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Logitech recently introduced top-of-the-line computer speakers, the Z Cinema Advanced Surround Sound System. It offers sound that surrounds you but with the basic 2.1 configuration: a left and right speaker with a subwoofer for gut-vibrating bass. Incorporating SR TruSurround HD, this technology puts you in the middle of a large "sweet spot." Normally you have be centrally positioned with five speakers to get the feeling of being immersed. But using some really sophisticated audio projection techniques via electronic controls, you really do get the feeling that what you are hearing is coming from all around you. You really have to hear it to believe it. The Z Cinema offers 180 watts RMS of power. And while there are other speaker systems that offer more wattage, that level is more than enough to provide a quality sound with little distortion even when you really crank up the volume. A nice feature is an included wireless remote control. Z Cinema only supports computers running Windows.

Craig Crossman, McClatchy-Tribune News Service


Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Price: $59.99

Company: Sony Computer

Platform: PlayStation3

Rating: E (everyone)

Insomniac Games, developer of the excellent PS3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man, may have topped itself with Tools of Destruction, the latest title in the lighthearted Ratchet & Clank series. That militaristic first-person shooter and this shooter platformer have something else in common: innovative, fun-to-play weapons. Ratchet, a catlike mechanic, and his witty robot pal Clank, have a disco ball that makes their enemies dance convulsively. Another "tool" is a tornado launcher that unleashes a whirlwind that can be controlled by tilting the PS3 controller. The plot - an evil emperor is out to kill Ratchet - serves well enough to introduce the frenetic action, but the script is clever and will elicit a chuckle or two. Graphically, Tools is a real stunner, with vibrant colors and imaginative, detailed environments. Unlike earlier games in the series, Tools lacks any sort of multiplayer mode, but that's about the only flaw in this fast-paced gem.

George Mathis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Toshiba Portege R500


As far as gadgets go, the Toshiba Portege R500 can hang with the supermodels. It's sexy, superthin and ultralight. But like most laptops in its class, you pay for the weight that's missing. At 2.4 pounds and 0.7-inches tall, the R500 still amazingly squeezes in a DVD drive and a full-size keyboard. Its ultrathin 12.1-inch widescreen display uses a backlit LED screen instead of the typical LCD, though some might contend it almost feels too fragile since it could flex a little. But LED display technology is one of the key ways Toshiba and its rivals are achieving ever thinner laptops. A model with a state-of-the-art flash-based 64-gigabyte hard drive but no DVD drive is even lighter at 1.74 pounds, but it costs about $500 more.

Peter Svensson and May Wong, Associated Press

TECH TIP- Bill Husted, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Looking for basic, but thorough, introductions to computer usage for seniors? I know of a great way to learn. It's called SeniorNet, The Web site will help you find a chapter nearby. (There's a learning center in Tampa at University of South Florida). Learn more at or call (813) 974-8037.)