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The Advocates: Now Screening


Decide who can reach out and touch you with one Google Voice phone number

Whether you travel for business or pleasure or just happen to require multiple phone numbers (we don't need the details), Google Voice promises to make your life easier. The service allows users to funnel all of their calls from all of their phones to a single virtual number and manage how the calls come to you. Based on who's calling, you can send incoming calls to whichever phone is most convenient or appropriate. For example, you can have your boyfriend's/girlfriend's calls ring on your home, work, and mobile phones and have your landlord's calls go right to voice mail. When your home or work numbers change, you don't need to change your Google Voice number. Other practical functions include conference calling, voice mail-to-text transcription for Web reading, and (our favorite) futuristic call screening that allows you to listen in while someone is leaving a message and decide whether to answer midway through.

Mass Control
The CR200, the new Sonos Multi-Room Music System controller, is an incredibly useful breakthrough in music playback. The controller lets you play music from your computer, the Internet, or any attached storage device wirelessly in multiple rooms -- or even play different music in each room simultaneously. Emulating the design of its iPhone application, the CR200 ditched the scroll wheel of its predecessor for a touch interface that dramatically improves searching and setting up Internet radio stations, in addition to the basic functions. It's smaller and more ergonomic than its predecessor, with no loss of quality or frustrating interference--and no wires! Bundles like the 250 (pictured) that include players, speakers, and networking bridges start at $1,149.

It's in the Water
Does your vodka and soda have a faint aftertaste of ecological destruction? It probably should. The 55 billion liters of seltzer and soda Americans buy in bottles and cans each year isn't doing good things for our resources or landfills. A guilt-free cocktail can be made with the new Soda-Club system. A modern version of the old seltzer bottle, the Soda-Club will infuse plain old water (in the reusable bottle) with fizz, plain or flavored (options include taste-alike alternatives to popular diet and energy drinks), for about 20 cents per liter. The savings add up even as the volume of your trash or recycling bin goes down. Starter kits are available online (from $99), including our favorite, the Penguin.

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Evan Orensten