Hot Stuff

PhotoStamps

Gone are the days when you had to be a president, an endangered waterfowl, or Elvis to get your face on a stamp. Thanks to PhotoStamps (a service of Stamps.com ), you can personalize your postage with pictures of your kids, your dog, or even yourself. The privilege doesn’t come cheap—one sheet of 20 37-cent PhotoStamps, for example, costs $16.99 (nearly 48 cents per stamp in addition to the price of regular stamps). But just imagine the look on your friends’ faces when they see your mug on their mail.

Sonos Digital Music System

Sure, the AirPort Express lets you stream music to a stereo in your home—but you can control it only from your Mac, and listen to the music in only one room at a time. For Bang & Olufsen-esque design—and price—combine one or more $499 Sonos ZonePlayers ( wired or wireless networked audio players that distribute, play, and amplify digital music through your speakers) and $399 Sonos Controllers (wireless handheld devices with color screens and scroll wheels for controlling the ZonePlayers). The result is a shared-music system that you’ll be proud to have in plain sight.

Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse

Optical mice offer more-precise tracking than moving-parts models—until it’s time to mouse over high-gloss surfaces such as lacquered tabletops and photo paper. Logitech’s $80 cordless MX1000 with Fast RF for wireless connectivity swaps optical technology for laser, to boldly go where few mice have gone before. Logitech claims that the laser mouse has 20 times more sensitivity to surface detail than LED optical mice—ensuring that your mouse won’t falter on even the trickiest of surfaces.

iSync’s Bluetooth Support

When it comes to convenience, there’s nothing like setting your cell phone or PDA on your desk, launching an app on your Mac, and having the two wirelessly exchange contact, calendar, and to-do information. The hassle of adding numbers to your phone no longer needs to be a barrier to upgrading to the newest hardware. The latest version of Apple’s free iSync supports even more Bluetooth-enabled phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Siemens, as well as several handhelds. And if you get bored with using Bluetooth just to synchronize data, you can also easily transfer photos taken with your cell phone to your Mac, or even use your cell phone as a wireless modem (albeit a slow one) when you have to get online on the road.

Painter IX’s New Oil Brushes

Thanks to a new feature in Corel’s Painter IX, digital art truly does imitate life. The next version of the $429 natural-media painting software includes jaw-droppingly realistic Artists’ Oil brushes that closely mimic the look and behavior of traditional oil paints. The brushes hold a finite amount of paint, so your strokes become lighter as the oil runs out. It’s just like working on a real canvas—without the unpleasant fumes.

What’s Hot: A Quick Look at the World of Macs

1. A Business Week survey of 500 business executives names Apple the most innovative company of the last 75 years. “In your face, General Electric,” exults a triumphant Steve Jobs.

2. Sony reluctantly adds MP3 support to some of its music players. Says Sony Chairman Nobuyuki Idei: “We think this exciting new technology provides a new way to enjoy the disco music craze that is sweeping the globe.”

3. Apple releases a security fix for iChat AV. Among the fixes: a patch that automatically blocks video chats with anyone not wearing pants.

4. Apple may be near a settlement in its legal dispute with The Beatles’ Apple Corps. The terms of the deal rename Apple’s headquarters at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino “Sir Paul McCartney’s Summer Home.”

[ Since its original posting, this article has been edited to correct the pricing for PhotoStamps and Painter IX.—Ed. ]

PhotoStampsSonos Digital Music SystemLogitech MX1000 Laser Cordless MouseCorel Painter IX
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