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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

[ Pentax K100D ] [ Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 Suite ]
[ Crumpler Bags, iTurbo, ZooLight Parrot Pen, Lightload Beach Towel ]

This Oneís For You

OME cameras promise a shake reduction (SR) feature but the Pentax K100D really delivers. This is crucial when youíre using a zoom lens or taking pictures indoors or in low light. Itís also a good thing that the SR mechanism is activated only when you press the shutter release, so itís light on battery consumption.

This entry-level digital SLR digital camera comes with 6.1 megapixels, which is fine for making prints up to 8x10 size.

The rear-mounted LCD monitor is a big bright 2.5 inches. Shooting information is shown on a top-mounted LCD status display as well as in the viewfinder. Choosing your settings in the menu is very easy.

Some companies are now in the habit of selling you their items and refraining from including any type of printed operating manual. They force you to download instructions from their website. That means you pay more for the item as you print out the instructions, using up paper and ink, which are costly.

I give Pentax credit for bucking the trend. What I really like about Pentax is that their product comes with a userís manual, a booklet that I find infinitely useful. And for that I am truly grateful.

There is even a second booklet covering the software, the Pentax Photo Browser 3 for viewing, printing and managing your pictures, and the Pentax Photo Laboratory 3 for use with photos recorded in RAW format.

Furthermore the instruction booklets are written in understandable English. Another foreign manufacturer sent a camera with a manual which, although composed in English, was hard to follow. It was not grammar that I learned in school. It was grammar of a person who just got off the boat.

With an 18-55MM lens, the K100D is flying off the shelf for less than $600 (you may find it at $550). More information at www.pentaximaging.com.


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Gotta Have It

OU canít live without Roxio, when making a backup copy of a CD or DVD or creating a home movie with music and special effects.

Now Roxio has come out with the next edition of Easy Media Creator 9 Suite and of course itís compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista. Roxioís new and improved version enables you to transfer music to your iPod or cell phone, move your images from your cell phone to PC, make photo postcards, instantly capture Internet radio and music, easily rename incorrectly tagged song files, send ringtones from your music library to your cell phone, archive songs and background artwork and lots more such as Blu-ray Disc (BD) recording.

You need Easy Media Creatorís Media Import to import all kinds of files, from photos to video and audio. Use Media Manager to organize your files in folders and albums, and save them on CDs or DVDs. Priced at $99.99 but you can get rebates. See more at www.roxio.com.

The user guide booklet is 252 pages long and quite informative. However if youíre a newbie you may want to get some help from Roxio Easy Media Creator 8 for Dummies (Wiley, $21.99 Amazon.com Price: $14.95 ).


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Bag It And Carry It

Tís the Crumpler philosophy. The bag manufacturing company, based in Brooklyn, has invested its catalogue with a Brooklyn attitude for its products:

"The first thing you have to know about life is that itís tough to be a bag. Youíve gotta carry everyoneís load. Youíre always hanginí around. You get kicked under tables when youíre down. Thatís why Crumpler bags are made to get you from first to finish through all lifeís rites of passage."

Two Crumpler bags will carry you through the day. The Considerable Embarrassment laptop bag fits 12-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch laptops plus accessories. Made with water resistant nylon shell, it has a padded compartment with a sex-pocket organizer. Available in three sizes and seven colors. $85.

The 6 Million Dollar Home (the Crumplers have a sense of humor) is fully padded to protect your photo and video equipment. Itís a handsome bag to tote around, and very well made. Has external mesh pockets, internal side pockets, flexible dividers, carry handle plus removable shoulder strap. $105.50.

See these and all other items at www.crumplerbags.com.

iTurbo solves the problem when your iPod battery is low or dead. Simply whip out your iTurbo portable charger from you backpack, shoulder bag, briefcase or pocket and give it a temporary boost. With one AA battery, your iTurbo will afford several hours of additional playtime. Price $19.95 at www.iturbocharge.com.

ZooLight Parrot Pen is a pen and voice recorder combo. Press the button on the back and record a message. Press the toggle on the back and the parrot opens its mouth to reveal a red LED light and speak your message. The end of the tail is a pen. Fun gift for kids ages 5 and up. Available for under $10 at www.toyvisions.com.

Lightload Beach Towel is a multipurpose towel, small enough to fit in your pocket or backpack and handy on the beach, in the car or while traveling. A must for beach bums, the 5-ounce lightweight towel unfolds to a size 3 feet by 5 feet. Price $6.50. The smaller size pack towel expands to 12 inches by 24 inches and costs $2. More information at www.ultralighttowels.com.

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