Dual-Deck VCR a good tape editor, `commercial killer' I...

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November 19, 2001|By Kevin Washington

Dual-Deck VCR a good tape editor, `commercial killer'

I hate commercials as much as the next guy. I've tried to use the remote to speed through them when I've videotaped something from television or paused the recording during commercials if I happen to be in front of the set while it's taping. Both solutions leave me unsatisfied.

It's all a great reason to remove commercial television entirely from your life - unless you get Go-Video's latest Dual-Deck VCR from Sensory Science. I've come to dub the DDV2110 the "commercial killer."

Go-Video's VHS VCR ($250) has two four-head hi-fi video cassette recording decks. You can use both decks to record sequentially for 12 hours or longer depending upon the types of videotapes you use. Or you can place the device in loop mode to keep playing Deck 1 to Deck 2 and back again. "Movie Advance" allows you to speed past trailers when you bring home a rental movie.

Other features abound, including ones to keep your tape from running out when you've misjudged how much videotape you'll need for a 2-hour-10 minute movie (it will switch the mode from SP to SLP if it discerns your tape will run out before the recording time) as well as a way to edit your VHS home videotapes by rearranging scenes and adding voice-overs and on-screen written titles.

My favorite feature, however, was what Go-Video calls "Commercial Free Copy." Plug in two blank tapes and set up the timer to record. Once the initial recording is finished, the first deck begins recording to the second deck - leaving out commercials that were marked electronically upon initial recording.

For economy sake, the buttons on the remote and the deck require you to carefully choose which deck (or line in) that you want to operate, then push the right buttons. You'll need to be especially attentive when recording with the VCR.

Information: 480-998-3400 or www.govideo.com.

VAIO notebook packs lots of power in slim design

Sony's VAIO notebook computers make slim travel companions that can be toted without a three-month weightlifting regimen before use. The new VAIO SuperSlim Pro R505JLP ($1,600) has the highly recognizable slender VAIO style (at 3.75 pounds and 1 inch thick) yet packs a decent electronic punch for any student or business person on-the-go.

The R505JL has a 750MHz Pentium III processor, a 12.1-inch screen, 128MB of RAM, an electro-static touch pad to control the mouse and a 15-gigabyte hard drive. A Memory Stick media slot and IEEE 1394 port (called Firewire or iLink) can be used for multimedia downloads such as pictures or video.

The 505JLP comes with a docking station with a DVD player that increases the VAIO's weight a tiny bit and adds another inch or so of thickness. Opposite the side with the DVD drawer is a slot for a 3.5-inch disk.

One snazzy move that I liked about the VAIO we tested was the placement of USB ports at opposite ends of the computer. I've plugged some devices, such as a Compact Flash Card reader, into side by side USB ports that required I have nothing else plugged into the second port.

When the screen came on, however, I was annoyed that it was so dark. After using the function keys to brighten the screen, I was warned by Sony representatives that the setting is lost any time you change the power source.

Otherwise, my VAIO experience was nearly perfect except for getting Windows XP Professional, Microsoft's new operating system, running. When I called Microsoft to get Windows activated (which is required with the operating system), I was told that I had to get the activation number from Sony.

After I chatted with a confused Sony technician who had no activation numbers, I decided to call Microsoft again and see if I could use a soft-shoe approach to getting an activation code. That worked. Be aware that as you buy any new computer, you may run into Windows XP activation hurdles that require a little patience.

Information: 888-595-8246 or www.sonystyle.com/vaio/.

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