By Dana Wollman, AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — If you have people on your gift list who travel a lot, you may want to think about giving them something to keep them comfortable and entertained while on the go, even if they're not as nomadic as George Clooney's road warrior character in the movie Up in the Air.
We can't do anything about delays, cramped seating, jetlag, traffic jams and noisy passengers, but these gadgets could make it easier to tune them out:
Livescribe Echo Smartpen (4GB: $170; 8GB: $200)
Pros: Livescribe makes pens that record audio and match it up with what you're writing. So people taking notes during a presentation can get away with jotting down keywords and then going back and listening to the conversation, cued up to different words on the page. Users can download free software to their PC or Mac that pulls in their notes, along with the audio, whenever they plug the pen into their computer's USB port. Livescribe claims the pen lasts five to six hours when it's recording audio, and it charges using the USB cable.
Cons: The pen works only with paper that's pre-printed with a special pattern. It comes in notebooks of different sizes ($8-$25), but each has the same icons lining the bottom of every page. Tap on the controls to stop, start and pause audio recordings, as well as do things such as adjust the volume of the pen's speaking voice.
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ($50)
Pros: This mouse lies flat when you're not using it, but, with one satisfying click, can be bent into a curved shape, making it look more like a standard mouse. Light and low maintenance, it turns off automatically whenever you press the mouse into a flat shape. It promises up to six months of battery life before travelers have to recharge it. It's designed to be usable on any surface, so there's no need to pack a mouse pad. A small dongle plugs into a Windows PC or Mac to create the wireless connection.
Cons: The scroll wheel is simulated by a touch-sensitive strip that lacks the feel of a real wheel.