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With the summer vacation season in full swing, lawyers and their families are no doubt joining the rest of the throngs heading to beaches, mountains and other, more exotic getaways. And with the latest technological advances, the practice can be brought with you through remote connections, wireless Internet access, and laptop and palmtop computers. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Do you really need to see the latest e-mail from a problem client? Do you really have to re-check the citations on an appellate brief one more time? Face it. The work will still be there when you return. Vacations are about relaxing and getting away from the practice to have fun. Nonetheless, technology can still be a big part of that fun. With keeping fun in mind, here’s a rundown of some gadgets that will both keep you in touch with the office, if it is absolutely necessary, and allow some escape as well. Office on the Go If you want to bring your office with you and still have fun at the same time, the Toshiba Satellite P25-S526 laptop computer may be your answer. With a 17-inch monitor, wide-screen display, Harmon Kardon stereo and wireless Internet connection, this system combines work and play. View DVDs in sharp detail with high-quality audio, play CDs, and burn pictures from your digital camera on to a DVD disk. Or, you can work on spreadsheets when you return from the beach. While not cheap, for less than $2,000 you can get the perfect tool for combining work and play. Another nice Toshiba product is the Toshiba Portege m200 combination notebook and tablet PC. While not quite as outfitted for videos and music as the Satellite P25-S526, the m200 offers the functionality and larger screen of a notebook with the portability of a tablet PC for hand-written notes and diagrams inspired by your relaxing state of mind. The Portege sells for approximately $2,200. On the lower end of the price spectrum, the Hewlett Packard iPAQ H2215 Pocket PC Handheld with multimedia and Bluetooth wireless technology provides a well-crafted tool for communicating and managing information. Equipped with a slot for a compact flash card for loading pictures or music, a microphone, speakers and some of the most essential business software, this Pocket PC provides both entertainment and the ability to do work on its small but functional three and a half-inch touch screen. One of my favorite gadgets for portable communications, entertainment and office productivity are cell phones that also act as PDAs. The Kyocera Smartphone 7135, although around for almost two years now, is still one of the leaders in this area. This phone can play MP3 files and run just about all of the applications with its integrated Palm OS. So talk, surf the Web, view photos, check your e-mail, sync your calendar and listen to music all on this unique gadget. Now if only it had a camera . . . . Recording your memories Enough about keeping in touch with the office. How about going out, exploring, relaxing, doing whatever it takes to get your mind off the stress of your practice? To keep that frame of mind when you return, it’s always nice to have pictorial reminders of your time away. So the best way to do record a lifetime of memories is with a digital camcorder. Now in its second generation, the Sony DVD Handy Camcorder DCR-DVD101, available for less than $1,000, provides video recorded straight to DVD. Weighing in at 17.3 ounces and measuring only 5.4″ x 3.5″ inches in size, this camcorder is light enough to be unobtrusive to carry with you but feature-packed to get all of the details of the ocean waves or the Grand Canyon. While you will still want to copy the mini-DVD footage to a computer to edit before burning a permanent DVD for you and your family, you avoid the risk of damaging tape jams still common with mini-DVD camcorders. If you’re more of a still photo enthusiast like me, you’ll want to take-high quality photos on the beach or the lake, but you are also concerned about water and the ubiquitous dirt and sand that come with beach-going or camping. A new model in the Sony Cybershot series helps eliminate those worries. Weatherproofed with O-ring sealing closures, the Cyber-shot U60 also allows one-handed operation – useful while you’re climbing that mountain. At a cost of about $275, the camera is only a two-megapixel device. Outdoor photos tend to not lose too much in quality as they are enlarged, so the U60 should be perfect for those family albums. On the road again Anyone who has taken a long car ride with the kids knows that after a few rounds, “I Spy” and the license plate game get old. But with the advent of portable DVD players, those trips across the interstates of America have become much easier. One of the premium products in this area is the Toshiba SD-P5000. With a list price of $799, but available for less, this portable DVD player also features a built-in TV tuner, a JPEG view, MP3 and WMA audio playback, built-in speakers and 3-D virtual surround sound. But perhaps its best feature is dual headphone outlets, so the parents can enjoy listening to music in the front seat while the kids watch the latest Pokemon adventure in the back, making everyone happier when the long trip is done. If you’re just interested in listening to music while traveling the country, the Kenwood Excelon Music Keg KHD-CX910 gives you up to 5,000 songs in your vehicle through a cartridge system that hooks up to both your PC and many late-model Kenwood car stereos. Software included with the system allows you to organize your songs into playlists, so you’re sure to come up with music all members of the family enjoy. An adapter kit, the KCA-R71FM, lets you hook up the Music Keg and add Sirius satellite radio to any car with an FM tuner. Retail cost for the Music Keg system is $600, plus an additional $90 for the adapter, along with monthly Sirius fees of $10-$12, depending on your plan. Making Time And finally, if you’re traveling in a different time zone and want to make sure you keep track of your schedule, try the Sangean RCR-1 atomic am/fm alarm clock. This clock radio, selling for less than $90, will find the time no matter where it is plugged in. It receives signals from the U.S. atomic clock in Boulder, Colo., and adjusts for time zones and for daylight savings time. It also has alternating alarms for different times and different days. So, whether it’s keeping track of work at the office or escaping as much as possible, technology can help you achieve your goals. Enjoy your vacation! BRIAN R. HARRIS is the database administrator for the American Lawyer Media-Pennsylvania division and the former editor-in-chief ofThe Legal Intelligencer . Harris can be contacted at [email protected]. TARIK BROOKS, a summer intern withThe Legal Intelligencer and a student at Franklin Learning Center, provided research for this article.

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