Stories by Yardena Arar

Review: Affordable videoconferencing for real conference rooms

With a high-performance camera and separate audio module, the Logitech CC3000e conquers rooms too large for most off-the-shelf videoconferencing products

In Pictures: 10 great Google tools you need in your business workflow

Google is so ubiquitous in our everyday digital lives that it's easy to overlook the many tools it offers that have a business slant.

Acer Aspire One 522 Netbook

The Acer Aspire One 522 (model BZ897) delivers a good, classic netbook for a very reasonable price ($330 as of March 18, 2011). Petite and slim with a handsome 10.1-inch widescreen LED-backlit display, a 250GB hard drive, an integrated 1.3-megapixel webcam, and a multitouch touchpad, this portable does a solid job with multimedia and boasts pretty good battery life: nearly 7 hours in our tests using the provided 6-cell battery.

2nd Story Software TaxAct Deluxe

TaxActDeluxe has been the budget tax-software option for some time now, but can it handle business taxes? The answer is yes -- but only if you don't need a heap of guidance and you can make do with limited data-import features.

Networking gets faster, more media-savvy

Home is where the network is: That's the mantra of networking vendors at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 in Las Vegas this week.

Wilson Electronics Sleek

The problem of dropped calls and sluggish data service continues to plague a wide range of cell phone users -- and unfortunately, there's no silver-bullet fix for all customers and situations. Case in point: the $US100 (as of 31 August, 2010) Wilson Electronics Sleek, which is designed to improve reception for a single phone, primarily in a moving car.

Jetpacks, androids, and the future that never came

From Jules Verne to Stanley Kubrick and beyond, writers and artists have imagined what the future would be like. Their visions range from the comically bizarre to the uncannily accurate to the wildly optimistic (where are those jet packs they promised us?!). Here's a quick collection of our favorite examples.

9 Ways to Spice Up Office 2010 Documents

Even if your work is humdrum, your documents shouldn't be. The latest version of Microsoft Office makes it easier than ever to create handsome documents, thanks to some cool new tools for dressing up text, displaying images, and embedding video.

Netgear Announces Fast Powerline Network Products

Home networking giant Netgear plans to introduce a 500 megabit-per-second line of HomePlug AV powerline products this fall. Netgear announced a slew of products, including next-generation powerline and advanced multimedia-optimized Wi-Fi products this week at CeBIT, the giant tech trade show in Hannover, Germany.

Nero SecurDisc: Improved security for optical storage media

Nero, makers of optical media-burning software, has announced a new version of its SecurDisc data- protection technology, which should increase your chances of recovering content from damaged CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.

Stream anything from your PC to your HDTV, wire free

A slew of network-connected gadgets now let you watch Netflix and Amazon on-demand videos to your TV, and a growing number of sets, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray disc players come with built-in software for accessing content on these and other Web sites such as YouTube and Pandora. What's been missing, however, is an easy and convenient way to enjoy any content you can view with your PC on your big digital TV screen. That may soon change. Intel's next-generation notebook CPUs, announced at the consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, are so powerful they can compress the contents of a PC display on the fly and stream it wirelessly to a soon-to-be-introduced Netgear set-top box, the Push2TV (PVT 1000), that you'll connect to your set via HDMI or component cables.

LG TVs make new connections

LG Electronics' connected TVs are getting more connections - including support (with the addition of a Webcam accessory) for Skype video calls on many of its new sets. This expands on LG's introduction, last year, of sets with built-in support for video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Vudu. Other new Internet services include Picasa and AccuWeather.

Panasonic promises 3D plasma HDTVs

As expected, Panasonic's CES press conference dwelt heavily on the company's plans to bring 3D HDTVs mainstream, including model info on five plasma sets slated to ship by midyear, and a Blu-Ray Disc player. Panasonic also became the second CE vendor of the day to announce the addition of the popular Internet phone call service, Skype, to its VieraCast connected TV service lineup (LG beat them to it by several hours).

Microsoft Office 2010: An intriguing beta

With the release of the Office 2010 beta, the general public finally gets to check out how Microsoft plans to deliver on its promises for the next edition of its flagship productivity suite--namely, close integration with lightweight Web versions of core apps (Excel and PowerPoint Web are the first to debut for consumers via Windows Live, with Word and OneNote available only in the business-oriented SharePoint 2010 server beta), better multimedia support, a subtle interface refresh, and a slew of features designed to make document creation and sharing easier. But there's some news too, most notably support within Outlook for tracking feeds from social networks.

Interead Cool-ER E-Book Reader

From its aspirational brand name (the ER in Cool-ER stands for e-book reader) to its hip tinted metallic case, the $US249 Cool-ER clearly strives to distinguish itself from the black-and-gray competition - and to a large extent it succeeds. Skinny (0.43 inch thick), lightweight (6.3 ounces), and available in eight cheery colors, this e-book reader resembles an overgrown iPod - not a bad role model for industrial design.

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