The Mouse-in-a-Box Scroll ($30) is the latest version of Kensington's inexpensive and utilitarian Mouse-in-a-Box. This version is similar to its older sibling but has an added wheel between the two standard mouse buttons that can be used for clicking or scrolling.
With the included Scroll Mouse software, you can assign standard Windows functions to the rubber wheel in its button mode (used by pushing on the top of the wheel). Actions available include close, double-click, maximize window, open Internet Explorer, etc. In its scrolling mode, you can set up the wheel to scroll horizontally and vertically. An Auto Scroll function (for automatically scrolling documents) and a zooming function (increasing or decreasing document magnification) are available in Microsoft Office 97 (or later) applications and Internet Explorer 3.0 or later versions.
Information: (800) 535-4242 or www.kensington.com.
Storm Technology's TotalScan is an inexpensive ($130) flatbed scanner that delivers excellent quality and versatility for the money. It's marketed as a complete scanner solution: all of the hardware and software you need to do everything from vanity scanning (pictures of the kids or family pets) to small office jobs such as desktop publishing, Web site scanning, document translation and archiving.
The TotalScan boasts 1,200-by-600 dot-per-inch optical resolution (and 9,600 dpi enhanced resolution), 30-bit color, automatic JPEG image compression and support for GIF, TIFF, BMP, and Photo CD graphic formats.
It also uses ClearScan II, color correction software that's built into EasyPhoto, Storm's scanner and image-handling application. It sends the image through a "color pipeline" that corrects inaccuracies and ostensibly results in more accurate color reproduction.
The unit ships with three software bundles for photo processing, document management and Internet publishing. Some of the software is useful, while some is novelty stuff (create your own greeting cards).
The only major problem I experienced was the scanning speed. It's awfully slow -- leave the room kind of slow, Sylvester Stallone slow, U.S. Mail slow -- you get the idea. This probably wouldn't be a big deal for infrequent scanning, but if you have a steady diet of material to feed this little beast, its molasses-like response can become a real nuisance.
For information, call (650) 969-9555 or on the Web at: www.stormtech.com.
You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.