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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

[ Kodak ESP 5 Printer ] [ Pentax Optio M50 ] [ Corel: Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and MediaOne Plus ]
[ Digital Photo Ornament ] [ Magellanís ]
[ The Best of Toy Fair: Playmobil Circus Ring, EyeClops Night Vision, Jishaku, Grandparent Talk, and
Aurora Eco-Plush

This Printerís A Winner

ODAKíS ESP 5 All-in-One Printer, which scans, copies and prints, is designed stylishly to fit into any home dťcor. This is the perfect AiO for home or small office.

The LCD Display is big at 3 inches. The cost for the two ink cartridges is minimal: $10 for black and white and $15 for the color. There are two USB ports and slots for memory cards.

Itís been only a year since Kodak introduced its line of EASYSHARE All-in-One Inkjet Printers and already it has a winner. The ESP 5 is so easy to use. For instance, you donít have to worry about adjusting paper settings. The paper sensors do it for you automatically.

Use Kodak Inkjet paper and it gets easier still. The porous paper dries super fast, and is smudge resistant.

A fine editing feature of the AiO software is its Facial Retouch. Aside from reducing red eye, you can enhance the face with blemish reduction, eye and teeth whitening, and skin tone smoothing. (Not available on the Macintosh.) $169.99.


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Picture Taking Made Easier

ENTAX makes a long line of excellent compact digital cameras. The latest is the Optio M50 which performed extremely well on a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. In landscape mode, all the pictures emerged bright and beautiful.

The 8-megapixel camera has a nice 5X optical zoom lens, equivalent to a 36-189 mm lens in 35 mm format. When shooting portraits, Face Recognition AF&AE kicks in, instantly focusing on faces and automatically setting the proper exposure. As soon as the camera detects a smile Ė poof! Ė it trips the shutter. Thatís Smile Capture for you.

You donít have to fiddle with the mode button to select the right setting. The Optio M50ís Auto Picture mode, with a mind of its own, will choose between Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Normal and Flower and Sports mode. And of course thereís Shake Reduction to help you avoid blurring your shots.

Available in three color choices including silver, light blue and pink for $229.95.


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Creative Side Of Picture Taking

ORELíS Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 makes it quite simple to produce outstanding pictures. This image editing application helps you process, edit, enhance and create. So you see, Adobe is not your only option. And Corel offers an excellent alternative.

When you process you will crop your images, remove red eye, and straighten crooked photos. When editing you will be able to change color, remove unwanted objects, improve faded photos, erase blemishes and brighten smiles. (Your wife will love you and your kids will thank you.)

Enhance your photos by correcting lens distortion, sharpen fuzzy pictures and improve underexposed images. When your images are sharp and ready, you can then add shapes and text, apply art elements, add special effects and produce scrapbook layouts. Great value at $99. Get $20 off at www.corel.com.

MediaOne Plus is Corelís companion application, helping you to go further with your pictures. The big advantage here is getting you to backup your photos automatically online, save your photos and videos to CD or DVD, and combine photos, video clips and music to make slide shows on your television set.

The easy tools allow you to crop, fix red eye, fix flaws, brighten underexposed images, and convert them from color to black and white or sepia. To make creative photos, the templates include hundreds of backdrops, picture tubes, photo frames, and design layouts.

Priced at $39.99 (from $49.99) at www.corel.com.


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Show Off Your Images

OW that you have made magnificent pictures of your family, trip or that special event, what do you do with them? Why not display them in the OVO Digital Photo Viewer.

This unique photo album, with its 1.5 inch screen, packs up to 60 of your pictures to show off as a slide show or stills.

You can hang this viewer as an ornament in your home or office, or use as a tabletop decoration with its detachable stand. It comes with USB cable and software to transfer your photos from your Windows or Mac computer.

The Digital Photo Ornament is $29.95 at www.markfeldstein.com where youíll find many unrivaled gift ideas.


