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In anticipation of the imminent sale of our house back in England, we decided that some retail therapy was in order this weekend.

My top 3 toys are:

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Samsung SyncMaster 213T, a 21" flatscreen that looks really nice at 1600x1200. I have the silver version. You can rotate it into portrait mode and work at 1200x1600, which is an interesting new perspective for productivity. You'll need a chair with adjustable height control though, as the extra couple of inches of height are enough to require that you tilt your head back to read the top of the screen.

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Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop, Comfort Edition, a not-so-severe take on the "Natual" keyboard idea--makes it much easier to transition between it and a laptop keyboard. If you've ever found yourself tapping the blank space between the two halves of a natural keyboard, you'll appreciate this one.

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IOGEAR MiniView(tm) Micro USB PLUS KVM Switch an inexpensive USB KVM that allows me to use the keyboard and screen (and audio too, but I don't have that hooked up) with my machine and share it with Juliette's G4.

It all works very nicely, except that the KVM is a little too cheap to realize that the optical desktop needs only a single USB connector for both the mouse and keyboard. Depending on which port you plug into, you can either use only the keyboard (no mouse), or use the keyboard and mouse, but can't use any hotkeys to switch the KVM over to the other machine. My workaround for this was to use the latter, and plug in an older USB keyboard to the other socket and simply double-tap the scroll-lock key on that one when I need to make the switch. I have the second keyboard stowed under the desk but sitting on top of the G4--within easy tapping reach, and away from the desk top.

Why they can't just have a button on the top of the KVM itself eludes me, but at least it works and it didn't cost a fortune.


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