Razer Boomslang 2000 mouse boosts game players'

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September 11, 2000

Computer gaming is all about precision, and the Razer Boom- slang 2000 mouse has it.

The sleek, translucent black Boomslang is about five times more accurate than an average mouse, according to Razer. It's hard to disagree. In a variety of fast-paced action games, I found my shots generally landing right where I wanted them to.

In addition to sharp control, the Boomslang sports five programmable buttons. Thanks to the latest downloadable software drivers, players can assign single keyboard keys or a combination of keys to a particular button.

This feature is invaluable when playing a game that requires simultaneous keystrokes. For example, to enter a cheat code in the popular simulation game "The Sims," players have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift and C at the same time. With the Boomslang, that combination can be assigned to one button on the mouse.

One caveat: Not all games recognize all five of the mouse's buttons. I particularly had trouble getting a "Quake III Arena" demo to recognize one of them.

Ergonomically, the rather large mouse rests comfortably under your hand. Because it's symmetrical, the controller is suited for both right- and left-handed users.

The $99 Boomslang 2000 includes two games. The Boomslang 1000, with slightly fewer features, costs $69. If you're willing to drop that kind of cash, you won't be disappointed.

Information: 1-877-729-3796 or www.razerzone.com.

- Victor Godinez/KRT

I-Jam Portable 828 plays MP3s or CDs you make

If you store your MP3 music library on CDs, you're ready to take your tunes on the road. The I-Jam Portable MP3/CD Player (IJ-828) can play regular audio CDs as well as custom CDs you've made using your computer's CD-recordable or CD-rewriteable drive.

Most portable players can't handle a CD recorded in the MP3 format. Aside from saving the time and tinkering involved in converting MP3s to files that conventional CD players can use, the big advantage with I-Jam's player is storage. A regular audio CD can store perhaps a dozen songs of typical length, but an MP3 disc can hold as many as 150 compressed files.

Instructions with the IJ-828 are sparse, but anybody technically savvy enough to download songs in the MP3 format onto a computer, then burn them onto CDs, will have no problem figuring it out. The unit has headphone, line out and microphone jacks. It comes with an AC adapter and earphones.

Another nice feature, barely mentioned in the manual, is the record function. Through its mic jack (microphone not supplied), the unit can store up to eight minutes of digital audio.

The I-Jam Portable MP3-CD Player model IJ-828 sells for about $129.

Information: 1-888-326-4526 or www.ijamworld.com/manuals/ ij828manual.pdf.

- Kate Seago/KRT

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