A better idea: Rex Pro holds lots of data in credit-card...

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September 21, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn

A better idea: Rex Pro holds lots of data in credit-card size

When the REX PC-Card Organizer premiered last winter, everyone went gaga over its tiny credit card size and crisp LCD screen. Powered by two lithium watch batteries, weighing 1.4 ounces and measuring 3 inches by 2 inches by 1/4 inch, the REX could be plugged into a laptop PC card slot or into a desktop computer with a docking station. It was bundled with with a personal information management software (address book, task organizer, appointment calendar, etc.) that could be synchronized with a desktop organizer.

Even though the first generation REX was impressive the lack of buiilt-in data entry capability turned off potential customers.

Introducing REX Pro ($230). The new version is the same size and has the same functions but adds data entry and editing capability. There's no touch screen or stylus - you enter data by moving the cursor along rows of letters and numbers.

It's funky, and you wouldn't want to do a lot of entry this way, but it's nice to be able to add an address or change a phone number. The new model also doubles the number of records it can hold to 6,000 and comes with the docking station. REX can synchronize with MS Outlook, Lotus Organizer, Sidekick and other popular desktop organizer programs.

Information: 609-386-2500 or www.franklin.com/rex

Got an old Mac you'd rather not send to the landfill? Sonnet Technologies has a line of G3 processor cards for older Power Macs. G3 is shorthand for the latest incarnation of the PowerPC chip developed by an Apple/IBM/Motorola alliance. It's substantially faster and uses significantly less power than previous PowerPC chips, but until recently, there was no upgrade path for first generation PowerPCs.

A handful of companies announced G3 upgrade cards this year, and Sonnet's Crescendo was one of the first available. The promise is seductive: for a few hundred dollars you can have performance approaching Apple's new machines for a fraction of the cost.

The Crescendo card I got, the 215-225 MHz model ($500), is surprisingly small, about 1 inch high and 6 inches long. I loaded the driver software, shut down my geriatric PowerMac 7100/80, and plugged in the card. Installation was a breeze. Even a nontechie can be up and running in a few minutes.

The only real drawback is that the Crescendo card goes into the Processor Direct Slot normally occupied by the Mac's video card. You have to remove the video card to use the faster lTC processor. Without the video card, the monitor is limited to a resolution of 832 by 624 and 256 colors. There's an additional card you can buy to restore high-resolution video and full color support for another $200.

For first-generation owners who are unwilling or unable to invest in a new computer, Sonnet's Crescendo cards are the most economical processor upgrade available. The dramatic performance increase will satisfy all but the most discriminating users, and the Crescendo's easy installation and stability make it a painless choice. Information: 800-786-6260 or on the Web: www.sonnettech.com

You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.

Andrew Sasaki

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