Keep in Touch

Communicating with the family waiting at home has always been one of the difficulties over-the-road drivers face. But with the growing popularity of cell phones, laptops and other gadgets, the gap between home and the road is getting smaller and smaller. These fun gizmos can make that lonely night in a faraway state pass a little easier.

Look, No Hands!
There’s no need to grope around the passenger seat with one hand while trying to steer with the other. Keep that cell phone in a handy, easy-to-reach spot with the new Strap Caddy, which attaches to the seatbelt or a shoulder bag. It’s a 4-inch by 5-inch, wallet-sized wrap that holds your phone under a non-slip band. It also allows the driver to talk hands-free using a speakerphone or earpiece. The product line is expanding to include college team logos, professional sports teams, Swarovski Crystal designs, fraternities and more. You can buy it for $12.99 from www.strapcaddy.com or (240) 461-5228.

Now You See Me
Communicate face-to-face even from the road. With Logitech’s QuickCam Messenger WebCam and its included software, you can send videos of yourself to your loved ones via e-mail, instant messages or websites. Get another WebCam for home, and they can send you videos, too. The WebCam can be purchased for about $50 from electronics stores.

What’s That Sound?
Jazz up your phone conversations or outgoing messages with the Razz Sound F/X Engine by PhoneBites. It lets you insert famous movie lines, cartoon characters’ voices or funny noises while talking on your mobile phone. You can also use it to enhance voicemail and outgoing messages. The RAZZ Headset, a hands-free unit that comes preloaded with 10 entertaining sounds, is available at the Sprint PCS website and other retailers for around $20. PhoneBites is now developing Studio RAZZ, a portable online library of premium, generic and user-created proprietary sound bytes. Consumers will be able to download content and continuously refresh their sound libraries.

All in One
What if you could check your e-mail and talk on the phone with the same device? With the latest cell phone/PDAs, you can. The RIM Blackberry 7230 lets you wirelessly read e-mail, make phone calls, browse the Internet and keep track of your schedule without having to worry about dialing-in to get online. The high-resolution 240×160 display supports more than 65,000 colors, and integrated attachment viewing lets you read Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect and Adobe PDF files with ease. The Blackberry also features a QWERTY keyboard and a Trackwheel brand thumb-operated trackwheel for ease of navigation. It’s like a laptop you can fit in your pocket. The Blackberry is available for around $250 with a service contract, and Amazon.com is offering a $150 rebate until Oct.10.

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