Favorites Holiday Edition
(Business 2.0) – Box Seat
Slingbox; $250; www.slingmedia.com
JASON MAYNARD Software industry analyst, Credit Suisse First Boston
I'm on the road at least two weeks a month, and as an avid sports fan, it kills me to miss out when my favorite teams play. Few hotels offer DirecTV's NBA League Pass, so even though I'm a League Pass subscriber, I'm usually out of luck. If I had a Slingbox, I could watch what's on my home TV from my broadband-connected laptop by streaming a compressed video feed over the Internet. There's even a virtual remote control to let me change the channel at home from anyplace on the planet. I'd never miss an L.A. Clippers game again.
Vespa LX 150; $4,199; www.vespausa.com
MENA TROTT Co-founder and president, Six Apart
In college I used to go out to Britpop night at a local club where there was always an impressive line of Vespas parked out front. Though my husband, Ben, and I now carpool to work, it's difficult to be active with only one car. I'd love to fly solo through the streets of San Francisco--all the while imagining I was zooming down Oxford Street, not Market Street.
Nokia N91; $800; www.nokia.com/nseries
PAUL BOUTIN Special correspondent, Engadget
The Nokia N91 is what the Motorola Rokr iTunes phone should have been--a do-it-all handset with a remote, a hard drive, a 2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, and the reliable Series 60 operating system. It plays MP3s as well as the new, compact AacPlus format, with enough storage capacity to hold 3,000 of my favorite tunes. Best of all, it would let me download new tracks over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Nokia packed all that into a klutz-resistant steel shell that slides shut to protect the keypad. It's enough to tempt me to kiss my iPod goodbye.
Sony Librié EBR-1000; $479; www.dynamism.com/librie
JASON KOTTKE Blogger, Kottke.org
This is the future of print. Currently available only in Japan, Sony's Librié is a next-generation e-book reader with a high-resolution electronic-ink display that's supposed to look great in bright sunlight. If I had a Librié, I'd start by running a few software programs to convert PDF and text files to Sony's proprietary format. Then I'd load it up with files to read on the subway, while airborne, or in the car--like an infinitely replenishable magazine.
Extreme Hexapod 3-R; $850; www.lynxmotion.com
MIKE KUNIAVSKY Author and consultant
It's not exactly useful, but the Hexapod 3-R has about 10 times more attitude than any other home robot, without cleaning floors. I mean, what would you rather entertain guests with: a cheese wheel that sucks dirt or a 21-inch-diameter robotic spider? OK, that's probably why my house is dirty, but at least the yellow model I want would be a fun toy. A wireless PlayStation 2 controller is all you need to send it roaming in any direction.
OQO Model 01+ Ultra Personal Computer; $1,899; www.oqo.com
ALEX GOVE Vice president, WaldenVC
Laptops aren't very portable--just try lugging one all day at a conference. That's why I'd like to get my hands on the OQO. It has a 30GB hard drive, USB 2.0, and tablet-style input. But here's the most important spec: It runs Microsoft Windows XP, not a dumbed-down handheld OS, so I could scan spreadsheets, browse websites, or research markets as if I were using a full-size desktop PC. With that much power in my pocket, I'd run through airports like Michael Vick.
Nabaztag; $114; www.nabaztag.com
PHILLIP TORRONE Associate editor, Make magazine
Tops on my list is the Nabaztag, a Wi-Fi-enabled toy rabbit from France that changes color and moves its ears to provide real-time information about weather, traffic, stock price movements, or incoming e-mail. The wireless bunny fetches data from the Internet and displays it according to parameters you set. I'd use mine as a security system, configuring it to pulse red whenever trespassers wander onto the land I own in the Second Life virtual world.