TV-remote thumbwheel: The Vudu (Vudu.com) is a $400 (Rs15,760) box that connects to your TV and offers instant access to 5,000 movies. But the real genius is the clickable scroll wheel on its remote, exactly like the one on a computer mouse. It's ideal for navigating the Vudu's lists; during playback, the wheel is a variable-speed rewind/fast-forward shuttle control. You could adjust the volume, or zip from channel 4 to channel 723 with a couple of spins on the wheel.
Camera-to-camera beaming: It's absurd how much effort you have to expend just to give a freshly snapped photo to somebody standing next to you. Some of Fujifilm's latest cameras offer a perfect on-the-spot solution: instant camera-to-camera infrared photo beaming.
Audio-limiting earbuds: Christine Ingemi worried about the effects of iPod listening on her children's hearing. She invented the iHearSafe earbuds ($20, ihearsafe.com), which replace the earbuds on any music player. They limit the volume to 80 decibels, or 85 if bass or treble boost is turned on.
Shared media folders: Programs such as VMWare Fusion and Parallels permit you to run Windows on a Macintosh—without having to restart the computer. You get Windows in a window, on top of Mac OS X.
This year, those programs have added a lovely little idea: You can tell Windows to use the Mac's music, pictures and movies folders as its own music, pictures and movies folders. Both OSs now hook up to the same photo and music collections.
Lamp speakers: Installing ceiling speakers is expensive and messy, and it doesn't put the speakers at the right height. The Soundolier Duo Wireless Speaker Lamp is also expensive ($510 for a pair from Amazon.com), but it neatly solves the cosmetic issues. A 5.25-inch speaker is hidden inside what looks like a stylish black torchiere-style floor lamp. A wireless transmitter for your TV or receiver eliminates the speaker cables. Clever stuff.
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