Maximum Cool


Imagine a jukebox that will fit in your shirt pocket. That’s the Ipod, Apple Computer’s sleek digital music player. The newest incarnation will hold up to 10,000 MP3 songs and can be plugged into your truck’s stereo or strapped to your arm. It weighs a mere 5.6 ounces and is thinner than two stacked CDs. Apple offers 40-, 20- and 10-GB models, starting at $299. It works with PCs and Macintoshes and will let you take that Faron Young collection wherever you are.

Apple Ipod
Cost: $499 for the 40-gig model

Imagine you had un-limited bucks to shop for the latest gadgets to stock your cab. What would make life on the road better?

We’ve done some shopping for electronic items every trucker could use. We paid particular attention to practical items. Well, we didn’t really consider practicality that much, but we did consider items with a high-tech edge and jaw-dropping features.

Prices range from about $100 for an e-mail device to thousands for a laptop. But every hard-working trucker deserves a nice gift during the holiday season. And who said being cool was cheap?

Meet the next generation of cell phones: They sing, they dance, they even take pictures. (Before long, they’ll be driving your truck.) Oh, yeah, you can make phone calls on them, too. How you justify the “multimedia” features of the Sony Ericsson P800 multimedia phone – digital camera, MP3 music player, Web browser and video game player – is up to you. For starters, you could photograph crazy four-wheelers and roadside attractions. Just be sure you’re not driving.

Sony Ericsson P800
Cost: $650


Your new cell phone won’t be nearly as cool, though, if you don’t buy a Bluetooth Headset HBH-60. The wireless headset allows you to make or take a call via voice command without being plugged into your phone. It works up to 10 meters away, which means the phone can be in your sleeper and you can still make a call.

Bluetooth Headset HBH-60
Cost: $150


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The new Toughbook CF-29 from Panasonic might not survive if dropped from your cab while you’re doing 60 mph, but it is designed to take more abuse than most truckers dish out. The laptop features a low-voltage 1.2GHz Pentium M CPU with 1MB on-die L2 cache, 256MB DDR-SDRAM, 40GB hardened hard drive and shock-and-vibration-dampened 13.3-inch XGA outdoor-readable display. It resists dust, dirt and even some drops. It also includes an integrated support for the wireless Internet service that’s spreading to truck stops nationwide, Bluetooth and the Global Positioning System.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-29
Cost: $4,000


No cell phone truly reigns over the road without a signal amplifier. The TotalPower 200, a dual-band cellular amplifier from National Cellular, reduces signal fades and dropped calls while increasing the range of your phone up to 60 miles from a cell tower. The amplifier includes an external antenna and a 12-volt power adaptor.

TotalPower 200
Cost: $399


Imagine if you could get e-mail anywhere there’s a phone. That’s the idea behind PocketMail, a service that lets users send and receive e-mail via any phone. Users type and read their mail on the PocketMail Composer, a slim PDA with built-in speaker and receiver. Hold the device to a phone and press a button, and e-mail is yours. Best of all, you can now receive load information through an agreement with Internet Truckstop.

PocketMail Composer and Service
Cost: $99; $9.95 to $16.95 a month.


Tired of following bad directions or squinting at outdated paper maps to figure out where you are? Then fire up your laptop and plug in DeLorme’s Earthmate GPS to track your truck’s progress on the company’s Street Atlas USA maps. The package can keep even the most directionally-challenged driver on course.

DeLorme Earthmate GPS
Cost: $129.95 (includes Street Atlas USA 2004 CD-ROM)


If you can’t tear yourself away from that DVD, take the movie with you. That’s the premise behind the G2G Mobile DVD, a portable DVD player with 7-inch swiveling color LCD screen. Take it in to the truck stop or set it up in your sleeper. The player features a remote control, speakers and a carrying case. It weighs 6 pounds.

G2G Mobile DVD
Cost: $400


The latest generation of handheld computers isn’t exactly your father’s digital organizer. Where you once asked how small or how functional a personal data assistant was, now you ask whether your cell phone has a PDA or whether your PDA has a cell phone. The Palm Tungsten W is one of the latter, combining cellular service with standard palmtop features such as calendars, address books, wireless e-mail, games and to-do lists. The Tungsten W allows you to tap into lots of e-mail addresses and edit spreadsheets and word processing documents. The Palm also has a built-in thumb keyboard and allows you to surf the Web.

Palm Tungsten W
Cost: $419

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