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It’s summer, and you’re headed to the beach with the family for a week of fun and, yes, some unavoidable work. But fear not — you don’t have to be locked up in a hotel room to get some real work done. There are technology tools that can handle sand, sun and even water. Here are just a few of your many options. LAPTOPS The Panasonic Toughbook 29 is a rugged, wireless-ready notebook computer built around a 1.2 GHz Pentium M processor. It’s compliant with MIL-STD-810F military testing standards. The magnesium-encased notebook resists vibration and drops, and includes a removable shock-mounted 60 GB hard drive in a stainless-steel case. The computer is designed to be used outdoors: It has an anti-reflective, outdoor-readable display, a moisture- and dust-resistant backlit keyboard. Even the hinges are dust-resistant, reports Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, based in Secaucus, N.J. The base model’s MSRP is $4,300. The HP Rugged Notebook nr3600 is another rugged notebook, this one from Palo Alto, Calif.’s Hewlett-Packard Co. It runs on a 1.7 GHz Intel Pentium 4-M processor, and is built with die-cast magnesium parts. It exceeds MIL-STD-810F military testing standards, and meets the Ingress Protection rating of IP-54 for dust and water penetration. Inside, the notebook provides a shock-mounted 40 GB ruggedized removable hard drive. An 80 GB version with an optional heater for cold environments is available. Also offered are a 12.1-inch TFT XGA outdoor display — a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark keyboard built from phosphorescent plastic. The computer supports GPRS, CDMA, wireless local area networks, Bluetooth and other wireless protocols. MSRP: $4,099+. Are you craving the new Tablet PCs? Try the HP Rugged Tablet PC tr3000. It offers a 933 MHz mobile Intel Pentium III processor and Microsoft Windows XP. It features a shock-mounted 40 GB ruggedized hard drive, 256 MB (PC-133) SDRAM, and an 8.4-inch TFT SVGA outdoor display. It, too, exceeds military specs for ruggedness, and meets the IP-54 rating for dust and water penetration. MSRP: $3,449. CASES Can’t part with your existing laptop? Then how about a rugged case? Consider the aluminum panel laptop case from ThinkGeek Inc., of Fairfax, Va. It’s a hard-sided case with extruded aluminum frames, a molded plastic handle, and two triple combination locks. The inside of the case has a padded compartment for a computer, with Velcro-adjustable dividers to hold it in place. It has a gusseted file compartment and lots of pockets for cables and discs. Price tag: $199. PRINTERS The Canon i80 Color Bubble Jet Printer weighs only four pounds and measures 12.4 x 6.9 x 2 inches, but prints at 14 pages-per-minute in black and white, and 10 p-p-m color. It supports wireless operation, with IrDA compatibility and an optional Bluetooth interface. Users can print directly from digital cameras (Canon’s Bubble Jet Direct line or any PictBridge-compatible unit), or from DV camcorders, with no PC required. The printer can handle many paper sizes, including letter, legal, 4 x 6-inch and U.S. #10 envelopes. It can print on plain paper, glossy photo stock, transparencies and more. From Canon USA Inc., of Lake Success, N.Y. Suggested price: $249.99. Hewlett Packard’s HP Deskjet 450wbt Mobile Printer is a thermal inkjet unit that weighs less than five pounds and measures 13.3 x 3.2 x 6.5 inches. It prints nine pages-per-minute in black, and three p-p-m in color. Printing media includes letter, card, executive and legal sized paper, and it can also process transparencies and photo paper, and more. It supports Bluetooth connectivity, as well as parallel, USB, Fast Infrared and Compact Flash cards. Pricing starts at $349.99. CELL PHONES You wake from a nap to find the kids playing catch in the pool — with your cell phone! Not to worry, if you’ve protected it in the Special Edition Small Waterproof Cell Phone Case, from Aquapac International Ltd. The small, foam-padded pouch protects your phone while you use it. Best of all: It floats and is waterproof to 15 feet. Pricing starts at $24.99. Nextel Communications says its i530 rugged, cellular flip phone also adheres to Military Standard 810 F for protection against dust, shock and vibration. The phone includes everything you’d expect: a 600-entry phonebook, a voice recorder, a recent call list, as well as Nextel’s signature walkie-talkie service. An attached cover protects accessory connectors on the bottom of the phone from dust and debris. It sells for $124.99. PDAs Need to do some quick research? Just pull out your PDA. Both LexisNexis and West are offering wireless access to their research services. BlackBerry users can access LexisNexis to get a variety of content, including full-text news, public records, regulatory and legislative information, and more, via LexisNexis Publisher. Subscribers to the current LexisNexis Publisher service get wireless access for free. West Group reports that almost any PDA that has Web access can receive Westlaw Wireless, the free, mobile version of Westlaw, including cases, statutes, regulations, news, topical materials and more. Users can use Keycite to check citations, and can access the West Legal Directory. LIFESAVER Here’s one last item to put in your online shopping card. While not technically a work tool, it can save you a lot of anxiety, time and money: the Floating Key Buoy from Seachoice Products of Pompano Beach, Fla. The watertight, bright-colored floating buoy holds keys and money. It’s the best five dollars a water enthusiast can spend on any “technology.” Contributing Editor Richard Peck can be reached at [email protected].

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