Where are you going? Where have you been? eTrex Legend...

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April 16, 2001

Where are you going? Where have you been? eTrex Legend knows

Quite possibly the coolest gadget on the planet, Garmin's eTrex Legend is the perfect blend of high technology and user-friendly functionality.

Whether you're walking, hiking, boating, flying or driving, this $250 hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver is accurate to within spitting distance. With built-in maps spanning the globe and still more ready for download, Legend is an interactive, practically intelligent pocket navigator for all seasons. It takes readings from as many as 12 different satellites every second and is thereby able to accurately calculate not only one's current position on the planet, but also one's elevation, bearing and velocity, all superimposed (optionally) over detailed maps and displayed on its backlit LCD screen.

The eTrex Legend can also reveal your average travel speed and even an estimated time of arrival to any pre-selected way point. The automatic track log feature lets you retrace your steps, should you think about getting lost - which isn't actually possible with this thing in hand. Appropriately programmed, it will even give you advance warning of forks in a path, turns at an intersection, points of interest or the looming presence of a local beef and brew. Now that's a navigator.

Information: www.garmin.com or 800-800-1020.

Shaun Conlin/Cox

Rio Receiver lets you spread the music around

That library of hundreds of songs, symphonies and sonatas stored on a computer in your home office or den is a phonic treasure trove. Now to get it to the living room or kitchen, where you spend much more time listening to music.

One of the first products that streams PC-based digital music to anywhere in your house with a phone jack is the Rio Receiver from SONICBlue that shipped last month starting at $299.

The Rio Receiver is a little platinum-colored console that is smaller than a bread box with pleasant chalk blue buttons. It sets up easily, comes with a remote control and performs as advertised, playing music in MP3 or Windows Media formats.

I happen to have a network connection in the living room, so installation was simple. I just plugged it in to the network and to a pair of quality speakers in the room. If, like most people, your home is not networked, you'll have to buy a more expensive $349 model.

The extra $50 pays for a PCI card you insert into the computer that enables streaming over existing home phone wiring. To be thorough, I installed the PCI card and went the phone wiring route, too. Everything worked fine.

On the networked PC in my basement office where my music resides, I loaded the software that shipped with the Rio. After installation, the program asked to scan my hard drives for music files and permission was granted.

Then I went upstairs, pressed the Rio Receiver's power button and watched the display for signs of a connection to the server software. With the remote, I searched for songs by artist, title or album. Searching by genre or other groupings you've created on the computer is possible The remote manages volume and tone control, but you can't sit too far away if you wish to read the smallish display.

The Home PNA networking standard the Receiver uses allows you to set up as many as eight units in your home off a single computer server.

Information: www.riohome. com/products/receiver.htm

Frank Bajak/AP

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