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(Business 2.0) – Virtual Switchboard

RingCentral; monthly plans from $15; www.ringcentral.com

RingCentral is brilliant. It's a Web-based application that works like an automated switchboard--everybody calls my RingCentral number, and I tell it which of my phones I want to ring. I can set it up to call my cell first, then my work, then my home, or to ring them all at the same time, or none at all. It simplifies everything; I have different preferences for different phones--my BlackBerry for daytime, Razr for nighttime, and so on. If I go overseas, my calls go overseas. The voice-mail features are also useful, and when caller ID is blocked by an incoming number, RingCentral makes the caller give a name before it rings me. On a per-minute basis, the monthly service bundles are really cheap. Plus, I pay only for the service I actually use. HALSEY MINOR CEO and founder, Grand Central Communications

In-Flight Language Lab

Berlitz Rush Hour Language Audio CDs (available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish); $25; www.berlitzpublishing.com

I studied French in high school, but I remember more about obscure verb conjugations than I do about asking for a cab receipt. Before a recent trip to Paris, I ripped a Berlitz CD onto my MP3 player to polish up my rusty français on the plane. It really helped. Berlitz's screwball songs may make you want to stab your eardrums, but the repetitive technique works. By the time we touched down, I felt more confident about buying travel tickets and getting around town. JAMIE BERNARDIN Chief technology officer, DataSynapse

Safe and Secure

Saunders Side-Opening Aluminum Portfolio; $21; www.saunders-usa.com

My aluminum portfolio is an organizational godsend. It's the same size as a legal pad--and just three-eighths of an inch thick--but it provides an armor-plated place to store all the papers I want close at hand as I shuttle between my home, my car, my office, and beyond. Right now, mine contains the magazine's 2005 production schedule, a few bills I need to pay, an itinerary for an upcoming business trip, some reimbursable receipts, and hotel reservations for a wedding I'll attend in July. After five years of abuse, the outside of my portfolio has plenty of scratches and battle scars, but the inside still looks brand-new--just like my documents. There's even a handy place for a pen beneath the clipboard clip. TODD LAPPIN Senior editor, Business 2.0

Power Play

iGo Juice; $120, optional DualPower accessory $25; www.igo.com

It takes an understanding spouse to know that the perfect gift for her CEO husband is a 6-inch silvery bar packed with power adapters. My wife gave me the iGo Juice for my 35th birthday, and it's the best. It's basically a universal power adapter that I can plug into my laptop or cell phone using the various adapter tips that come with it. Now I carry just one adapter for all the electronics I use when I'm on the road, and I can power up whether I'm in a hotel room, on a plane, or in a car. The DualPower attachment even lets me charge my laptop and cell phone simultaneously. Much more useful than a birthday tie. BEN GOLUB CEO, Plaxo