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PERSONAL TECH

OLED fits on your wrist

Oled watch

Gadgets
OLED displays (organic light-emitting diodes) are bright, sharp, and can be made flexible. They can also be expensive. But you can still be the first on your block with an OLED display. For about $100, you can pick up one of the smart looking OLED video watches at ThinkGeek.com.

The 2 gigabyte Video Watch with OLED screen, available in black (pictured here) or with a metallic finish, plays MP3 and WMA music, and has a 128 by 128 OLED display. You can also record wee messages to yourself, Dick Tracy style, through the watch's built-in microphone.

The watch comes with earphones, USB cable, charger, and software for converting your video to run on the device.

Video Games

Portable New York Times puzzles for a bit of diversion

I'm not much of a gamer. With two kids, I can't spend much time and money hiding in my home office, slaying trolls or piloting a ship through some MMORPG. And I am still waiting for the price of the PS3 to come down to what it is worth (no more than the Nintendo Wii).

But I am proud of one particular investment: my Nintendo DS portable gaming system, which I bought on eBay over a year ago. I am not even talking about the DS Lite, but the original, chunkier model, with its dim display screen.

That's because so many of the games for the DS are geared toward folks with only a few minutes at bedtime, perhaps, for a little diversion. (Brain Boost and Brain Age are among of my favorite DS titles, probably because math and puzzles put me to sleep.)

The latest addition to the pile of DS chips on my nightstand is a version of The New York Times Crosswords. The game does something the newsprint version can't: It fills in letters when you get stuck on a word.

Majesco Entertainment ( majescoentertainment.com), which also publishes the Brain Boost titles, Nacho Libre, and Cooking Mama, includes more than 1,000 puzzles in the crosswords game. You can work through them, day by day, with each puzzle (as in the paper) becoming increasingly difficult.

The New York Times Crosswords is much more than a digitized version of the original. You can also change your display themes, hand write your answers on the touch screen, and compete against two other players simultaneously using the DS's wireless connection.

The game has a "Puzzle Me Quick" mode, too, if you are short on time.

Prototype

Samsung device enhances digital television signal, allows it to go mobile


Rooftop antennas and rabbit ears, like clotheslines, are disappearing from American streets as broadcasters prepare to switch over to digital technology by Feb. 17, 2009. That's when you will need a digital converter to use the old boob tube and antenna. On that day, being a cheap son-of-a-gun, I will mourn.

Digital television, however, has its advantages, such as higher resolutions, data broadcasts, and better reception on mobile devices.

Digital mobile TVs (unlike the analog boxes you might recall seeing at the ball park or the racetrack) promise to eliminate static and ghosting. There is just one problem: Mobile TVs will not work if you are mobile.

Samsung may have found a way for commuters to stay tuned in to their programs, even at high speeds. The company has developed a prototype digital TV (the commercial version should be available next year) that remains locked in to a digital signal through a viewing session.

If they adopt A-VSB, a proposed standard Samsung helped develop, broadcasters will also be able to add data casts of local traffic and weather, and viewers can download and store media, according to Samsung.

The Samsung device (pictured here) uses an enhanced digital signal, called A-VSB, which maintains the digital broadcast stream and prevents interference from other wireless devices.

The prototype looks much like a digital media player, but with a telescoping and pivoting antenna -- just like the ones on those vintage portable TVs you can still find on eBay.

Innovative last week

make your vinyl records sound like new


Love your old Duke Ellington records, but hate his special guests, Snap, Crackle, and Pop? The ELP Declicker ( elpdeclicker.com) is a digital device that processes-out the pops caused by dirt and scratches on 33 and 45 rpm records. The company that makes the Declicker, ELP Corp., says the device is less effective with 78s. It also removes clicks and pops, not hiss. The Declicker may be a great way to enjoy and archive vinyl recordings you can't find on CD or in MP3 format. But the Declicker costs $2,500, making it worthwhile only to the most serious collectors.

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