The next new thing


Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 1:13 a.m.

If you have only one phone line at home and want to avoid missing calls while you're surfing the Web, International Electronics says its Catch-A-Call device is for you.

Catch-A-Call will alert you when someone calls your number while you are online. You then have the option of ignoring the call and letting it roll over to voice mail or answering the call while putting your online session on hold temporarily.

Catch-A-Call is a simple small box that works in conjunction with your call waiting service. Without call waiting, the device will not work.

To use Catch-A-Call, install two AA batteries and attach it to your computer modem and phone line.

If a call comes in while you are connected to the Internet, the Catch-A-Call rings and flashes a red light. If you have caller ID, the identity of the caller will be displayed on your phone or other caller ID device.

At that point you can answer the phone and your Internet connection will be automatically put on hold for 25 seconds.

If you're on the phone longer than 25 seconds, your Internet service provider may cut your connection. All you have to do is press the ``refresh'' or ``reconnect'' button on your browser to continue where you left off online.

Catch-A-Call sells for $49.95 and is available through many retailers. Call (888) 679-7994 or visit www.catchacall.com.

Power-saver for handhelds

Tired of running down the battery on your hand-held organizer every time you need to use the backlight to check a phone number or an appointment?

The Belkin penlight stylus shines a bright light onto the screen of your hand-held, often eliminating the need to use the standard backlight.

The stylus, which is $14 at www.belkin.com, does not use much power itself. You can expect 15 hours of continuous light from its replaceable battery ($4 at the Belkin site).

Turn your PC into a recorder

Personal video recorders like TiVo are continuing their march into the living rooms of the land, but for TV fans who have nice big hard drives on their computers, the PC can become a personal video recorder itself.

An all-in-one kit from Pinnacle Systems, PCTV Deluxe, makes it possible for viewers to record programs on their laptops or desktop computers and watch them whenever they want.

PCTV Deluxe sells for $200.

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