Most so-called noise-reduction headphones merely muffle or mask sound, but the Koss Quiet Zone QZ2000 and the Sony MDR-NC 20 (koss.com, sony.com; both about $200) actually cancel it with active noise-reduction (ANR) technology. A mike detects the frequency of droning ambient sounds (a humming PC, the roar of a jet plane) and electronically generates opposite sound waves to neutralize them. The effect is like a curtain of calm – and both headphones let you feed in sound from a stereo or Walkman.
Sonicare users have an almost cultlike devotion to their beloved electric toothbrush – and for good reason. This electric handheld (J&R Music and Computer World, 23 Park Row, $99.99 and up; Sharper Image, West 57th Street near Fifth Avenue, $109.95) uses actual sound waves and 31,000 brushstrokes per minute to attack plaque (picture a sonic boom knocking barnacles off the hull of a boat) and reverse gingivitis. Store your Sonicare in Sharper Image’s Ionic Toothbrush Purification System (Sharper Image, $49.95), which uses ionized air and ozone to murder the bacteria that breed on your moist brush head.
Most air cleaners are filthy and annoying, but the Venta Airwasher (Gracious Home, 1220 Third Ave., at 70th St.; $499.99) and the Sharper Image Quadra (Sharper Image; $329.95) are different. The Venta uses German cold-evaporation technology to “scrub” air while humidifying it, all without filter pads. Tenor José Carreras and Siegfried & Roy (problem with tiger dander, boys?) swear by it. The Quadra is the latest version of the Sharper Image’s best-selling ionic air cleaner, which electrostatically charges airborne pollutants and traps them on washable steel rods. It’s still totally silent and filter-free – and now four times as powerful as the old Ionic Breeze.
You can purify your apartment to your heart’s content, but if your chakras aren’t in order, it’s just window dressing. Yes2yoga.com brings the power of the asanas straight to your desktop via streaming video. The free classes include instruction in 60 postures organized into series – sitting, standing, supine, sun salutation, and so on – plus breathing techniques, chanting, and meditation and chats with yoga experts. The site also sells books, videos, and yoga music.
The prospect of yet another phone number is terrifying to most New Yorkers – but what if that number replaces your other numbers, your fax line, and potentially even your e-mail address? A single One Red Cube number lets you forward all your calls – home, business, cellular – and a Web-based “communications portal” lets you view faxes as well as e-mail delivered via voice and transcribed into text. The Web controls, accessible at oneredcube.com, even let you set up “security” and make some callers go through a computerized assistant. Whether anyone wants to talk to someone with a computerized assistant is another matter entirely.