Gadgets and gizmos

Computer module

Hot Chip Basic Stamps are tiny computers designed to be easily integrated into home electronics projects. These modules include a microprocessor, RAM, ROM, ports, timers and D/A converters in a handy package. You can program them in PBASIC, then solder them onto a circuit board so they add intelligence to your power supply, alarm, lighting system or whatever. The Starter Kit includes one module and all the accessories you need to begin.

Dick Smith Electronics

Price: $135

Phone: (02) 9937 3200

URL: www.dse.com.au

MP3 keyboard

Now you can learn to play a keyboard, then record your tunes directly to the most popular audio format with the BlasterKey MP3 from Creative Labs. This computer-assisted keyboard integrates with the SoundBlaster Live! series of sound cards to provide basic lessons, accompaniment, and much more for the aspiring home musician.

Creative Labs

Price: $219

Phone: (02) 9666 6100

URL: www.australia.creative.com

Linux watch

That pesky penguin is popping up everywhere, and now computing giant IBM has developed a Linux computer so small you can wear it on your wrist. With its 16MB of memory, this mini-machine is more powerful than the average desktop of 10 years ago. If you're geeky enough, you could even get it to tell you the time.

IBM

Price: Not for sale

URL: www.ibm.com

Cassette MP3 player

Now you can upgrade your old portable audio gear to MP3 with the release of the M-Any from Hyun Won. Featuring 32MB of RAM, the cassette-shaped unit can hold 30 minutes of songs, and fits into your ghetto blaster or car stereo, so you can access MP3 music as if playing an ordinary cassette.

BCN Technology

Price: $399

Phone: (02) 9648 0888

URL: www.bcntech.com

Explosion Organ

Described as "the world's only MIDI controlled, propane-powered explosion organ", this instrument makes my kind of music. Having toured Europe, the Large Hot Pipe Organ is just crying out for some visionary and mentally unstable Aussie entrepreneur to bring it to our shores. You can download MP3 files of its unique music at the LHPO Web site.

Large Hot Pipe Organ

Price: Can be hired

URL: www.lhpo.org

Furry screen cover

If you feel oppressed by the stark, straight lines of the beige box in front of you, help is at hand from Gurlsroom. The Fake Fur Computer Cover will turn your 14in monitor into a friendly environment for children and other living things. PC World's team of technical experts is currently attempting to ascertain the function of the "ears" on this item.

Gurlsroom

Price: $19.25 plus $5.45 P&H

Phone: (03) 9646 9973

URL: www.gurlsroom.com.au

Computer key

Here's one way to prevent the sort of embarrassment that seems endemic amongst British government agents, who like to leave laptops full of secret information lying around in taxis and railway stations. The iKey ("i" is computerspeak for "cute and colourful") from PowerLock Solutions plugs into a USB port to enable access to encrypted folders, while denying it to the thieves who've taken your computer.

Microgram

Price: $159

Phone: (02) 4389 8444

URL: www.mgram.com.au

Teleconferencing

No evil plan to dominate the world is complete without a good televideo system with which to remotely instruct and intimidate your minions. The Vision 6000 from Canon addresses this pressing need with its huge 29in colour monitors, remotely steerable cameras and six ISDN lines for stutter-free real time transmission. Of course, you could just use it for business conferences, but that would be a bit boring, wouldn't it?

Canon

Price: Under $60,000

Phone: (02) 9805 2000

URL: www.canon.com.au

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Aldis Ozols

PC World
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