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Gear & Gadgets

Products to Help Pass or Mark Time

January 06, 2002|JUDI DASH

Whether you are playing cards, reading, listening to music or simply waking up, the following new products make the process a little more entertaining. Items may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping.

Chime time: In these stressful times, it's nice to have an alarm clock that is a little less alarming. The Travel Zen Alarm Clock wakes you not with a buzzer or even music but with a series of soft bell-like chimes. When the clock's alarm is triggered, a chime is struck from inside the wood case. The clock also can be programmed to chime repeatedly at any set interval, making it a neat companion for yoga practitioners.

The 71/2-inch-long by 21/2- inch-high by 21/4-inch-deep case has a lighted digital display. The clock runs on two AA batteries or an AC adapter.

Travel Zen Alarm Clock (item 4458) is $89.95 from Now & Zen; (800) 779-6383, www.now-zen.com.

Novel spelling aid: So there you are reading the masterpiece of the year with no dictionary at hand, and you come across a word you don't understand. Now there's a dictionary right in your bookmark.

Measuring 53/8 inches high by 33/16 inches wide by 5/8of an inch deep, the 50,000-word Bookmark Dictionary operates on a lithium battery. Type a word on the little keypad, and a definition for all but the most esoteric term appears. The bookmark also has an alarm clock and a calculator function.

Bookmark Dictionary is $40 from Zelco; (800) 431-2486, www.zelco.com.

Carry a tune: Dislike carrying your portable cassette or CD player in your hand while walking or jogging? Now you don't have to. The Music Belt is an adjustable neoprene waist belt that accommodates most portable CD, MP3 and cassette players.

It has two extra zippered pockets for keys, earphones or cash. The light carrier has the added advantage of cushioning your gear in transit.

Music Belt (44111) is $25 from TD Innovations; (888) 888-3322, www.tdnov8.com.

Card sharp: You never know when a deck of cards will come in handy, and these High Visibility Playing Cards will be especially welcome to folks with vision problems.

The brightly colored numbers and symbols on the poker-size cards are extra bold with strong contrast, and each suit is additionally identified on the face by its initial letter ("H" for hearts, for example). Picture cards (aces, jokers, jacks, queens and kings) have the names spelled out.

High Visibility Playing Cards are $6 for two decks from ASF Associates; (800) 771-3600, www.readinglight.com.

Stereo to go: The Sharper Image is continually tinkering with its innovative travel alarm clocks, adding new features to give users more options for waking to peaceful sounds. The latest model has a built-in CD player, stereo AM/FM radio with TV band, and a choice of 20 digitally recorded relaxing sounds: thunderstorms, a crackling fire, waterfalls, chirping birds, even city traffic, for those soothed by the honks and screeches of urban life.

You can awake to a preselected CD track, the radio, a buzzer, church bells or one of the "soother" sounds. The LCD screen displays the time, date and room temperature.

Press the "Talk" button, and a pleasant voice will announce the time. The 9-inch by 6-inch by 2-inch clock weighs 2 pounds and comes with stereo ear buds. It runs on six AA batteries or an AC adapter.

Portable CD Radio/Alarm Clock with Sound Soother (SI687) is $219.95 from the Sharper Image; (800) 344-4444, www.sharperimage.com.

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