(FORTUNE Magazine) – TIME-RELEASE WATER Going on vacation doesn't have to mean returning to dead plants. DriWater Inc. of Sebastopol, California, offers a time-release watering system in two sizes: seven-ounce cups for potted plants and quart containers for outdoor gardens. To nurse a small plant for up to 30 days, invert a cup of DriWater and place it near the base of the plant. The water is bound into a gel with vegetable gums and released when bacteria in the soil slowly break the gums down. The quart container will keep a seedling tree moist up to four months. DriWater is sold in garden supply stores and home centers for $1.49 per seven-ounce cup.

THE WORLD'S BIGGEST FAX MACHINE Not everything in the world of communications is getting smaller. The Guinness Book of Records has just acknowledged the WideFax facsimile machine as the world's largest. It can transmit blueprints, engineering drawings, and other oversize documents up to 24 inches wide, vs. 8 1/2 inches for standard faxes. Developed by the WideCom Group in Mississauga, Ontario, it's portable, so you can take it to, say, construction sites for faxing blueprints to home base. If you're sending to someone with a standard-size machine, the WideFax can either reduce the drawing or send it along in three eight-inch-wide strips for paste- up at the other end of the line. It is also a versatile copier that prints onto a large variety of materials, from erasable fax paper to thermal Mylar. Users can even choose which part of a document they want to enlarge. Price: about $14,000.

AN UNLISTED NUMBER FOR DO-IT-YOURSELFERS Want the flexibility of an occasionally unlisted phone number? Friends Only, a scrambling device by KES Communications of Midland, Texas, effectively turns any number into a secret. Hook the machine up to the phone, enter your choice of three-digit access code, press a button, then give the code to the select few. A voice tells callers that your number requires extra digits. If these aren't forthcoming, the unenlightened will be disconnected and the phone won't ring. Push the button again to return to your public number. By doing that, you can also monitor calls the old-fashioned way -- listening to them through your answering machine. When your private code gets passed around to too many people, you can change it again. Friends Only sells at electronics stores for $129.95.

DR. J'S HOT HAND How does this grab you? Basketball players who rub their hands with rosin to get a better grip now have a non-messy alternative. The world's first basketball gloves have arrived, promoted by the celebrated Julius Erving. Dr. J's Hot Hand gloves increase control without dulling ball contact. The gloves are made of stretch nylon with hundreds of rubberized dots on the palm. The dots do the gripping, and the fabric keeps palms dry by wicking sweat away to the backs. (They'll also help keep your hands warm if you're playing outdoors or in a frigid gym.) The material stretches to fit all hand sizes, although the gloves can be a bit loose for women's hands. KSL Sports of New York City plans a youth size as well. Hot Hand isn't legal yet for school or pro use, but hoopsters who want to try them out in casual play will find them in sports stores for $20 a pair.