Today's 10Base-T local area Ethernet networks run at 10Mbits per second, which is already pretty damn quick. How reassuring, therefore that 100VG, Hewlett Packard's proposed successor to 10Base-T, runs at 100 Mbits/second, a staggering 10 times faster. The new standard is compatible with existing Ethernet cables and PC network software, and comes with built-in multimedia support. Now there's no excuse for not getting those reports in on time.
10/100Mbit adapters: from £117. 15-port 100VG hub: £2,325. Hewlett Packard UK: +44 (01344) 369222.
At last! A PC-based video-conferencing system that shares picture, program and voice data over normal phone lines. Sure, the frame rate isn't that hot (a maximum of 15 fps when using the smallest video window), but your savings in ISDN bills should more than compensate. The ShareVision PC 3000 includes a camera, a hands-free headset, audio and video cards, and a modem - everything you need, in fact, right down to a cute blocky compression artefact that appears when there's noise on the line.
ShareVision PC 3000: £999. Creative Labs UK: +44 (01734) 344322.
The CruisePad looks just like a big-screen Newton, but it's really a wireless remote interface which can comfortably control your desktop computer from as far away as 500 feet (or a whopping 1,000 feet in open areas). It has a backlit screen, transfers data at 1.6 Mbits per second and is designed to be held in one hand. You can enter data using a configurable onscreen keyboard or a stylus. And don't worry about security - the radio signal is digitally scrambled for extra peace of mind.
CruisePad: US$1,399 (expected UK launch: June '95). Zenith Data Systems: +44 (01756) 702800.
Currently in use by the world's military, search-and-rescue teams and other emergency personnel in the toughest of environments, the Aquapac will keep your cellular phone safe from salt water, wind, sand and snow. Just slip the phone in the bag, and start making power calls while shooting down the rapids. Even if you lose your grip and the phone plunges into the deep, the perky Aquapac will bring it bobbing up to the surface. The casing can withstand depths of up to 15 feet, and temperatures of -42°C to 72°C.
APQ-M2: £12.95. Aquaman UK: +44 (0171) 738 4466.
The Future Joystick is like one of those Japanese robots that cleverly folds and unfolds into different creatures. Open out the steering wheel, and you've got motorcycle handlebars; another tweak and you've got an aircraft joystick. Compatible with most PC games and alll IBM-compatible computers, the joystick comes with a 15-pin connector for a second joystick, software to control sensitivity, a demo videotape, and a racing game.
The Future Joystick: US$139-199. DIT Export-Import Company Inc: +1 (213) 663 4096.
With an eye on the ever-expanding WWW DIY market, Silicon Graphics is bundling its Web-Magic HTML authoring software with the hardware that's required to create World Wide Web pages and make them available on the net. Under the slogan "To Author and To Serve", WebFORCE systems go from entry-level packages (the 133 MHz Indy workstation, with IndyCam digital video camera and CD-quality audio), right up to the high-end 3D-rendering power of the 200 MHz Indigo2 Extreme (with 128 Mbytes of RAM, 2 Gbyte hard drive).
WebFORCE bundles: £9,100-£37,430. Silicon Graphics: +44 (0800) 440440.
Here's a colour display screen to suit any situation. The FV-600 from Casio combines an internal speaker and 10-inch LCD video monitor, a rear screen projection system capable of displaying a 10- to 100-inch image, and all the necessary hardware to hook it up to any video signal. For on-the-road demos, the 13-poun EV-600 works with an optional 60-inch transportable screen that weighs just 10 pounds.
Casio EV-600 "Mega TV": US$1,950 (expected UK launch: Sept '95). Casio UK: +44 (0181) 450 9131.
Sampling technology has revolutionised modern music-making, but you don't need to be any kind of musician to enjoy a Micro Jammer - each of these 15cm-long mini-synths comes preprogrammed with six funky riffs that repeat each time you hit the keys. Although you have some control over the playback pitch and tempo, you can't change the basic melody, and you can't tune the Jammers to other instruments. Nor would you want to - these compact keyboard, drum and guitar combos are enough to drive your friends crazy all on their own.
Micro Jammers: £9.99. Toy Options Ltd: +44 (0161) 633 9800.