From the June 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

Your business spends scads of money on postage, but you're still not large enough to justify the purchase of a metering device. Fortunately, there's a happy medium: Simply Postage, a PC-integrated postage solution. Approved by the U.S. Postal Service, Simply Postage is a small thermal printer that connects to your PC's serial port and prints postage of any amount or class on self-adhesive labels. Instead of having to run to the post office for more stamps, you can use your PC to download and store up to $500 worth of postage at one time from a 24-hour Postage-On-Call system. The service requires a one-year membership subscription from Neopost Inc.

  • Simply Postage
  • Neopost Inc.
  • (877) 397-8267
  • Street price: $49.99
  • $17.95 monthly service fee

On Guard

Power surges and low-voltage brownouts are the Achilles' heels of all electronic equipment. Either of these power anomalies can cause serious damage to your computer, printer, copier or other electronic device--unless you have the PowerGuard voltage protector plugged into the outlet. PowerGuard detects high or low voltage conditions and automatically suspends power delivery until the device senses that power levels have returned to normal. Both a 110-volt model for U.S. usage and a 220-volt model for use outside the United States are available.

  • PowerGuard
  • Australian Protective Electronics
  • (940) 387-6666
  • Street price: $44.95

The Installment Plan

If you've ever upgraded the operating system on your PC, you know the installation process can take a long time. But what if you had to upgrade 10 PCs? Hope you brought your sleeping bag. Now you can cut installation times to a minimum with the Image MASSter 550, a two-drive, high-speed duplicator. Compatible with any size or brand of hard drive, the Image MASSter is capable of formatting and loading Windows 98 or NT from a source drive onto two other drives in less than one minute. The device is completely portable and equipped with a tactile keypad and a graphic display for monitoring transfer progress.

  • Image MASSter 550
  • Intelligent Computer Solutions
  • (888) 994-4678
  • Street price: $2,495

The Floppy Evolution

It seems floppy disks are slowly going the way of audio cassettes, as high-capacity data drives and CD-RWs take over the data-storage market. The Maxell SuperDisk Drive is here to make the transition a little more flexible. The SuperDisk Drive can read and write your regular 720KB and 1.44MB floppy disks as well as the newer 120MB-capacity SuperDisks. The Maxell package includes compression software that extends space to 240MB per SuperDisk. Simple parallel-port installation with your PC desktop system and the familiar floppy style make the step up to more storage an easy one.

  • SuperDisk Drive
  • Maxell Corp.
  • (800) 533-2836
  • Street price: $150

Porta-Power

The newest notebook computers are starting to truly live up to the concept of portability. Case in point: Weighing in at 3 pounds and measuring about one inch high, the Actius A100 UltraLite PC from Sharp Electronics is a lot easier on the arm than most laptops. And performance isn't sacrificed. The Actius A100 comes with an 11.3-inch Active Matrix TFT display, a 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor, 64MB RAM, a 3.2GB hard drive and a keyboard scaled to 89 percent of full size. An included lithium-ion battery gives you up to 2.5 hours of computing time. And those of you conducting business presentations will be glad to know the A100 is equipped with an external monitor port.

  • Actius A100 UltraLite PC
  • Sharp Electronics
  • (800) BE-SHARP
  • Street price: $2,799

Change Your Spots

Rather than put a tiger in your tank, you can now have a leopard in your laptop. By Shark Multimedia, the Leopard Pocket USB 56K Modem is the latest in 56K modems, designed for Universal Serial Bus- and Windows 98-equipped notebook and desktop computers. Its small size and low cost make it ideal for the road--especially if you don't want to haul around a standard clunky external modem or pay the higher price for a PCMCIA card modem. Requiring at least a Pentium 200 MHz processor and 16MB RAM, the Leopard is packed with capabilities like voice messaging, automatic paging, voice mail and fax-on-demand. A five-year limited warranty is included.

  • Leopard Pocket USB 56K Modem
  • Shark Multimedia Inc.
  • (800) 800-3321
  • Street price: $79.95