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Unfortunately, many business cards are intended to please the eye, not OCR apps. Dark backgrounds, textures, colored type, and fancy fonts can stymie the software. Vertically oriented cards can also pose problems, as the reader is designed to accept standard-size cards. Because it failed to read so many of our cards, we have a hard time recommending this scanner as a time-saver. -- Charles Purdy

IOXperts 802.11b Driver 1.0.1

3.5 mice. ; IOXperts,,; $20

If you own a PowerBook G3, 2400, or 3400 that you want to hook up to a wireless network, until now you've been out of luck. These older PowerBooks are incompatible with Apple's AirPort card, and drivers for third-party cards are scarce. But IOXperts' 802.11b Driver 1.0.1 opens the door. If you have any of the aforementioned PowerBooks, running either OS 8.6 or 9, as well as PC Card Manager 3.0, the Driver lets you use wireless PC cards that employ Prism-2 or Lucent chip sets, from companies such as

D-Link, Linksys, NetGear, and Compaq.

The driver is easy to install and use, and it performs acceptably and stably. The interface consists of a control panel and a control-strip module, where you can choose a wireless network and enter its encryption key. However, there's no Keychain support or ability to save configuration settings for multiple networks.

IOXperts' driver is especially ideal if you already have a third-party wireless card. (If you don't, another option is the Mac-compatible Orinoco PC Card [Silver or Gold], which costs slightly less.) -- Shelly Brisbin

IRIS Business Card Reader II

3.0 mice. ; IRIS, 561/395-7831,; $200

The IRIS Business Card Reader II is one of several products that promise to make the management of personal contacts easier--by allowing you to scan business cards and, through the still-developing miracle of opti-cal character recognition (OCR) technology, upload contact information directly into a program such as Microsoft Entourage.

After you attach this miniature sheetfed scanner to your Mac via USB and install the included software, you're ready to begin digitizing your Rolodex. (When you start the program, you choose where to upload new scans.) And when the Business Card Reader works, it works just fine. We successfully uploaded the information from a handful of business cards into an Entourage address book, with little corrective retyping necessary afterward.

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