FEEL A DRAFT?
EA Sports kicks off its first foray into the world of online fantasy sports July 21. Football fans can sign up for EA Sports Fantasy Football (www.easports.com/fantasy), draft NFL players, and decide each week who plays and who sits. Team points are based on yards gained, touchdowns and sacks. Many online fantasy leagues are free but try to get players to upgrade to features like real-time statistics and in-depth research. EA Sports is skipping the free level and offering premium features from the start. For $9.99, a fantasy player can join a 12-team public league. For $99.99, a serious fantasy sports fan can become a commissioner and oversee a private league of up to 32 teams.
A new portable LCD monitor provides a bigger picture than many of the 7- or 8-inch screens commonly used with portable car players. The KarView has a 14.1-inch screen that can connect to DVD players, videocassette recorders, desktop computers and most video game consoles. The mounting arm attaches to a front headrest and does not block the driver s rear view. The monitor weighs 3.5 pounds. Two power options are included: a cord to run the monitor from the car s accessory outlet and a standard AC cord for plugging into a wall outlet. The KarView ($499) is available at www.karview.com; a version that includes a DVD player is $599.
A slim silver wand called a DocuPen, manufactured by Planon System Solutions of Mississauga, Ontario. Planon, can scan an entire page graphics as well as text and download it to a computer later. The company claims that it is the first hand-held device with a self-contained power source capable of scanning an entire page, rather than individual lines of text. DocuPen ($200) can store up to 100 pages, depending on the quantity of graphics and the scanning resolution, which can be set at 100 or 200 dots per inch.
IPOD MEET OPOD
The oPod (www.otterbox.com) is an iPod-size version of the water-resistant, dust-, crush- and shockproof cases the military uses to protect hand-held computers. And unlike some water-resistant boxes for the iPod, it gives users access to all of the device s controls except the hold switch. The oPod ($50), comes in white, pink, green, blue or yellow and works only with full-size third-generation iPods. It is not meant for sustained underwater use, but a waterproof version for the iPod Mini is under development along with underwater headphones.
RETURN OF N-GAGE
When Nokia introduced the N-Gage, a hand-held game console, cell phone, MP3 player and radio rolled into one, its design was so heavily faulted that some critics predicted that it would be the Edsel of hand-held gaming. Nine months later, the N-Gage QD ($180, $200 when bundled with the game Tony Hawk s Pro Skater) will be available late this month. Game cartridges, which previously could only be inserted by disassembling the unit, now slide into a slot. The control buttons are raised and easier to press, the screen is brighter, and the device is slightly smaller. Gone are the MP3 and radio functions.
JUST THE TICKET
With the Democratic ticket in place, a bit of Internet real estate just got more valuable: www.kerryedwards.com. Alas, for the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign, a bail bondsman in Indianapolis already owns it. It s actually my name. That s why I registered it, said Kerry Edwards. The Kerry campaign called Tuesday morning asking him to lend or donate the Web address. No such luck. An independent, he hasn t decided whether he ll even vote this year. Bill Clinton got his last ballot, in 1996. Edwards, 34, has owned the Web address since 1998 before John Edwards even joined the Senate. But the Indianapolis bondsman s site remains neutral turf pitching a single message: KerryEdwards.com is for sale, though not to pornographers or other seedy businesses. If somebody is going to offer me good money, I m not in a financial position to turn it down, he said.
Ron Musselman covers sports for The Blade. His online column on UT s Brad Heaven will appear this Monday on toledoblade.com.
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