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Todayís Travelers Tools

HEN you make plans to travel, visit www.magellans.com for all your needs of the road. For a durable duffel you canít beat the Load Warrior. It opens like a book for packing and has a zippered laundry section for your dirty clothes. Top, center and bottom handles enable you to grab the bag from any angle. Three sizes: 22 inch, $159; 25 inch, $179 (photo); 30 inch, $199. This large size even has a separate compartment for boots.

To protect your camera and binoculars from thieves, get the CarrySafe Strap. Itís reinforced with stainless steel wire to prevent cut-and-run theft. It has a snatch-proof mechanism to park it around any permanent fixture. Adjustable to 60 inches. $19.85.

Poor leg circulation? Swollen ankles? Magellanís exclusive Non-Binding Socks was made for you. Made of fast-drying polypropylene/nylon with reinforces heel and toes and comfortable cushioning. $19.50.

Another Magellanís exclusive is their Travel Blazer. They come in two choices: Polyester/Wool Hopsack Blazer in wheat or navy (photo) and the Silk/Wool Blazer in blue mini houndstooth, $150 each. These two-button numbers are endowed with five interior pockets (two zippered) to keep your travel documents and wallet secure. Stretch panels in the armholes afford ease of movement. Whatís more, the Teflon coating stands up to wrinkles and resists stains. You travel with ease of mind.

Magellanís Raincoat is waterproof, lightweight and wrinkle resistant. Comes in its own travel pouch Ė which doubles as a pillow! The raincoat, in a four-button style, has three interior security pockets, is fully lined and made of soft polyester. Available in khaki for $79.50.

The quick drying Menís Briefs, in polyester mesh, has a soft plush-back waistband. Comes in black or white for $16.50. Two or more cost $15.50 each.


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The Best of Toy Fair

Playmobilís Circus Ring (No. 4230 in the catalog from www.Playmobil.com) debuts in September for $104.99. Comes with trapeze artists, a ring master, snack vendor and other usual items that populate the Big Top. The circus line offers such add-ons as an Animal Trailer, Baby Elephants, Tightrope Artists, Band, Clown, Animal Trainer, and Dog and Horse acts to expand your basic circus tent. "The circus line opens up new worlds for children who have never been to the circus," Playmobil chief executive officer Andrea Schauer said.

EyeClops Night Vision from Jakks Pacific is a neat night experience for kids 8 and beyond to explore the nightís bounty. Attach these goggles comfortably over your eyes and the rubber straps around your head and youíll never be afraid of the dark again. (Just donít look in the mirror.) The infra-red driven LEDs enables you to become a night person with vision that sees up to 50 feet in completely dark environments. Five AA batteries can power you up for three hours of night crawling. That should get you past any impressionable bouncer at the latest hot night spot. $79.99. www.jakkspacific.com.

Jishaku is the first game launched by Steve Velte who comes armed with a degree in electrical engineering. Boys and girls from 8 up (which includes teens and adults) donít need a degree to enjoy this portable strategy game. The name is Japanese for "magnet." The game comes with 18 magnetic stones and a foam board where the force fields are teased to stay apart or jump together. How you manage that ineraction determines your fate. $19.95. Jump to www.playjishaku.com to see the game in action.

Grandparent Talk expands on the Family Talk game from Around the Table Games. The company has two Family Talk games, which encourage parents to have meaningful discussions with their children by picking up cards with questions such as "What would you change about your school?" Grandparent Talk consists of cards with questions for intergenerational conversations. Itís not just for the dinner table sessions; take the cards wherever you go, to the beach, in the car or on vacation. $10. See more at www.aroundthetablegames.com.

Aurora, renowned for its plush toys and gifts, has produced the worldís first green plush line, Aurora NaturallyO, or Aurora eco-plush. The adorable chimpanzee is an example of the companyís natural plush animals made from soybeans (exterior) and the sustainable rainforest crop called Kapok (stuffing). These handmade (in Indonesia) eco-plush animals range in size from 7.5 inches to 12 inches, costing from $15.99 to $39.99. Available in stores or at San Diego Zooís www.shopzoo.com.


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