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Want hands-free use in crowds? Try the cord-free headset from FoneGear, which works by creating a four-foot magnetic bubble around you. The company claims your bubble will be free from interference sometimes suffered by users of wireless radio-frequency technologies such as Bluetooth.

Whether you take photos at a trade show to create a copious chronicle of the things you’ve seen or to spy on your competitors, you want good-quality images, plenty of storage, zoom capabilities before you take the picture, and fine detail you can zoom in on later, not to mention portability. One of the best in a new crop of high-megapixel digital cameras is Sony’s Cyber-Shot DSC-V1, a five-megapixel, four-times zoom camera with Sony’s Memory Stick portable storage solution. It’s fairly compact, though it won’t fit in your pocket.

What will fit in your pocket is Panasonic’s new SV-AV100 D-SNAP SD Digital Video Camcorder. It’s about the size of a thick credit card and has the capability to record to a portable, thumbnail-size card. Just don’t expect the kind of fine detail you’ll get from a high-quality, still digital camera.

For those who travel with a laptop or notebook computer and perform the file-swap scramble before leaving headquarters, there’s a device called the Mirra that attaches to a computer network in the office or at home, and automatically backs up all recently used files. Better yet, you can access the files on the road by hopping on the company’s website.

And here’s the bottom line: If you want to have the happiest of trade show experiences, take this advice: First, get yourself a pair of the most comfortable shoes you can find (I swear by my Rockports with their Vibram soles, which reduce leg and foot fatigue and have plenty of padding and support). Then, pick up as many of the aforementioned “tools” of the trade as you can. Your feet and your productivity will thank you later. AW

Convention vet STEVEN CASTLE is a freelance writer and senior editor at Electronic House magazine.