Only the Best Earn the PET Seal of Approval from
The 15 Minutes Products Evaluation Team (PET)

Tim Boxer
Senior PET

Johnathan Boxer
Junior PET

[ Norton Internet Security, Norton SystemWorks ]
[ Logitech Harmony Remote ]
[ Logitech Laser Cordless Mouse ] [ Playmobil ] [ Rock Crawler ]
[ Atomic Clock, Soccer Projection Clock ] [ DaVinciís Challenge ]

Symantec Keeps Computer Secure

VERY fall I look for Symantecís releases of new versions of their computer security aids. I donít see how anyone can sit at their desktop without the assurance of smooth sailing they get from Norton Internet Security 2006. You need it to keep your system safe from hackers, spam, viruses and spyware.

You could get Norton Personal Firewall or the Norton AntiVirus with its new antispyware capabilities as standalone security tools. But why would you when you could get the suite, which contains those two solutions as well as Norton Privacy Control, Norton AntiSpam and Norton Parental Control.

Some of the key features: cleans incoming and outgoing email, detects viruses in attachments, notifies you of new threats on the Internet, prevents confidential information being sent without your knowledge, filters out emails with sexual content, lets you block messages in selected foreign languages, and more.

Norton SystemWorks 2006 Premier is an excellent problem solving utility suite, containing such necessary tools as Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack, CheckIt Diagnostics, System Optimizer and Norton Ghost.

In case your system fails, Norton GoBack will restore it to a pre-crash state. Norton Cleanup enables you to remove cookies and temporary files that clutter your disks after Web browsing. Norton Ghost does a lot of new things, including creating new backups on demand with One Button Backup Now.

Both suites list at $69.99 each and are available at

Get Rid Of The Clutter

HROW all those remote controls out the window. With the Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote from Logitech, you have one unit to control your TV, laserdisc player, cable boxes, VCRs, DVD recorders and players, computers and even your lighting and air conditioner.

Itís easy to set up for use. Connect the remote to your Internet-connected computer, answer a few questions from the Set-up Wizard about your watching habits, and youíre connected step by step. The color LCD is easy to see in dim lighting.

You donít need to go through a sequence of buttons to operate the remote. With one press of a button, you send all the commands you need to watch TV or DVD, listen to your CD or radio. Thereís a Help button in case of troubleshooting. The lithium ion battery continually recharges sitting in its cradle.

This is the best universal remote out there. $249.95 at

This Is One Smart Mouse

OGITECH MX610 Laser Cordless Mouse is the worldís first mouse to receive and process wireless communication from the PC thanks to its 2.4 GHz digital cordless technology.

Logitech, first to introduce the laser mouse in March 2004, has gone the distance with its latest innovation. The MX610 tracks more precisely and over a wider variety of surfaces than the typical optical mouse with a red LED.

A mouse sends data to a computer. This mouse, unlike others, is capable of receiving messages from the computer. If you get email, the mouse will let you know with a green light. If you get an instant message, it will light up blue. With a range of up to 30 feet, you can carry the mouse to the water cooler in the office or the fridge at home and still be alerted when a message comes into your computer.

It uses two AA batteries. To save power, the mouse shuts down when you shut the computer down, and it turns back on along with the computer. Again smart. $59.99 at

Playmobil Thrills Junior PET

HEN our Product Evaluation Team set out to inspect Playmobil toys, Johnathan took charge of the task. Playmobil creates playthings that appeal to children and stir their imagination with delight. As Johnathanís daddy is a volunteer fireman, the kid was especially intrigued with Playmobilís wonderful line of fire trucks and fire fighting equipment with a wonderful array of accessories. See them at

The firehouse kept Johnathan occupied (and away from my desktop) on "fire calls." First out of the box was the marvelously constructed Fire Station, Model 3885, with manually operated elevator, fire fighters and loads of equipment. Of course he had to have the Fire Chiefís Car, 3177, which holds two figures in the front seat. Also the Ambulance, 3925, which includes such accessories as a gurney and flashing lights.

The Playmobil catalog is full of other toy lines, such as wilderness playthings. One such is the Tree House, 5746, with a trap door, a hiding place for treasure and a cozy hammock, plus a host of animals. Johnathan loved the imagination play.

Thereís also the Zoo, 3240, a building with enclosures and fences and two zookeepers, a family of four and, naturally, lots of animals.

Speaking of animals, Johnathan was also intrigued by Noahís Ark, 3255. It actually floats. Comes with such accessories as a working crane, storeroom, cages in the hull, sleeping room in the roof and 13 pairs of animals.

15Minutes Recommends

Nylint Rock Crawler affords hours of fun for the young crowd eight and up. The four-band radio control will climb steep hills and the toughest terrain. Two versions of this four-wheel drive are available: Jeep Wrangler and Scorpion MKI, at for MSRP $199. Equipped with aired down tires, loaded with high torque, and 12 volt battery and charger plus user manual. You can order eplacement parts. See more at

Honeywell Atomic Table Clock RC182W gives you the time plus indoor temperature, date, and alarm with snooze. LED backlight makes for nighttime viewing. $24.99. Soccer Projection Clock PC04 is a great item for the sports minded. Has an hourly chime function, LED backlight and AC/DC adapter for continuous projection on the ceiling or wall. Sure to be a hit with the kids. $19.99 at

DaVinciís Challenge revives the ancient game of secret symbols. As they say, itíll take minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. In other words, youíre never to old to play this classic strategy game. Place oval and triangle pieces on the board to form nine different patterns, or secret symbols. The more complex the pattern, the higher the score. $25.

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