In Brief

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EASY READER It was just a matter of time before they invented a touch-screen handheld for kids. The C-Book Reader ($50) may actually help the little ones learn to read. The device, which will go on sale in early 2001, runs animated stories from cartridges. Among the first six titles are Disney's Winnie the Pooh and 101 Dalmatians. Kids can read the text, flip page by page along with the narration or watch a primitive animated version. For Mom and Dad's sake, the reader comes with a headphone jack.

GETTIN' ZIGGY If the Napster brouhaha has proved anything, it's that we love music--especially when it's free. David Bowie apparently agrees. He's offering an unreleased live version of the song Ziggy Stardust gratis to anyone who buys his latest album, Bowie at the Beeb. How will he know that you bought the CD? When you play it in your computer with MusicMatch Jukebox 6.0, you're automatically asked if you'd like to download the free track. See, Bowie's looking out for you.

ALL HAIL In North by Northwest, Cary Grant is stranded at a country crossroads with enemies hot on his trail. He should have had iQtaxi, a service for wireless Palms and by December, Web-enabled cell phones. No matter where you are in the U.S., you can order a taxi, sedan or limousine to pick you up. It's great for travelers who want a car waiting at the airport. You can even set up preferred addresses to save typing. Too bad it won't let you specify how fast the cabby should drive.