In the pipeline
What's new and maybe useful
The joy of bubbles is fleeting. A short, pretty flight and ... pop! But SpinMaster hopes to extend a bubble's life. Unlike most soap bubbles, its Catch-A-Bubble is made from a "secret formula." Bubbles harden in seconds. They land and sit on any surface. The bubbles can be stacked or linked together and can last up to a week, SpinMaster says. One drawback: Bubbles leave a residue after popping. To learn more, go to spinmaster.com. Suggested price: $4.
Most people hang up on telemarketers with no remorse. But the act does not bring much satisfaction, or a long-term solution. The Tele-Z-apper does both. Plugged into a phone jack, the box detects calls from computerized dialing systems. It responds by sending back a signal fooling the computer into believing the number is disconnected. The box, made by Privacy Technologies, does not intercept regular phone calls or interfere with answering machines and voicemail services. To learn more, go to privacytechnologies.com. Suggested price: $50.
Ambient Devices' Ambient Orb glows different colors to indicate the status of the stock market, local weather, even traffic patterns. The orb receives wireless data sent over a network similar to the ones pagers use. The firm's website (ambientdevices.com), lets orb owners sign up for various services. The Dow Jones and weather services are free. Those wishing to track specific stocks or weather in small cities pay about $5 a month. Owners pick colors to represent different stages. A fall in the Dow might turn the globe from green (up), to yellow (neutral), to red (down). The orb is available through the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Suggested price: $300.