Burn your own Blu-ray discs
AMEX BDR-2 PORTABLE BLU-RAY RECORDER ($389): The high-definition format wars are over, but if all that corporate combat got you excited for Blu-ray HD DVDs, you'll be pleased to see the relatively low-cost BDR-2 by Amex, a $389 portable Blu-ray recorder for Macs and PCs.
The drive burns CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs at standard speeds. It plays back all Blu-ray discs and even supports double-layer Blu-ray disc reading and writing, for storing up to 50 gigabytes on one disc.
The drive requires Mac or Windows software – it includes only a cable and drivers – and connects to any USB port. It weighs 12 ounces and is 5 inches wide by 5 inches long. It comes in black or white.
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The BDR-2 is expected to be available online and in stores next month. Blu-ray may not have a terribly long future (because of the increasing availability of HD downloads), so buying a BDR-2 for less than other Blu-ray burners cost may be a smart move. JOHN BIGGS, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Laptop lite can go in purse, or even pocket
HEWLETT-PACKARD MINI 1000 MINIATURE NOTEBOOK COMPUTER ($379): Hewlett-Packard is getting small. A gaggle of miniaturized notebooks, announced this week and collectively called the Mini 1000, will be available in various configurations that begin at $379.
The group is described as less capable than full-fledged laptops, but ideal for using the Internet on the go.
Most models operate with Windows XP, including a $399 version available this week, fitted out with an 8.9-inch screen and an 8-gigabyte solid-state drive. For $50 more, buyers can get a 10.2-inch screen without increasing the case size (10.3 by 6.6 by 0.99 inches). Other variations include larger-capacity solid-state and revolving hard drives.
A Linux version with mobile applications will be $379 when it ships in January. All have Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth is an option. A cellular-data version is due out in December. MARTY KATZ, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Turn old slides, negatives into digital images
BROOKSTONE ICONVERT SLIDE AND NEGATIVE SCANNER ($130): Preserving digitally made memories is easy and inexpensive. The same cannot be said about that pile of slides and negatives from your 1984 Halloween party. The iConvert Slide and Negative Scanner from Brookstone is a welcome alternative to paying a professional. Plug the 35-millimeter scanner into your computer's USB port, hit scan, and the iConvert will use its 5-megapixel sensor and 3,600-dots-per-inch enhancement to save images to your desktop.
The converter works with Windows XP and Vista and comes with its own photo-editing software. NEW YORK TIMES