In the pipeline

What's new and maybe useful

Clean up the house-painting process

Making a mess while painting the house, inside or out, is almost a given. Paint has traditionally been sold in clumsy metal buckets that require a screwdriver to pry open and near-perfect posture to carry without spilling.

But a new product from Dutch Boy could neaten the process: the company's innovative Twist and Pour paint container.

The one-gallon plastic container features an easy-twist-off lid that seals tightly to add extra shelf life. A spout in the front helps reduce spillage – and a side handle makes stirring the paint easy. Only a few paints are sold in the containers so far.

Suggested price: $14

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Closing the garage gap

Garage-door openers offer point-and-click convenience. But many are vulnerable to criminals who pry open the door or use their own transmitters to duplicate the opener's code.

Automated Security Technologies believes its Gaplock product can make up for the deficiencies.

The steel and fiberglass device can be installed on either side of an overhead door. It synchronizes with a preexisting garage-door opener to latch and unlatch the door automatically. The company's transmitter can be used to scramble the opener's code.

Home-security or garage-door professionals can usually perform the installation.

Suggested price: $100

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A surfer's call monitor

People who spend hours online tying up their only phone line may wish they knew when a telephone call or fax arrives. Now they have an option other than paying for another phone line: the Emerson Switchboard.

Produced by Allstar, the switchboard contains inputs for a phone and fax machine, and has an internal modem. Once connected to a standard phone jack, the device will light up whenever a phone call or fax comes through.

If online, you can choose to pick up the phone call (or let the fax come through). You can even reengage your Internet hookup if no more than 30 seconds have passed.

Suggested price: $60

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