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Technology Review

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IN A FLASH FROM THE PAST, A DIGITAL CAMERA WITH KNOBS

The Canon PowerShot G7 was overlooked by many at last week's Photokina camera show in Germany. At a squarish 340g, it won't ride lightly in a shirt pocket, and it lacks the gleaming, curvy body of Canon's more compact models. But serious photographers will appreciate the inner beauty of its 10-megapixel sensor and professional-level abilities.

A new image processor, the Digic III, can capture low-grain pictures at ISO 1600, ideal for dim scenes and fast action. Voice recording lets you note who was in that double play at second base, and the lens extends a longer-than-most 210mm. Image stabilization minimizes the effects of shaky hands; a hot shoe takes an external flash.

The retro design of the G7, which is due out later this month, brings back nostalgic features that are also highly usable. Knurled knobs click through settings that can be checked with a glance and without squinting at a menu, and a real viewfinder lets eyeglass wearers see without refocusing on the display.

A POST-IT NOTE WILL DO AS A HELIPAD

Designed for daring intercubicle search-and-rescue missions, or for annoying your sister, the Micro Mosquito from Interactive Toy Concepts is a tiny high-tech toy helicopter that flies like the real deal. This radio-controlled copter can soar, dive and even hover in place.

The Mosquito is rechargeable and flies for about eight minutes on one charge. This indoor toy includes a controller and a landing pad that doubles as a recharging platform.

The entire helicopter is 15cm long with rotors 16cm in diameter, and weighs less than 28g.

You can launch the Mosquito from any surface — a table, a hand or the floor — and it has two beady green LED eyes for night missions. It is made to work in small spaces but is susceptible to breezes and fans, making flights a bit dangerous if the window is open.

The mischief and mayhem available to owners of the Micro Mosquito is quite apparent, but remember, humanitarian missions are also encouraged. An airlift of office supplies, perhaps?

PULL HD SIGNALS FROM THE AIR AND RECORD THEM

While most of us have yet to figure out how to watch Lost in high definition, some out there are already eager to record HD video on their PCs and laptops. For that crowd, there is the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick, a device that can receive high-definition video over the air or from a digital cable box.

The Pro Stick is a small adapter, about the size of a thumb drive, that plugs into a USB port and comes with a remote control. You can connect a digital cable line to it to receive 1080i video — the highest resolution available from most broadcasters right now — or use a standard cable line or antenna to pick up programs broadcast by the major networks.

The Pro Stick includes PC software that turns your Windows computer into an HD digital video recorder. (The company says Macintosh support is on the way.) It can also save video directly to a DVD, an iPod or a Sony PSP.

Pinnacle warns that you may not be able to pick up HD broadcasts in a moving vehicle, in case you were tempted to channel-surf in a car or a 747.

ANOTHER SHOT AT SPACE INVADERS

If you or someone you love has ever suffered an addiction to Space Invaders, the VG Pocket Caplet offers a chance to shoot at those aliens once again.

Install three AAA batteries and you'll see a menu of 35 games, including complete editions of Taito Space Invaders Part II and Bust-A-Move. A note for anyone younger than 30: These are the games your parents used to play.

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