If you can't type, yet want to write perfect letters or memos without the help of a secretary, Microwriter could be the answer. It resembles a large pocket calculator, but has only five main keys, which fit the relaxed finger positions of your right hand. Individual alphabet letters are formed by an easily learned finger code, in which one or more keys are pressed for each character.
A new hand-held calculator I've been trying has features—plug-in peripheral slots, scrolling alphanumeric display, "musical" beep-boop sounds— that are familiar to users of typewriter-size personal computers [PS, Nov. '79]. But in a pocket programmable, Hewlett-Packard's new 41C, these features and others add up to exceptional versatility.
Computers may be storehouses of information, but to release it they must be addressed in a special language. Now Philips in Holland has devised a system that understands questions in English, so more people have access to the data bank. This gives an organization's computer far wider use, and points to exciting future developments for home units.
CB in the dark CB can be a lifesaver—but it can also endanger your life if you're fumbling with controls in the dark while driving. This GE Night Bright rig, however, is designed to be seen—the entire front panel lights up for a quick pick at dials when needed. It's $149.95.
By DAVID SCOTT Track-guided city buses combining the advantages of road and rail transport could help lick urban traffic problems. That's the idea of Mercedes-Benz in Germany. The company has devised a remarkably simple automatic steering system for this dual-mode operation. Track guidance could segregate buses from other vehicles at traffic bottleneck points, where they'd speed along unhindered on special roadways at ground level, or over or under streets.
Always forgetting appointments? Two new $100 calculators that store alphanumeric messages also have date, time, and alarm functions. When an alarm beeps, your stored reminders are spelled out on LCD's. Toshiba's LC-1038MN has 30 memories to store messages at dates and times up to one year ahead. The owner's manual, though, has tiny print and a format that makes it tough to learn how to use this model.
Translations and instant info are only the beginning By BILL HAWKINS "Want to try a Ramos Fizz?" asked Eliot Hess, a representative for the Craig Corporation, as he pushed a couple of buttons on his hand-held language translator. The display blackened for a moment and then, like a Times Square billboard, began spewing the secret ingredients to a drink I didn't even know existed. Not only did it tell me I needed such things as one-half teaspoon of orange-flower water; it also told me how to mix and serve the concoction.
Probe I Ford’s latest idea is Probe I— a concept car for the late 1980’s. The sleek surface and design cut air drag to 0.25— lower than any American car on the market. Projected fuel economy: 39 mpg at 55 mph. For long trips there are stereo, TV, and computer games.
Aim, tee off—this system shows you the next lie By BILL HAWKINS Ah, it's a beautiful day for golf at Pebble Beach. The water's sparkling, the sky's blue, and the wind—oops, forgot to program in the wind. No problem, though: Just push the right buttons and a gentle, five-knot breeze blows in from the north. No, you can't feel it, nor can you run your fingers through the fairway water hazard before you—but you'd better take them into account before teeing up. You'll need more than a stroke of luck to win in this new computer-controlled Par-T-Golf game.