Thu, Dec 28, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Technology Review

That may be what inspired a recent experiment by engineers at Kingston Technology. One backed his Nissan 350Z over the company's new Data Traveler Secure Privacy Edition to test its waterproof titanium case. It survived with the data intact, but needed a session with some pliers to mate it with a PC again.

The 7.6cm device, priced from US$53 to US$297 in sizes from 512 megabytes to 4 gigabytes, will be available at major online retailers this week. The data inside is not just password-protected but also scrambled using high-strength 256-bit encryption.

In a feature reminiscent of Mission: Impossible, an onboard 32-bit processor erases the drive if there are 10 consecutive failed attempts to log in. After the data has been destroyed, the unit can be reset and reused, but those secrets are gone.

EUROPEAN MP3 PLAYER IS MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE AND WHEEL

In the world of MP3 players, there's the iPod and then there's everything else. The TrekStor Vibez is a player that stands out even among the dozens of "everything elses" on the market.

The German-designed Vibez plays MP3 and Windows Media files and displays cover art and photos on its 1.25-inch-by-1-inch screen. The eight-gigabyte version holds about 2,000 songs; the 12-gigabyte model holds about 3,000.

What separates the Vibez from the rest of the pack are its clean lines and unusual scroll wheel. The front of the player is clad in rubberized plastic, while the back is chromed metal. The wheel actually spins, unlike the touch-sensitive version on recent iPod models, and it has a lighted marker that increases in brightness as it approaches the four cardinal points.

The Vibez generates playlists based on variables like the number of times played, and has a "cover version" feature that finds songs re-recorded by other artists.

Originally sold in Europe, the Vibez is available from online retailers. While it won't knock the iPod off its pedestal, the streamlined Vibez might just be the belle of the ball.

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