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NIKON'S D60 DIGITAL CAMERA

GADGET

$748, www.nikon.com

Are you an avid shooter or a casual shutterbug? If you're somewhere in between, go for an entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera such as the new D60 from Nikon Corp. It combines professional-level features, such as fairly fast shooting speed, great picture quality and a good deal of creative control, with the relative simplicity of a point-and-shoot camera. The D60, at $749 including a zoom lens, features a 10-megapixel image sensor, built-in flash, a SecureDigital card slot, a rechargeable battery with a charger and the usual ports, USB and video out. It's also inherited features from Nikon's professional models, including an automatic dust-cleaning function. The standard starter kit I tested came with an 18-55 millimeter lens with Nikon's VR vibration-reduction technology, which reduces blur if the camera moves during a shot. Based on my informal tests, the D60 was quite capable and fun to use.

Grace Aquino, Bloomberg News

VIDEO GAME

Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties

Price: $29.99

Company: Microsoft

Platform: PC

Rating: T (teen)

The Age of Empires series is getting a little long in the tooth, but for real-time strategy fans the latest expansion pack, which focuses on medieval Asia, is worth every yen. What does the new disc bring to the world-domination party? Three new civilizations with custom units and buildings, 15 new wonders, a new "export" resource, several new historical campaigns and three new online match types. The new civs - China, India and Japan - have very different personalities. The Chinese are excellent defenders and can quickly amass huge armies; the Indians can build powerful building-smashing elephant units; the aggressive Japanese are masters of fast-moving attacks. The best of the new online modes is "King of the Hill," which tasks a player with defending a castle against all opponents.

George Mathis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GADGET

Ugobe's Pleo Dinosaur

$349.99, amazon.com

For about two months I've been playing with a baby dinosaur - a Camarasaurus from the Jurassic period. It coos, barks, shakes, cries and plays tug of war. Ugobe calls Pleo a "life form" because unlike most robots that are designed to follow a command or algorithm, Pleo alters its behavior as it adapts to its surroundings including sights, sounds and touch. And it's designed to move and act in ways that seem very much like a real animal. In short, I found Pleo to be a fun and interesting robot/life form. Though Pleo's reactions and movements are endearing, many of them run together after a while with only subtle differences, especially compared with fast-paced video games. Pleo's battery is still a major drawback. It's rechargeable, but only lasts for about an hour of active play before it must be removed and placed in a holder for three hours of recharging, a frustrating hurdle. But Ugobe's plans to introduce downloadable updates and to let others create programs may give new life to the clever creature.

Katherine Boehret, Wall Street Journal

Tech tip- Bill Husted, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Want to clean your flat monitor screen? First, put down the Windex - it will yellow LCD screens. Use a half-and-half mixture of alcohol and water. Make sure you are using isopropyl alcohol and not "rubbing alcohol." Spray it on the screen, like you would with Windex (but go easy) and use a soft, clean cloth to rub in a soft downward motion.

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