Business Excuse: Create digitized photos for sales presentations and your company's Web site.
Power Tool: Kodak DC20 Digital Camera
Why You Really Want It: To morph that cantankerous client's face, and leave him looking like Uncle Fester.
The smallest, easiest to use, and least expensive digital camera out there. Just turn it on, point, and click. Connect the tiny DC20 to a computer with the supplied serial cable.
Weak Factor: The low-resolution, 24-bit color photos won't win any photography awards.
Coordinates: $350. Eastman Kodak Co., 800-508-1531; www.kodak.com
Business Excuse: Record video clips and photos for online demos.
Power Tool: VideoLabs FlexCam PlaNETView
Why You Really Want It: Make a video of your team lip-synching Neil Diamond's campy "Sweet Caroline."
Use the PCI capture board included with the package to connect the FlexCam to your computer. You can record video clips, take still images, or do a little videoconferencing on the Net, using the supplied CU-SeeMe software.
Weak Factor: You have to open up your computer to install the video capture card.
Coordinates: $529. VideoLabs Inc., 800-467-7157; http://www.flexcam.com
Business Excuse: Visual immersion for those, um, important data-analysis programs.
Power Tool: Virtual i-Os VPC i-glasses!
Why You Really Want It: You'll never be distracted from a "Quake" deathmatch again.
It's the best virtual headset so far. Two miniature LCD screens sit in front of your eyes, and adjustable headphones rest over your ears. A clip-on visor keeps the rest of the world at bay.
Weak Factor: The Virtual i-O setup uses a cabling box that requires a little extra effort to plug in.
Coordinates: $499. Virtual i-O, 800-646-3759; http://www.vio.com
Business Excuse: You need to surf the Web to compile market research.
Web Site: Thingys On The Net
Why You Really Want It: You've just got to know what's happening in AOL's parking lot.
The Thingys on the Net site applies the maximum amount of technology to the silliest tasks. Case in point: a live camcorder, aimed at AOL's parking lot, broadcasts the picture on the Web. Why? Why not?
Weak Factor: None. The geek factor is so high here, it eclipses any weak factor.
A version of this article appeared in the Dec 1996/Jan 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.