E-biz tech review: An adapter for every outlet worldwide

No need to carry bulky array for power conversion

Don't be tempted to buy one of those bulky bags of adapters that supposedly fit your laptop's power plug into the outlets of every country in the world.

A much better choice is the Go!con, a small, $28 unit that actually fits an entire set of plugs into a single device smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

This new gizmo -- the successor to an earlier unit called the Sascom adapter -- changes its shape like a Transformer toy to fit your laptop plug into outlets in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The device doesn't convert the international 220-volt, 50Hz standard into the 110-volt, 60Hz found in the United States. But the power supplies of most laptops already handle this voltage conversion automatically. So all you need is to make your plug fit, which Go!com does nicely.

See http://www.madsonline.com@31.dk/757b for pictures and details, just in case you're suddenly chosen to attend that urgent conference in Timbuktu.

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Adobe has just released Photoshop Elements 2, which is a sliver of the price of the full Photoshop but with 90 percent of its big brother's features. Many people will even get Elements without paying, because numerous digital camera makers will bundle Elements free with their new items.

The cheaper application even has some new features that the older Photoshop doesn't. This is a good time, therefore, for you to get some tips from "Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions," a book on the new version by Mikkel Aaland, who wrote a well-received previous edition.

With full color printing throughout its pages, the new work is sure to open your eyes to some effects that your e-commerce site could probably use. Read more about it at http://www.amazon.com@isbn.at/0782141404 .


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1. Google.com, the world's most popular search engine, is being blocked by authorities in China, joining many other forbidden sites (http://news.bbc.co.uk@a2.tc/433).

2. Meanwhile, Yahoo.com is being criticized for agreeing to remove from its China portal any sites disliked by authorities (http://www.pcworld.com@n6.be/81b).

3. Is your site among thousands banned in China? Now you can find out with Harvard's real-time service that tests for you (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu@836.as/c03).

4. Dan Gillmor offers us a fascinating piece on the technology choices that made the Net grow and how they work today


5. Hot trend: With the holidays getting near, 84 percent of e-tailers now have "zoom" capabilities to display their wares (http://www.emarketer.com@a6r.ms/13d3).

6. Although mobile Net access has taken time to grow, a new study says 10 million Americans now surf on handheld devices (http://cyberatlas.internet.com@5a0.tc/17bb).

7. Almost 90 percent of Web sites are "orphans" that no other sites link to. Of the rest, two-thirds run Apache, a study finds (http://www.serverwatch.com@3n.be/1ba3).

8. All e-commerce sites use forms, but smart developers are using client-side validation for more elegant error flagging (http://www.webmasterbase.com@th.gs/1f8b).

9. A sneak peek at the beta Opera 7 browser shows it'll support dynamic content and other developer-friendly features


10. You've gotta see this: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in an incredible two-minute animated film, made entirely with Legos (http://www.lego.com@e.la/275b).

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The creativity of Web designers never fails to amaze me, especially when they use their talents to develop fascinating, addictive, but totally time-wasting sites like the new HoldTheButton.com.

This site consists of nothing but an icon that you hold down with your mouse button, but it reveals some intriguing e-business techniques. When you finally release the button, the page changes to display the average player's time, the longest player's time, and what percentage of players you beat out.

Making this site truly inspired, however, is the fact that the closing page invites you to "Challenge your friends!" by typing in their e-mail addresses. After the initial challenge goes out, the Webmaster -- Tatusko of Cincinnati -- then sends you and your friends spam.

As long as you don't provide any e-mail addresses (including your own), it's safe to try out this site -- a devious trick to gather circles of friends for ad purposes.

See http://www.holdthebutton.com@836.as/c39b .

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E-BUSINESS SECRETS: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston (http://SecretsPro.com). Research director is Vickie Stevens. Brian has published 10 books, including:

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