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The Latest Things

By Ernest Lilley

The Cellular Telephone and Internet Association's fall show isn't nearly as large as its spring one, next to be held in New Orleans, but it's full of buzz and new product releases and in no danger of dying off. This year it was held in San Francisco, which was a bit of a stretch for me, bounding out from the east coast and the cellular center of regulation in DC. But it so happened that I was going to be attending a wedding in LA the weekend before-that of my friend and fellow BYTE.com correspondent Alex Pournelle to a really great gal from St. Louis. There's a certain amount of mystery in how they hooked up back in 2001.but I suspect the internet.

So I found myself "commuting" up to San Francisco from Ontario, California on an early morning flight with my antenna quivering for cellular tidbits. In the airport I got into a conversation in one of the several long security lines about cellular number portability, and anecdotes (included my own) indicate that while Sprint doesn't make it easy to move a number between carriers, that doesn't mean you should take no for an answer. On the other hand, it can be handy to refresh your numbers if you're getting married (note to Alex) so that you're only separated by a single digit.

In the air, I came across some interesting products in Southwest's October issue of SPIRIT magazine, which was featuring a list of travel goodies. I liked Targus 's latest Universal ac/dc Notebook Power Adapter that works with PDAs, cellphones, MP3 players, digital cameras and-oh yes-laptops, and takes power from wall plugs or car outlets with equal zeal ($129.99). Even more interesting was the Sidewinder , a Zippo-lighter-sized, hand-cranked generator for putting power back into your cellphone. Even if you don't need to charge your phone, you can use its high intensity LED flashlight after a few cranks. For only $24.9