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They've Got...Connections

Two presidential candidates and three high-tech luminaries talk about their favorite gadgets.

October 19, 2000|KAREN KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Al Gore

Occupation: Vice president; presidential candidate

Favorite wireless device: Wireless phone

Comment: He is always interested in the latest new [device]."

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George W. Bush

Occupation: Governor of Texas; presidential candidate

Favorite wireless device: Nokia 6160 wireless phone

When he uses it: "On most car rides," according to a campaign aide. "It is always in the car."

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Sky Dayton

Occupation: Founder and chairman of EarthLink Network, an Internet service provider; co-founder of ECompanies, an Internet incubator

His wireless devices: Two wireless phones; a BlackBerry 2-way pager; a Palm VII hand-held computer with wireless Internet access

When he uses his gadgets: Dayton spends almost his entire commute, from Malibu to Santa Monica, on one of his wireless phones. The pager and the Palm are used mainly when he travels on planes, though he recently considered putting his BlackBerry in a Ziplock bag and taking it surfing so he could send e-mail during lulls between waves. He ultimately decided against it, because "the point of surfing is not to do anything else."

Favorite wireless device: Sprint Wireless Web phone, which he says has the best coverage along Pacific Coast Highway. Thanks to the phone's Web access, the BlackBerry and the Palm VII "don't get much of a workout these days."

Comment: "I should be able to snap my phone together with my Palm to send an e-mail. It would be great if I could put my BlackBerry together with my Pilot to access all the great applications with a keyboard. We should be able to snap our wireless devices together like Legos."

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Paul MacCready

Occupation: Chairman and founder of AeroVironment, a Monrovia company that develops environmentally friendly planes, cars and other vehicles

His wireless devices: Nokia wireless phone; plus assorted wireless cameras and devices to control the unmanned surveillance aircraft his company builds

How often he uses his wireless phone: About 1 1/2 hours per week, mostly to coordinate activities with family, friends and colleagues

Most interesting use of a wireless device: MacCready used a wireless radio-controlled surveillance camera on a remote-controlled car to chase a skunk out of the crawl space underneath his house. The camera fed images to the TV in MacCready's living room, which he used to maneuver the car. When that didn't work, he put night-vision cameras on the car, watched for the skunk to leave, then closed a trapdoor to prevent the skunk from reentering.

Comment: "We're to the point where technologically we can do everything, which makes us have to ask, 'What do we want to do?' In my case, I'd like to set up some barriers."

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Brad Jones

Occupation: Partner with Redpoint Ventures in Los Angeles, a venture capital firm that invests in Internet and communications companies

Favorite wireless devices: Two wireless phones (a hands-free phone for his car, plus a Nokia 6160 mobile phone); a GPS navigation system for his car that uses satellites for directions to selected destinations

How often he uses his wireless phones: He uses his wireless phone in the car for about 2 1/2 hours each day, commuting to and from work and driving to meetings.

Least favorite wireless device: Pagers. "I don't want my life controlled by a pager," he said. "Now people with those BlackBerry e-mail things sit there and do their e-mails while they're in meetings, but I don't think that's really polite."

Comment: "I don't know how we lived without cell phones," Jones said. "But I think there's a quality-of-life issue. If every single moment of the day you've got text and voice communications coming at you from everywhere, you could go crazy."

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