genuinely free report every 12
months if you ask for it. Just go to
keep your $14.95. That way, you’ll
have more to spend on replica
watches and enlargement pills.
■ The Printstik pocket printer for PCs
The PS910 is a pocket-size (1 x 10. 75
x 1.5 in) thermal printer that weighs
only 1 lb (460 g) and runs off its
internal lithium polymer battery (or
AC adapter, if an outlet is available).
You conveniently send the image
to it via your PC’s USB port or wirelessly using Bluetooth connectivity.
Performance isn’t quite up to office
standards, though, with a maximum
resolution of 200 x 400 dpi and
throughput of “up to” 3 ppm. It also
takes three hours to charge it up.
You only get 30 pages per
charge, so don’t expect to print War
and Peace while sitting in your airline
seat. Even less appealing is the cost,
which is $299 for the printer and
$24.99 for a three-pack of paper.
With 20 pages per roll, you’re
looking at almost $0.42 per page.
But if you need it, well, you need it.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PLANON.
recently introduced by Data Robotics
www.drobo.com). Billed as the
fastest box in its class for managing
and storing digital information, it now
incorporates Fire Wire 800
and “dramatically improved”
USB 2.0 performance, along
with redundant data protection
and hot expansion up to 16 TB.
an upgraded core processor,
two FireWire 800 (FireWire
400 compatible) ports, and
newly optimized firmware. It
works with Windows, Mac OS,
and Linux and their native file
systems. The basic (i.e., no drives
included) Fire Wire/USB four-bay
Drobo lists for $499, but you can get
a USB-only version for $150 less. For
$899, you get the box plus two 1 TB
Western Digital drives, and $1,200
gets you four drives.
■ More electric vehicles — from
bikes to trucks — are entering the
FREE AIN’T FREE
STORE TERABY TES
If you’re a video editor, prolific photographer, or anyone else who needs
to back up and store large chunks of
data, you may be interested in the
second-generation Drobo product
PHOTO COURTES Y OF DATA ROBOTICS.
Television and radio outlets are still
being plastered with the creepy
little dweeb singing about freecredit
report.com, so confused consumers
apparently are still falling into this
Internet black hole. It’s worth noting
that in 2005, this subsidiary of
Experian® settled FTC charges of
deceptive marketing by paying
reparations to deceived consumers
and forfeiting $950,000 in ill-gotten
gains. But nothing much has
changed. The problem is that
when you request a free report,
you automatically are signed up
for a trial membership in the
“Triple Advantage” program. If you
don’t cancel within seven days,
your credit card will begin accruing
charges of $14.95 per month. But
federal law requires the three credit
reporting companies to provide a
■ The Drobo automated data storage
device (open front) features Fire Wire
800 and USB 2.0 connectivity.
With cheap oil being a
thing of the past, people are increasingly taking
a look at electric vehicles.
Although they cannot yet
compete with internal
combustion in terms
of power, comfort, or
range, a few are looking attractive for local
transportation. On the
two-wheeled level is the California-built
Jackal bicycle, available from a number
of dealers including
ev.com. It offers considerably better
performance than you might expect.
Powered by a 15 hp Briggs &
Straton Etek motor, it has a top speed
of around 45 mph ( 72 kph) and a
range of 20 to 25 miles ( 32 to 40
km) on a charge. It sports some nice
features like double-walled alloy rims,
a hand-crafted brazed chromoly tube
frame, and a choice of slick or
knobby tires. Unfortunately, it costs
$3,400 for the standard model and
$3,700 for the performance version.
If you’ve got that much money to
spend on a bike, you might consider
upping the ante to $12,500, which gets
you a Xebra Truck from ZAP! (for zero
This three-wheeler goes up to 40
mph ( 65 kph) and 25 miles on a
charge, seats two, and carries about
1,000 lb (450 kg).
Options include leather seats, an
upgraded radio/CD player, and a
solar panel ($1,500) for extended
range. Options do not include an air
conditioner or jaws of life for prying
you out of a Hummer’s grille.
October 2008 13