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The $20,000 question: Where did I leave my phone?

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 6, 2003


Professional drag racer Christian Rado, the first person in the world to buy a $20,000 Vertu cell phone, lost his jewel-encrusted device in an Orlando nightclub in December. He's offering a $3,000 reward to anyone who returns the thing, no questions asked.

Rado noticed his phone missing around 2 a.m., after several rounds of vodka in a roped-off section of the Tabu nightclub.

Police said a thief will have little use for the Vertu because it requires a special battery charger.

Sony's answer to 'Can you hear me now?'

While "CD-like sound quality" is not commonly associated with cell phones, Sony has introduced a series of telephone headsets that incorporate the same technology used in headphones for its portable music players.

Sony, of course, does not have a magical way to overcome the audio limitations of cell phones. But it says the models block unwanted noise better than most sets and are more comfortable as well.

The DR-E110 (for phones with a standard 2.5-millimeter jack) and the DR-E110N4 (which fits some Nokia phones) are earbud-style headsets. Both come with foam pads to accommodate various shapes of ears and sell for $10.

The four other models are single-ear variations on Sony's ear-clip headphones for music listening. The DR-J115 and its Nokia-compatible counterpart cost $15. The DR-J120 and a similar model for Nokia phones are $5 more but come with a superior, noise-reducing microphone. The headsets are available at Best Buy stores.

Broadcasting your latest MP3 mix

If you find the radio too limiting or repetitive, you may like the Neuros, a new MP3 player that lets you play DJ and broadcast your mix.

Like most music storage devices, the Neuros, from Digital Innovations, allows users to create playlists of their favorite songs. But this device, which has a built-in FM transmitter, can free a playlist from a set of headphones and put it on the air live, though to a limited audience. Using an autoscan feature, the Neuros searches for an available FM frequency to use and sends the music to any radio up to 20 feet away.

The Neuros can record music, which can then be downloaded to a computer. Then, using Neuros software and a proprietary online database, the device quickly names the tune and artist.

About the size of an Apple iPod but compatible only with the Windows operating system, the Neuros is at least smaller than a set of turntables. And the amber backlit screen allows users to sift through their music files more easily in the dark, where the trendiest DJs can often be found.

But filling a 20-gigabyte Neuros ($399) could take up to a full day using the device's USB 1.0 connection. Songs of average length (about 31/2 minutes) download from a computer at a rate of about five a minute.

More information on the Neuros, which will be available in electronics stores in February, is available at www.neurosaudio.com.

On a ring and a prayer

Now you can get a Psalm a day on your cell phone or pager. A Colorado entrepreneur is delivering the word of the Bible as a reminder for a daily prayer.

"It all began when my wife and I made a promise to pray for each other at 3 o'clock every day. I kept forgetting to do it," said Alan Wostenberg, who is Catholic. "So, being a computer guy, I programmed a machine to send a reminder Psalm to myself and my wife every day."

Soon, friends and family started asking if they could join, too. Over the summer, he began marketing the service through religious newsgroups over the Internet.

The service is available at Psalmweaver.com. Wostenberg charges $19.95 for a year of daily Psalms, plus a $4 setup fee. The service can be delivered to e-mail accounts as well.

-- Compiled from Times wires.

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