KNIFE LIFE Was there anything swanker than the foldout scissors on your Swiss Army knife? O.K., maybe the toothpick. But even that pales in comparison with the newest feature on Swiss Army's stylish Voyager knife ($70): a digital alarm clock. Think of the possibilities. Now, besides uncorking bottles, screwing screws, picking teeth and opening cans of smoked sprats, you can be awakened before reveille.
DISC THROWING So did you finally go out and buy a DVD player? Well, now a consortium of electronics makers is working on a new, incompatible DVD standard. The platform will play only so-called Blu-ray discs, which are encoded using short-wavelength blue-violet lasers to burn extra-narrow tracks of data. The new discs will hold roughly 27 gigabytes--about five times standard capacity, or enough room for 13 hours of TV shows. Look for new Blu-ray players in late 2003, if you have any room left on your component shelf.
TONING UP The Sony Net MD media player ($350) is the first MiniDisc player designed for people who like music with their workouts. It features G-Protection jostle proofing, can record CDs via a PC without copying anything to the hard drive and uses $2 MiniDiscs, which hold up to 110 hours of music. You can't simply drag song files from your computer and drop them onto the player, but you can record at high-capacity 32X, which is pretty buff.
--By Roy B. White