The next new thing


Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 10:09 p.m.

Nuisance zapper

Call a house using the TeleZapper and you'll hear the three shrill tones of a disconnected number before the person picks up.
If you're a human calling, it's mildly annoying. If you're a telemarketer reaching my number through a computerized "predictive dialer," it's a clever ruse to get you to leave that person alone.
The tones are produced by the $40 TeleZapper, a cigar-shaped cylinder that clicks into your phone line. It's technology's way of telling telemarketers to get lost.

More songs on a single CD

As digital audio players grow in storage capacity, a trade-off is emerging. Less time spent switching storage media could mean more time poring over which songs will make the larger cut.
SonicBlue's RioVolt SP350 is among a new crop of digital music players that can play standard CDs as well as MP3 and WMA files that have been burned onto a disc.
Because the Windows Media Audio format yields MP3-quality sound at half the file size, RioVolt users can pack more than 24 hours' worth of WMA music files onto a standard 650-megabyte CD.
The RioVolt SP350 sells for $180 on SonicBlue's Web site at www.sonicblue.com.

Laser rifle

NEC has just the thing for marksmen who would rather avoid loud noises and hot metal. A subsidiary of the Japanese electronics giant NEC Custom Technica has introduced a civilian version of the laser rifle, which allows target shooting anywhere, anytime.
The rifle, which emits an infrared laser beam, was developed at the behest of the Japan Olympic Committee, which wanted to promote sport shooting and to reduce the use of lead bullets.
When the rifle is pointed at the target - a small cube that sits on a tripod and is plugged into a computer - your aim is shown on the monitor. Scores are tabulated after every shot.
The results can be posted online so that teachers can check your work remotely. You can even hold virtual tournaments with competitors who also have the rifles and their Windows-compatible software.
At $3,330, the rifle and target are not cheap.

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