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NETWORKING 101

If setting up a network sounds too complicated for you, the Netgear 85 Mbps XE104 wall-plugged Ethernet Switch can make it simple. Plug two units into any two outlets, then connect each to a computer. That's it. Your insta-network will be slow, but ease of use may make that a worthy trade-off. $99 each. (www.netgear.com)

FREE PODCASTS BY PHONE

Gcast enables you to record podcasts by making a phone call to an 800 number. Using their Web site, you can mix multiple recordings, add music, and distribute the broadcast. Gcast even provides a couple of lines of HTML code so you can embed a player on your Web site or blog. Free. (www.gcast.com)

TWO PCs, ONE EVERYTHING ELSE

The Belkin Flip is a switch that provides an easy way to share a monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse (those last two must be USB-compatible) between two computers. It comes with a small hub for connecting each device. After getting wired, connect the small remote control switch to the hub, then click it once to switch between the two computers. $59.99. (www.belkin.com)

VERY VERSATILE VoIP

The Gizmo Project brings computer-based call screening, a customizable voice mail message, and computer or phone-based message retrieval to your voice-over-Internet-protocol setup. The software is free, but you'll pay for each incoming call. Or choose monthly fees, starting at $3.95. (www.gizmoproject.com)

By Ron Miller


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