Includes lens cap, handsome case, neck strap and cleaning cloth. $99.

Travel Sentry Certified Locks are special locks for your baggage that satisfy security concerns of the Transportation Security Administration. If airport officers need to examine the contents of your bags, they can use secured tools that won’t damage these locks. You set the four easy to read dials, which come in black or yellow. Set of two for $19.85.

Rain Boots are especially useful in foul weather. These fit over shoes and sneakers, and adjust with Velcro fasteners. Black only, $24.85.


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Taking notes on an AlphaSmart

Best Idea Since Sliced Bread

O matter how many computers you have – and I also have a standard electronic typewriter – you can’t do without the AlphaSmart 3000 laptop word processor. For a journalist (or student or executive) this is a must-have product.

For most of my life I’d rely on my reporter’s notepad to scribble my notes, and then try to decipher my handwriting when I typed the notes into my computer.

With the innovative Alpha Smart, an enhanced typewriter that I carry with me everywhere, I eliminate that tedious step of typing the notes into the computer.

I do interviews and cover events, lectures and conferences – typing (and editing) my notes directly into the AlphaSmart. Later, with the USB cable, I press “send” and upload the contents right into my computer for formatting, editing, printing or emailing.

Of course, you can also print directly from the AlphaSmart. You can get 300 to 700 hours on three AA Alkaline batteries. The LCD display screen gives you four lines of text.

There are many different cables, upgrade kits and other accessories to make your work even more easier.

It is a terrific time-saver, wonderfully convenient, which I wished I had ages ago. I never leave home without it. It is a permanent part of my shoulder bag, along with my camera.

AlphaSmart is based in Las Gatos, California. See more at


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Use Multiple Computers
With A Single Modem

OR increased speed in home networking, your choice has to be the Barricade g 2.4GHz 54 Mbps Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband Router (SMC 2804WBR, $140). Get it if you want the freedom to roam with your laptop from room to room while connected to another computer. It’s ideal for home and SOHO users.

At SMC Networks recommendation, I (that is, we) first put in an EZ Connect g 2.4GHz 54 Mbps Wireless PCI Card (SMC2802W).

Then we installed the high-performance Barricade g router. You may want to refer to the EZ 3-click installation program.

At the rear of the unit are the power jack, reset switch and a WAN port to connect to your cable or DSL modem. Now you can surf the Internet on two or more computers from the one modem.

Connect your USB printer to the router’s built-in print server and you’ll share the printer with other computers.

You can connect to your network up to 1155 feet. But if you replace the two detachable antennas with SMC high-gain antennas, you’ll increase the coverage considerably.


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Ultimate Car For Kids

HE battery powered Gaucho Silver Edition, biggest and best of children’s riding vehicles from Peg Perego, got raves from our junior PETs. With 18-month-old Johnathan anxious to ride, Devora took over the driver’s seat and off they went.

Equipped with on/off foot pedal and automatic brake, the vehicle zooms two-and-a-half or five miles per hour on dirt or grass.

The Gaucho Silver Edition boasts a hood-mounted toolbox, simulated leather seat covers, adjustable rearview mirrors and seatbelts. Daddy’s auto doesn’t have all that.

There’s even a simulated CB radio, a working horn and glove compartment. It’s the supreme toy for children. Made in the United States for $430.


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Top-Rated Items From ALEX

OHNATHAN’S very own desk is called, appropriately, My First Desk, for children ages 3 and above. Our junior PET isn’t even 2 yet, but he loves his first desk. Durable construction and quite stylish, indeed.

The kid keeps his papers and books on the chalkboard for intense coloring activity. There is also a recessed cup to hold crayons and supplies.

There is plenty of storage space under the seat, as well as a colorful hanging bag in the back of the chair.

Easy to assemble for either right or left-handed children. Suggested price $70.

Prism Light Center With Legs is a superior hardwood table that delighted our PET Myriam. She had loads of fun constructing various figures and vehicles with the Prism Bricks. Turn on the table light and the building blocks radiate with dazzling color.

Two casters at one end of the table allow you to move it effortlessly from room to room. At the other end, attached to the handle, is a roll of tracing paper for drawing exercises.

This advanced light table, beautifully assembled, for children ages 2 and up, has a suggested price of $550.

The Prism Bricks Deluxe Kit contains 84 pieces, plus 2 figures and 2 chassis, at a suggested price of $30.

These unique designs come from Nurit and Rick Amdur of Northvale, New Jersey. They founded ALEX toys, named for their son, some 16 years ago, and have built an excellent reputation with their high quality toys for upscale clients. See more at


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Learn The Facts
Before You Post

O wonder the U.S. Postal Service is promoting The Patriot Challenge on its website ( This all-American game is the first to feature the colorful art of the U.S. stamp collection.

This new board game tests your knowledge of historical events and American culture. It is entertaining and educational at the same time.

Each of the 650 cards is illustrated with a postage stamp. You’re asked a question relevant to that particular stamp. Example: Chubby Checker made this dance and song famous in the 1950s. Name it. You get bonus points if you can get up and demonstrate  the answer.

If you pick a card with a stamp depicting the state of Georgia, the question would be: “One of our Presidents was a peanut farmer from this state. Who is he?” A second question on the card: “You might say this state has an obsession with a fruit which it grows along the Atlantic coast. What fruit is it?”

Lots of fun for families and children in classrooms, ages 10 and above.

For more information visit


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Telling Little Lies

OW good are you at telling the truth? Truth? Or Fib? ($24.95) is a fun game that will test your ability at truth telling and fabricating. Roll the dice to determine which way to go. Pick from the 600 cards to answer questions truthfully or make up a story.

Players build their scores by betting tokens on whether they think their opponents are telling the truth or a fib.

The game is packaged in a small tin lunch box so you can play anywhere you please. The game will even appear in a Stephen Baldwin movie, In My Sleep.

For more information, visit


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Learning By Phonics

EUROSMITH, an innovative company that develops “smart toys for developing minds,” offers an item that helps pre-school children play with letters and make words—accompanied by suitable sound and songs.

Phonics Tiles is a fun way for younger ones to learn letters, while older ones learn the rules of phonics. They all learn to make words with correct spelling.

They’re so sure your kids will love learning to read with Phonics Tiles that Neurosmith guarantees satisfaction or your money back within six months.

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