I do have two fears: Without my cell phone screen, I don't know any phone numbers, and I rely on caller ID to screen incoming calls. The cost is $199 for a black rotary phone or $299 for a red one.

-- Elaine Rundle, staff writer 

AmpliVox S450

Are you unhappy about who was elected president? The AmpliVox S450 Presidential Plus wireless lectern allows you to have your own debate. The lectern - available in a mahogany or oak cabinet - features a wireless receiver and built-in amplifier so up to two presenters can use a handheld headset or lapel mic. The system includes additional jacks for auxiliary components like CD players. Suggested retail price is $1,500.

I've always aspired to be a college professor, and this lectern can make my dream come true. If only there were a roomful of students for sale.

-- Matt Williams, assistant editor

Fallout 3

CIOs, public safety officials and technologists - especially the younger ones - play video games, right? One game stands apart from the glut of big-budget titles released in time for the holiday season: Fallout 3, an action/role-playing adventure from Bethesda Softworks set in an apocalyptic Washington, D.C.

As the main character, you emerge from the nuclear fallout shelter in which you've spent your life and are thrust into a vast, dangerous, radioactive wasteland. It promises more than 100 hours of game play in a unique blend of first-person shooter and standard role-playing game. Though you can shoot a pink teddy bear out of a bazooka, it's not for the faint of heart (or kids); there's plenty of blood and gore. Retail price is $59.99.

-- Matt Williams, assistant editor

Wireless Vehicle Detectors

Kudos to Arizona for recognizing the hazards of the speedsters and tailgaters present on our highways and doing something about it. Gov. Janet Napolitano recently announced a statewide system of red light and speed cameras both mobile and at fixed locations. The announcement came after a nine-month pilot program that was shown to reduce speeds by 9 mph, cut accidents by 63 percent and reduce injuries by 48 percent.

With a dearth of California Highway Patrol officers patrolling Highway 50 where I travel to and from work, (they're all scrambling to respond to accidents during commute hours) I would welcome fixed cameras on highway overpasses.

Wireless vehicle detectors can be easily installed on the highway and would undoubtedly change the habits of those hurried, caffeine-charged commuters in the morning. It would cut down on road rage and keep me out of trouble with the wife, who has forbid me from showing off my middle finger on the highway.

-- Jim McKay, justice and public safety editor


Alcohol Ignition Interlock

Several months ago, just miles from my residence, a man left a bar after a multiple-martini lunch and proceeded down a quiet neighborhood street at a clip exceeding 65 mph. Unfortunately a car with two elderly occupants got in his way. The collision killed both occupants.

Police tried to give the man a breathalyzer test, but he refused so they took him into custody and forcibly tested him for alcohol. He was measured at twice the legal limit and had been convicted previously of drunk driving. 

The alcohol ignition interlock is a breath test device linked to a vehicle's ignition system. A driver can't start the vehicle until he blows into the device. And if he's been drinking, he's stuck; the car won't start. These devices are underused, and if our drunk driver had been required to have one those, two dead residents would be alive.

-- Jim McKay, justice and public safety editor

BlackBerry Pearl SmartPhone

I'm terrible at managing my schedule and would benefit from the BlackBerry's highly usable calendar function and full keypad. It's too bad Verizon requires BlackBerry users to subscribe to data packages adding from $39.99 to $59.99 to their phone bill each month. I'll just stick with the crappy calendar on my current phone.

-- Andy Opsahl, features editor

Garmin nüvi 260 Portable GPS

I have a pitiful sense of direction and rely heavily on printed driving instructions. A portable GPS system would be a critical asset in my car. Hopefully it won't have an annoying voice.

-- Andy Opsahl, features editor

Panasonic 150-inch Plasma HDTV

Benjamin Franklin once said "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." While I couldn't agree more, I'd like to amend Franklin's adage to "Beer and 150-inch plasma TVs ..." I saw this majestic beast in person at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It's inconceivably huge. Sadly the only model currently available for retail is the puny 108-inch screen. Pfft. Sorry, but from now on I'm only interested in TVs that are 12 feet or longer corner-to-corner.

-- Chad Vander Veen, associate editor


By the time you read this, I'll be doing only one of three things: working, watching after my 7-month-old or playing LittleBIGPlanet on the PlayStation 3. As I write this, the game has not yet been released. But it's already being hailed as a genuine revolution in gaming. LBP, as we nerds refer to it, lets users create entire digital worlds on the fly using highly intuitive controls. These worlds can be uploaded and shared on the PlayStation network. Even my wife is excited for this game. Don't take my word for it. See for yourself.

-- Chad Vander Veen, associate editor

TV on the Go

The ARCHOS 7 Media Tablet would let me download and watch films, and surf the Web. I could record from cable channels to the tablet and the TV snap-on would let me watch digital fee channels from the tablet wherever I want. I'd opt for the 320 GB, which the company says will store up to 400 movies, 3.2 million photos or 190,000 songs. The tablet has Internet and e-mail capability via a Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) connection. The screen is a 800x480-pixel, 7-inch TFT LCD. It measures 7.48x4.33x0.629 inches, and weighs 23 ounces so it should be easy to pack along.

-- Miriam Jones, chief copy editor

Soft Feel Sandy Gold

That's the official color of the Nissan Nuvu concept car, which debuted at the Paris Motor Show in October. Much of the interior consists of recycled or organic materials, such as wood fibers and rubber from car tires is used for the flooring - making this a feel-good car to assuage the environmentalist in me. The Nuvu is electric, with small solar panels on top its roof feeding the battery via a "tree trunk" inside the car. A quick battery charge takes 10 to 20 minutes, and a full charge takes three to four hours. The zero emissions car has two regular seats plus one in the back that can be folded down. It's about 10 feet long, and looks cozy, i.e., small, but that doesn't deter me from wanting one. See photos at Auto Report.

-- Miriam Jones, chief copy editor