GADGET MOUSE

We’re enchanted by a $25 mouse from Satechi. It glows in different colors, cycling through red, green, blue, lime green, purple, turquoise, and silver. Looks very space age. If you’ve got a favorite color, push a button on the back to lock it in. It works well and feels smooth, so color us gadget happy.

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NIGHT LIGHT

Bob just loves flashlights, so we got a “Champ 2-in-1 Nightlight Flashlight, ” which is a combination flashlight and motion sensor. Plug it in and it lights up when someone walks by. Unplug it and it’s a flashlight. It has three LEDs, so it’s bright but lasts long. We saw it at discounters like Amazon for $20. What can we say – we like gadgets.

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MIRRORING THE MESSAGE

If you’ve got a classroom full of kiddies, you don’t have to buy them all their own computer or tablet, or crowd around a single device. A $25 program called “Multiple Monitors” does the trick. It can mirror the screen from one computer on any other monitors in the room. The program is from ActualTools.com and is easier and cheaper than using HDMI splitters to connect several monitors to one computer. It works in all versions of Windows, from XP on up. Businesses could use it too. We can think of situations where you might want the same slideshow or program running in the lobby and other areas or at a trade show. There’s a free 30-day trial.

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GETTING A CHARGE

Another day, another charger. We’ve been flooded with these things, but some are unusual.

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YOUR PHONE IN BRIGHT SUNLIGHT

We’ve always loved the original Kindle’s “e-ink” screen. It’s easy to read in bright sunlight. Now there’s an InkCase Plus” that does the same thing for your smart phone.

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HOW ABOUT A SELFIE ON TOAST?

We know it’s the age of “selfies” (self portraits), but this has got to be the ultimate: You can have your likeness burned into a piece of toast. All it takes is the right toaster.

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SHARING A MOVIE, A SONG OR AN AUDIO BOOK

Here’s a $10 gizmo that should make plane rides and train trips more fun. Instead of just watching your own movie on your own gadget, watch it together with a friend or family member.

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GOOD DOG

For around $300 a year, you can monitor your pet’s health better than you monitor your own. The PetPace “smart collar” tracks dog and cat health 24 hours a day.

This seems like a great thing to have if you’re away on a trip and wondering how Fido is doing at the local kennel. It sends alerts to your phone if your dog is starting to have an abnormal temperature, pulse or breathing pattern, and monitors his calories, pain, and activities, comparing them to other dogs his age. (Get up Fido, it’s time for your floor exercises.)

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ONE SMALL STEP FOR ALIEN KIND

A little fitness tracker, about the size of a thick quarter, arrived in a package that looked like a spaceship. It was somebody’s really clever idea, and what we’ve noticed over the years is that people who make these clever packages have never tried to open them.

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AN IPAD KEYBOARD

For reading books and articles, or watching videos, Joy loves to hold her iPad. But if the urge to write a long letter strikes, there’s nothing like a physical keyboard. Our favorite is the new “Wired Keyboard for iOS devices,” $60 from Griffin Technology. It’s about three-fourths the size of a regular computer keyboard, but still easy to type on and small enough to carry in a tote bag. We found we had to press a little harder than usual to make capital letters, but otherwise it felt as good as other keyboards. Having a wired keyboard can be better than going wireless. You don’t have to pair it with your Bluetooth connection, or worry about batteries. It’s especially handy […]

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