Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wireless mice and flexible webcams make life easier

When Microsoft sent me news of its latest webcam, the Lifecam VX-5000, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I had been trying to video-chat with my dad in Las Vegas, and was saying I wish someone made a versatile webcam that can bend to fit on the top of either a laptop or a desktop (since I'm always switching back and forth).

Microsoft's new $49 unit promises to do just that, via a flexible attachment. It adds what the company calls "world-class VGA optics" with solid 640x480 video resolution.

Users can share and swap photos from their PCs during a video call with the press of a button, and hear the reaction of family and friends as they look at the shots.

Another cool feature is the ability to add video effects to your live calls and to assign your video call buddies to a button on your computer. So if you want to chat, just hit one button.

The unit comes with MSN Photo Swap, the program that lets you share digial pictures in mid-video conservation.

Wireless Mouse Rocks

Recently I've been testing a new wireless mouse from the Bill Gates Company called the "Wireless Notebook Mouse Optical 3000."

I'll spare you all the techno mumbo-jumbo. The thing works really well. I've been using some rather old wired mice that came with my equipment, and another I got from the office. The difference in speed is amazing.

At first, I almost felt the new mouse was too sensitive. But I quickly got used to how smoothly the ultra-responsive new mouse glides -- on almost any surface. I don't find myself having to move the mouse up and down and side to side to make sure it's still working.

Not having wires for the first time was cool, too. It gave me a lot of work freedom and my hand never got tired because I could change the position so easily. For $29.95, I think this is money well spent.

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