The Well-Outfitted Techno Geek

Think Globally, Act Locally

Mar 12, 2002
Outside Magazine

Canon's ZR20, Sangean ATS606AP radio, and Handspring's Visor Edge

Apple's iBook

Lest you consider them glorified address books, please note that today's Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)—with a healthy 8MB of memory for itineraries, journal entries, and software—link up with great add-ons like Lonely Planet's CitySync travel guides (starting at $20). Handspring's Visor Edge ($399) and Palm's color m505 ($449) run Palm software and offer sleek metal casings, speedy processors, and rechargeable batteries good for at least 12 hours of uninterrupted use. Both support add-on accessories and modules such as wireless modems and GPS receivers (like the Geode). Palm's m105 ($199) is more affordable and connects to the 7.9-ounce Palm Portable Keyboard ($99). We also dig InnoGear's MiniJam—a Visor-compatible MP3 music-player module. Choose between a 32MB model ($199) or a meaty 96MB unit ($299), which can store roughly 90 minutes of nonstop Dylan. Can't decide between Peter Gabriel and Peter Tosh? Bring them both with the sturdy Walkman-size Archos Jukebox Recorder ($349). The 6GB hard drive holds well over 1,500 tunes; the built-in mike lets it double as a portable audio recorder, and it's compatible with any USB-port-equipped PC or Mac. Apple's 4.9-pound iBook (starting at $1,299) is the bee's knees for laptop geekery. Upload scenes from your digital camcorder via the FireWire port and edit on the road with the bundled iMovie video software. If Windows is your choice and weight your bane, check out Panasonic's 3.8-pound, magnesium-clad Toughbook 34 (starting at $2,699). Dust- and water-resistant, one reportedly survived being run over by a Humvee. Slip in an Orange Micro FireWire PC Card ($99, including video-editing software), and you're ready for mobile moviemaking even in Mongolia. The paperback-size and digitally programmable Sangean ATS606AP ($150) keeps it simple: The world-band radio tunes in AM, FM, longwave and shortwave stations—which were delivering information instantly, anywhere, long before the Internet was a glimmer in some nerd's eye.

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