One of the problems of the information age is information, flowing from endless electronic orifices. It can be so complicated: finding the right ones for you, getting hooked up to them, and then staying connected. This collection of electronic wonders may help you stay in touch.
A N T E N N A
In these days of cable and satellite, it's hard to imagine that one of the latest things is a television antenna made for the top of your TV. And yet here it is, the HDTVi, for people who want all the highdefinition television they can get but are somehow prevented from using a rooftop antenna. Comcast, RCN, and DirecTV offer around 10 HD channels each, including a good number of cable-only channels like HBO. But a dozen broadcasts in Greater Boston are beaming digitally, and to get all of those, viewers may want to enlist additional help. The HDTVi is suggested for retail at about $40 and is available at Circuit City and Best Buy.
S A T E L L I T E D I S H E S
The CubSat dishes sold by International Trade Business of Miami come wrapped in a plain plastic case, and that's after they're uncrated. Why? The housing protects the dish, not only from wind and rain (and rust) but from the eyes of landlords and neighbors, particularly in condominiums where assocation rules ban dishes. The shell, which doesn't impede signals, can be set on the balcony or even partly buried in the garden. Units can be purchased via the cubsat.net website; prices start about $200.
R A D I O
The Lobeman FM radio resides decidedly at the low end of high-tech, but that's one of its selling points. An FM radio that slips in and around the ear, it weighs less than an ounce and is smaller than the palm of your hand. It has no wires - except for a blue wire antenna that trails about 20 inches from the unit - and only three buttons. Its designers, a couple of 2002 Penn grads, say they made it with exercisers in mind, but are fi nding fans among a broad range of folks who like listening to the radio without having both ears covered, or see it as useful in emergencies, such as power outages. Radios go for about $15 on the company's website, lobeman.co c o n n e c t i o n It's fair to say that nothing looks chic with wires trailing out the back, but beyond poking holes, snaking wires, and replastering, what can be done? One answer comes from Decorp Americas, whose lines of super-fl at wires now includes an installation kit for fl at-screen TVs. Hidden under paint or wallpaper, the wire can re-emerge where needed and a small connections box can be mounted, typically behind the device, out of sight. The TV connection kit, which sells for $300, comes with three 10-foot sections of wire - for component video, power, and an equivalent of coaxial cable. It's available for purchase, along with similar products, at decorp.com, or at Pacer/Anixter, 112 Commerce Way, Woburn, 781-935-8330.
D I G I T A L H E L P E R
Have you ever had one message but many recipients and wished you had help to make the calls? Z-Tel's Personal Voice Assistant could be your answer. It's a service that backs up your contact data (from Outlook and Yahoo address books; sorry, no Macs), helps keep it current, and makes it available from any phone. When you call the access number, you can record a voice mail or voice e-mail and have it delivered to everyone on a list you've created. Because it's voice-activated, the service also makes it easy for children to call anyone in the family address book if they know only the access number, which could be helpful in an emergency. You can buy 500 minutes of the service for about $20, and 200-minute increments for about $10. The service is free to customers of Z-Tel's local and long-distance service plans. Visit www.ztel.com or call 877-237-6278.