Nature Calls

Toteable Toys

Working outside can be a blast-and a pain. For every bird's song, there's a gust of wind or a surprise spring shower. Here are some hardy tools to help you work au naturel:

Panasonic GigaRange Extreme cordless phone: Debra Parks Root swears by the sturdy splash- and shock-resistant 2.4 MHz GigaRange Extreme ($179). With the optional headset ($59.95), there's nary a place you won't be able to take a call. Visit http://www.panasonic.com or call (800) 211-7262 for more information.

Panasonic Toughbook 27: The Toughbook 27, like you, is "fully ruggedized." With a shockmounted hard drive, spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad, dust-resistant hinges, and a DayBrite ARX Anti-reflective LCD for bright-light viewing, it's you-proof. With a 12.1-inch screen, 300 MHz Pentium II processor and Windows 95/98/NT, it'll set you back $4,365. Visit http://www.panasonic.com/toughbook or call (800) 662-3537.

Apple's AirPort: Yeah, your blueberry iBook coordinates beautifully with your pool, but think how well it will coordinate with your work when you have 150-foot-range wireless Internet access. Install the AirPort Card ($99) into your iBook or iMac and plug the AirPort Base Station ($299) into your phone line or Ethernet port, and you're ready to go. Visit http://www.apple.com or call (800) 538-9696.

Brookstone Pocket Office: Maximum toolage in minimal space: How else are you gonna fit a pen, scissors, a tape measure, a pencil sharpener, a waste container, a hole puncher, a stapler, a staple remover, a carton opener and a paperclip case in your pocket or on your belt loop? Available for $25 from http://www.brookstone.com or (800) 926-7000.

Levenger's Clip Box Courier: This portable pseudo-desk combines a clipboard with a spill-proof storage case where you can hide extra paper and pens. The cutout carrying handle allows you to journey from porch to poolside with ease. Available for $19.95 from http://www.levenger.com or (888) 592-7461.

Brookstone Wood Lap Desk: Get outdoors sans the desk with a Wood Lap Desk ($40). Weighing less than 1.5 pounds, it also features elastic straps. Visit http://www.brookstone.com or call (800) 926-7000.

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